Sea (Yam Hamelakh -- "The Salt Sea") is the lowest
place on earth, roughly 1,300 feet (400 meters) below sea level.
34 miles (55 km.) long and varies between 11 miles (18 km.) and 2 miles
(3 km.) in width.
The Sea is 1,400 feet (430 m.) deep.
This unique sea
is fed by the Jordan River. There is no outflow; and the exceptionally
high rate of evaporation (high temperatures, low humidity) produces large
quantities of raw chemicals. These are extracted and exported throughout
the world for use in medicine, agriculture and industry.
The Dead Sea is actually shrinking. The southern end is
now fed by a canal maintained by the Dead Sea Works, a company that
converts the Sea's raw materials, particularly phosphates, into commercial
can float effortlessly on the waters of the Dead Sea due to its
concentration of minerals, which is the highest in the world. The air is
extremely dry, and temperatures are high throughout the year (max. 86°
[30° C]) during winter, and 104° [40° C]) during summer) making the Dead
Sea a destination for visitors 365 days a year.
is a novelty that makes visiting the Dead Sea a kick, but most visitors
come for the therapeutic value of the mud and salt water. People with skin
disorders such as psoriasis and ailments such as arthritis have found
relief from treatments using the Sea's natural resources. Oh, and if you
have an open cut or sore, be forewarned, the salt water stings.
Archaeological ruins are scattered in the area. Many
historical fugitives, such as David, Jesus, Jewish zealots and Christian
monks, found peace and refuge around the Dead Sea. The area is best known,
however, for being the site of the biblical towns of Sodom and Gomorrah.
South of the Sea, on the way to Eilat,
is a rock salt formation that tourists are told is Lot's wife. According
to the Torah, Lot's wife
ignored G-d's admonition not to look back at the cities he was destroying
as they left and was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis
Incidentally, all the fun near the Dead Sea is not
confined to the mud and water!