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Dead Sea – The lowest point on earth

The lowest point on earth

The Dead Sea

Dead Sea, the warm home away from home, one of the most spectacular natural and spiritual landscapes in the whole world, the lowest body of water on earth, the lowest point on earth and the world’s richest source of natural salts, hiding wonderful treasures that accumulated throughout thousands of years.
At 431 m below sea level – the lowest point on earth – the Dead Sea is a body of intense blue water, polished smooth like oiled skin on a windless day in winter and ruffled into whitecaps by the summer winds.

To reach this unique spot, the visitor enjoys a short 30 minutes drive from Amman, surrounded by a landscape and arid hills, which could be from another planet. En route a stone marker indicates “Sea Level”, but the Dead Sea itself is not reached before descending another 400 meters below this sign.

During most days, however, the water shimmers under a beating sun, Where rocks meet its lapping edges, they become snow-like, covered with a thick, gleaming white deposit that gives the area a strange and surreal sense.As its name evokes, the Dead Sea is devoid of life due to an extremely high content of salts and minerals which gives its waters the renowned curative powers, therapeutic qualities, and its buoyancy, recognized since the days of Herod the Great, more than 2000 years ago.

And because the salt content is four times that of most world’s oceans, you can float in the Dead Sea without even trying, which makes swimming here a truly unique experience not to be missed: here is the only place in the world where you can recline on the water to read a newspaper.

Dead sea floating
Dead Sea Jordan

Scientifically speaking, its water contains more than 35 different types of minerals that are essential for the health and care of the body skin including Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, Bromine, Sulfur, and Iodine. They are well known for relieving pains and sufferings caused by arthritis, rheumatism, psoriasis, eczema, headache and foot-ache, while nourishing and softening the skin. They also provide the raw materials for the renowned Jordanian Dead Sea bath salts and cosmetic products marketed worldwide.

A unique combination of several factors makes Dead Sea’s total attraction: the chemical composition of its water, the filtered sunrays and oxygen-rich air, the mineral-rich black mud along the shoreline, and the adjacent fresh water and thermal mineral springs.Although sparsely populated and serenely quiet now, the area has a historical and spiritual legacy of its own. It is believed to be the site of five biblical cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zebouin and Zoar.

Dead sea Dying

The Dead Sea is 80km (50 miles) long, approximately 14km (9 miles) wide. The northern and larger part is very deep, reaching at one point a depth of 430m (1320 feet). The southern bay is, on the contrary, very shallow, averaging hardly a depth of 4m (13 feet).
The water level of the Dead Sea is dropping by about a 30cm. (1 foot) per year. It is being diverted by Israel and Jordan for industry, agriculture and household use. Scientists predict that the sea may be dried up by the year 2050.

Stay safe

Never attempt to swim stomach-first. Your feet will be higher than usual and your head will be lower than usual.

Never let the water touch your lips, nose or ears. There will be extreme pain which could cause you to panic and attempt to swim naturally – and dead sea will not allow you to swim normally.

Enter the sea within a controlled environment, better with a lifeguard watching within a hotel’s restricted area.

Rates

The cost to enter the public tourist beach (Amman Beach) is 20 JD (March 2019) (with swimming pools) and 10 JD for the Locals/Jordanian beach (it’s only 15m to left of the tourist entrance; not recommended for women on Fridays).
Many hotels also sell day passes that include full use of hotel facilities as well as their Dead Sea beachfronts; at the Mövenpick Resort, day passes cost 20 JD per person for hotel guests, while non-hotel guests pay 40 JD on weekdays and 50 JD on weekend.

Dead Sea Panoramic Complex

Dead Sea Panoramic Complex is Perched at the edge of the Zara mountain range, between Ma’in hot springs and the Dead Sea basin, the Dead Sea Panoramic Complex offers some of the most spectacular views in the Kingdom. From the observation terrace you can absorb breathtaking vistas over the Jordan Rift Valley and Dead Sea basin and you can dine in style watching sunrise or sunset over the mountains of the Holy Land.

There is also a large and fascinating museum devoted to the natural and cultural history of the Dead Sea, a Nature Shop and a range of other attractions and activities suitable for both adults and children

I heard that bus is now planned to connect to this site, but for the time being to charter a taxi is the only way to go there for most of tourists. If you visit the Dead Sea or Hammamat Main, it might be good to drop at this “The Dead Sea Panorama Complex”.

This new building opened in 2006 is called “The Dead Sea Panorama Complex”. “Panorama” comes from its excellent location that looks down over the Dead Sea. It includes a geological museum and a restaurant. It is run by RSCN.

This building was developed with the supports of JBIC (loaning). At the same time, a long road was made from Madaba to a place called “Amman beach” which is on the north east coast of the Dead Sea. This road makes a direct shortcut between those two places.

Dead Sea Panoramic Complex

The History

In addition to being an attraction for leisure and medicinal tourism, the Dead Sea was the location for a number of significant biblical events. The Bible refers to it as the Sea of the Araba, the Salt Sea, and the Eastern Sea (Deuteronomy 3: 17; Joshua 3: 16; Numbers 34: 12; Ezekiel 47: 18).
The Arabah desert, or “wilderness”, of the Bible is the arid basin between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba today known as Wadi Araba.

Of particular importance is the wide plain along Jordan’s southeast Dead Sea coast known today as the Southern Ghor. Known in the Bible as the Valley of Salt ”undoubtedly because of the natural salt formations which form along the water’s edge” it is where David “slew 18,000 Edomites” (2 Samuel 7:29).
This wide plain is also where Abraham and Lot divided their herds and people, going their separate ways after the journey from Egypt.

While Abraham journeyed into Canaan, “Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east” (Genesis 13: 11).The Bible then says that “Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom” (Genesis 13: 12). The Southern Ghor may thus be associated with one of the most dramatic stories in the Bible, that of Sodom and Gomorrah.

While conclusive proof has not yet been found, some scholars see Bab al-Dhra’ and Numeira as good candidates for the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah, destroyed by God because of their wickedness (Genesis 19).
The other biblical “cities of the plain”, Admah, Zeboiim and Bela (or Zoar) may still be waiting to be rediscovered under the ruins of Early Bronze Age towns as Feifa, Safi, Khneizirah, and other places throughout the biblical Valley of Salt.

The Dead Sea eastern coast in Jordan is one of the most spectacular natural and spiritual landscapes in the whole world. A series of new roads, hotels and archaeological discoveries are converging to make this region, the lowest spot on earth at 410 metres below sea level, as enticing to international visitors today as it was to kings, emperors, traders and prophets in antiquity.