Looking far away, the Dead Sea looks like a turquoise blue belt in the desert, twining and interspersing this vast ground. Those craggy rocks stand still beside the lake, as if they’ve kept watching this magical area for many thousand years with every changing of the stars, which is imperishable.
The Dead Sea isn't a sea
The Dead Sea is an inland salt lake. The north-south length amounts to 86 kilometers, while its width ranges from 5 to 16 kilometers. The deepest point reaches 380.29 meters. The altitude of surface is - 422 meters, and the altitude of its deepest point is -800.112 meters. The Dead Sea is the deepest salt lake and lake in the world. Its surface and shores are the Earth’s lowest elevation on land, which makes it “the navel of the world”.
The Dead Sea is in a desert, so the rainfall is little and irregular. The annual precipitation only counts for 65 millimeters. The winter is warm and summer is tropical, with 1400 millimeters of average evaporation. Thus, smog often appears on its surface. The air temperature is relatively high, which makes almost water flowing from Jordan River dry up (4-6.5 billion liters per day) and salts are left.
The Dead Sea contains high concentrations of salt, which is 8.6 times of that of sea. There are no living beings existing in the Dead Sea except bacterium and green alga. Even the land beside the shore has little creatures, and mainly are some halophytes which can adapt to the saline-alkali soil.
Because the Dead Sea is surrounded by land, without any connection to other rivers and oceans. Therefore, it has no tidal phenomenon. As reported by WEO, the Dead Sea is on the way to extinction, declining of the sea table at the speed of 3.3 feet (about 1meter) per year. With constantly reduced water volume, the salinity is improving greatly.
Currently, the salinity of the Dead Sea ranks number three in the world at large, just following Lake Assal and Don hu 'an, Antarctica.
There are many allusions and legends related to the Dead Sea. In ancient times, it used to be a continent. The citizens here had done lots of evil things and had no sign of repentance. Thus, God decided to punish them. Before then, God secretly told it to the only kind man called Rode in this village, asking him to leave here with his families on a certain day and never come back no matter what would happen in the future.
After his leaving, fire fell from the sky suddenly and destroyed the whole village. Unfortunately, his wife secretly turned around because of nostalgia, and became a peristele. And then a vast expanse of water appeared in front of her, which is the Dead Sea. After centuries of wind and rain, she still stands on the hill near the Dead Sea, staring at the lake day and night. God’s punishment to those obdurate people was they neither had fresh water to drink, nor had fresh water to plant.
And another legend is that about two thousand years ago, Didu, a Rome’s commander, was marching to Jerusalem. When they arrived in the Dead Sea, he ordered to execute the captive slaves. The slaves were thrown into the Dead Sea, but they didn’t drown into the water. Instead, they were pushed back to the shore by waves. Didu burst into anger and ordered throw them into the lake again. But they still fell on their feet. Didu paled with shock, considering the slaves were protected by gods, so he set them free.
The Dead Sea had attracted many kings, monarchs, businessmen, seer and pilgrims since ancient times, including Rome’s emperor King Herod and beautiful Egyptian queen Cleopatra. They used to enjoy the fertile black Dead Sea mud here, and floated freely on the Dead Sea’s surface. Their skin was absorbing healthy nutrients from the water and their body bathing in Israeli genial sunshine.
Although the Dead Sea makes no creature to survive there, it treats human beings meticulously. Because people who can’t swim can enjoy floating here and have fun. Anyone who falls into the Dead Sea can be propped up by buoyancy of water, because the specific gravity of its water ranges from 1.17 to 1.227, but our bodies’ specific gravity only ranges from 1.02 to 1.097. Thus, you can always find some tourists lie on their backs leisurely in the Dead Sea. Some are holding umbrellas, some are reading a pictorial, and some are tasting a glass of cocktail.
The Dead Sea is rich in magnesium, sodium, kalium, bromine and other mineral substance, so soaking here can alleviate arthritis and other chronic diseases. Therefore, it attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists to take on vacations and recuperate every year.
The black mud from the bottom of the Dead Sea is full of mineral substance. It is not only a popular cosmetics and skincare product, but also a precious export product of Israel and Jordan. The Dead Sea is the earliest health resort in the world (from Herod). Nowadays, Israel has opened beauty salons beside the Dead Sea for decades. Customers are applied black mud full of their body, only exposing their eyes and lips.
The Dead Sea travel tips
Although you won’t drown in the Dead Sea, but it will make you afflictive if the high concentration salt water enters your eyes, mouth or nose. So, you’d better not to swim or paddle in the Dead Sea, and remember to protect your eyes when you are floating. It is better to carrier around a bottle of fresh water, which can wash your eyes timely if necessary.
You would feel intolerably painful in the Dead Sea water if you have any skin trauma, so make sure you don’t have any wound before floating.
Floating for 15 to 20 minutes will be better, or your body may lose water. Avoid floating at noon to prevent sunburn; And you also need to apply sunblock.
In dry season, the temperature of the ground and beach around the Dead Sea is very high after the sun shines for a long time, so remember to wear shoes to prevent empyrosis and injured by gravel.
The Dead Sea is an excellent choice to experience “the nature and man unities as one”. At sunset, you can slowly paddle to a corner away from the crowd, relax your body, float on the water freely, and watch the sunset glow overspreading the sky. Curtain of night gradually falls, water in the lake is rippling. Your ears go into the water, feeling the call from this mysterious area. Gradually, you will feel a little absent-minded, as if the sky, yourself and the water all unities as one, you are all part of the nature.