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The Dead Sea is also known as Salt Sea and it is the lowest point on Earth's surface but what's about it? This place is one of the natural wonders the world has given to us and there is a reason why most tourists are curious about this place that is so particular: you can float there and nourish your skin with mud. Come and discover more about it with us!
It is in southwestern Asia between Jordan, Palestine and Israel, precisely between the Transjordanian plateaus (east) and the Judaea hills (west). The eastern margin is Jordanian and a tiny part in the southern of the western margin is Israeli. Another half in the northern margin belongs to Palestine but is has been under Israeli domain since 1967.
What are the dead sea's physical characteristics?
The Dead Sea is known for being extremely saline, about 332 parts per thousand, and the salt concentration is even higher in the bottom of the lake. Its chemical properties are hydrogen sulfide, bromine, potassium, magnesium, and chlorine. Add also sodium chloride to the deep water that became fossilized due the high density.
Is it possible to swim in the Dead Sea?
Because of the high salinity of the lake, all visitors can do is to float. The lake's characteristics do not even allow any type of life in it, except bacteria, therefore the name "dead". When the Jordan River or smaller stream in flood carry fishes in, these die very fast.
It is not recommended to stay for long minutes either, as the salt on the skin can be very itchy and visitors should avoid water in their month or eyes. Due the minerals and salts on the rocks, some can be quite sharp, so do not enter bare feet nor if you have an open wound. And, just in case, avoid shaving the day before going in.
Is it true that the Dead Sea mud offers benefits to health?
Yes. Exactly because of the unique properties of the Dead Sea, its mud is rich in minerals that are known for hydrating and beautifying the skin, as accelerating detoxification processes. When used in the hair, the mud nourishes the scalp and roots, improving blood circulation and repairing damages. Most visitors take the opportunity to moisturize their skin and enjoy all the mud can offer.
None of these benefits are new though. It is documented that the acknowledgment of the Dead Sea's mud properties are known since ancient times. Queen Cleopatra, for example, learned about the mud's properties and traveled from Egypt to enjoy its benefits.
Both Jordan and Israel have interest on the Dead Sea and in the beginning of the 60s they started using the sea's water for commercial purposes, which caused the drop of the water level. Because the drop continued by about 1 meter annually, by the beginning of the 21st century the Dead Sea's appearance had changed. A strip of dry land emerged separating the northern and southern basins, this last one subdivided in pools for salt extraction.
The Dead Sea as a natural body of water nowadays is mainly the northern basin, that fortunately still has its normal dimensions despite the water loss.
Is the Dead Sea worth to visit?
Most of tours include the Dead Sea as a stop off or in a package trip when visiting Mount Nebo and the surrounding areas. Some people would not consider it a must-see attraction while others will say it is definitely something you should not miss, so most probably is a matter of opinion. In general, people include it in their itinerary. What for sure can be said is that the lake is something different and unique, something that you won't see anywhere else. Plus its shores are one of the most beautiful things you will see in your trip to Jordan.
What are the top reasons to visit the Dead Sea?
As said before, it is the lowest point on earth (1300 feet below the sea level) and it won't last forever. Due all the climate changes and longer dry seasons, the lake is decreasing year by year very fast. If you have the opportunity to visit the place don't miss it.
Second, the health benefits are amazing. Even doctors refer it to those suffering from skin and respiratory problems.
Last but not least, it is a place to enjoy the absolute silence.
How to get to the Dead Sea?
The Dead Sea is 45 minutes drive from Amman and around 3h drive from Petra.
When is the best time of the year to visit the Dead Sea?
The months of June and July are very hot. Most visitors prefer to visit the Dead Sea during Spring (March to May) or Autumn (October and November).