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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

The place is the Lifeless Sea?

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The place is the Lifeless Sea?

The Lifeless Sea is a misty sight within the pale morning gentle. The aqua water and distant hills of Jordan merge as I float within the buoyant water. It’s my fourth journey right here and amazes me each time.

Identified for its excessive salt focus, which is nearly 10 instances saltier than common seawater, and its distinctive well being advantages, the Lifeless Sea has been on the horizon of rulers (and vacationers) for hundreds of years.

With its salt-crystal-laced shore and desert environment, it seems otherworldly, a universe unto itself, nevertheless it’s really simple to entry from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Amman. So the place is the Lifeless Sea precisely?

Pale water and salt crystals at the Dead Sea
The Lifeless Sea is between Israel and Jordan – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

Lifeless Sea Location

The Lifeless Sea, often known as the Salt Sea, is situated within the Center East. Lengthy and slender, it slices down north to south, straddling Israel and the occupied West Financial institution on the west, and Jordan to the east.

West are the bone dry Hills of Judaea. East are the Transjordanian plateaus, and at its widest level it’s solely 15 km throughout.

So, when you’re in Ein Bokek, the most well-liked Lifeless Sea vacationer vacation spot in Israel, you’ll be able to see the resort lights from Jordan twinkling on the opposite aspect.

Road at the Dead Sea with palm trees and the Judaean Desert
On the fringe of the Judean Desert – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

Lifeless Sea Location in Geographic Phrases

The Lifeless Sea is situated within the Jordan Rift Valley, which is a part of the bigger Nice Rift Valley that stretches from northern Syria to Mozambique.

How Was the Jordan Rift Valley Fashioned?

The valley was shaped by shifting tectonic plates that brought about the earth’s crust to stretch and skinny. This created a melancholy that’s now full of the Lifeless Sea and different our bodies of water.

Dead Sea location in Israel with Jordan in the distance
The place is the Lifeless Sea situated? – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

What Cities Are Close to the Lifeless Sea?

The Lifeless Sea is situated about 55 km (34 miles) southeast of Jerusalem, and 120 km (75 miles) southeast of Tel Aviv.

Amman in Jordan is about 90 km (56 miles) northeast.

Is It Straightforward to Get To?

Sure. Relying on site visitors and transportation choices, journey instances can fluctuate, nevertheless it ought to take between 1-2 hours by automotive or bus.

(At the least that’s what the journey guides say. In truth, buses could be slower than that. It took me greater than 2 hours to get to Jerusalem from my resort at Neve Zohar on the Lifeless Sea.)

Nearest Airports

You’ll be able to fly into a number of airports within the area, often Ben Gurion Worldwide Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, or Queen Alia Worldwide Airport in Amman, Jordan.

From there, you’ll be able to lease a automotive or take a bus, taxi, or non-public automotive to one of many many inns and resorts situated alongside the Lifeless Sea shores.

Dead Sea shore with puddles and salt
Salty shores of the Lifeless Sea – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

Suggestions for Getting Right here

Personal vehicles with a driver are extraordinarily costly to rent whereas buses are absurdly low cost. Renting a automotive in Israel is an efficient choice because the highways are glorious.

Additionally it is doable to go to on a tour from different elements of Jordan or Israel, and lots of vacationers do that as a day journey. It’s an ideal addition to any Israel itinerary.

I’ve travelled to the Lifeless Sea in Israel three alternative ways: by bus, on a guided tour and by hiring a non-public automotive and driver.

For the typical customer a tour might be the best strategy to get there – particularly when you don’t know the place the Lifeless Sea is. (Besides after studying this text, you realize its location intimately!)

Serene shot of Ein Bokek at sunset with people stepping into the water
The resort of Ein Bokek in Israel – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

The Lifeless Sea Is Positioned Close to Some Fascinating Landmarks

Listed here are among the prime points of interest:

Sights on the Israeli Aspect

Masada: This historical fortress constructed by Herod the Nice is a UNESCO World Heritage website and sits on a mountain plateau overlooking its shores.

Ein Gedi Nature Reserve: This nature reserve is situated on the jap fringe of the Judaean Desert and is house to a number of waterfalls and swimming pools. It’s a stunning place to hike.

Qumran Nationwide Park: This archaeological website is situated close to the northwest shore and is understood for the invention of the Lifeless Sea Scrolls.

Mount Sodom: The sheer sunbaked slopes of Mount Sodom (of Sodom and Gomorrah infamy) stand up from its salt-crystal-strewn shores.

Sights on the Jordanian Aspect

Lot’s Cave: In line with the Bible, that is the cave the place Lot and his daughters sought refuge after fleeing from Sodom and Gomorrah.

Hammamat Ma’in: These pure scorching springs are situated about half-hour from the Lifeless Sea and are identified for his or her therapeutic properties.

Wadi Mujib: This nature reserve is situated close to the Lifeless Sea and is understood for its canyons and mountain climbing trails.

Mount Nebo: This biblical website is situated in Jordan and is believed to be the place the place Moses noticed the Promised Land earlier than he died.

Three people in the Salt Lake in Israel
The magnificent Lifeless Sea – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

Lifeless Sea Map

The place is the Lifeless Sea on the map? Test it out right here.

How Lengthy Is It?

Now that you just’ve seen its location on a Lifeless Sea map, you could be curious to know the way lengthy it’s. It’s about 76 km (50 miles) lengthy.

At the least it was. Sadly, it’s shrinking.

Why Is It Shrinking?

The Lifeless Sea is located smack within the desert the place water is each useful and scarce. The Jordan River is the one supply of contemporary water feeding into it, however now a lot of that water is diverted for consuming water and irrigation.

Additionally contributing to its decline are the factories that extract useful minerals, notably potash, from the water on each the Israeli and Jordan sides of the water.

Local weather change, which suggests much less rainfall, in addition to elevated improvement, have additionally had a unfavourable affect on the surroundings.

The reality is, the Lifeless Sea is shrinking at an alarming charge, shedding an estimated one meter (3.3 toes) or extra of water per yr.

Neve Zohar along the shoreline
The Lifeless Sea in Israel at Neve Zohar – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

How Is the Lifeless Sea Location Altering?

Nicely, it’s not altering in a great way. Whereas the Lifeless Sea lined some 1,000 sq. km (410 sq. miles) again within the 30s, now its floor space is about 600 sq. km (234 sq. miles).

So whereas the ocean hasn’t moved, its shorelines actually have.

The place Is It Heading?

There’s hope for the longer term. Listed here are some doable paths ahead.


Essentially the most promising answer lies in desalination vegetation that may replenish the Lifeless Sea with desalinated seawater. Proposals vary from constructing a canal from the Pink Sea to reviving the circulation from the Jordan River.

Trade Participation

Mining factories are unlikely to close down utterly, as potash and different minerals extracted from the water make fertilizer for crops and the world must eat, simply as individuals want freshwater for consuming from the Jordan River.

Nevertheless, industries that revenue from Lifeless Sea sources are being known as upon to assist pay for its rehabilitation, as a result of one factor is obvious: There isn’t any low cost repair.

Authorities Participation

A lot of the Lifeless Sea’s future will depend on the governments of Jordan and Israel working collectively.

One constructive improvement is that in 2021 the 2 international locations agreed to swap photo voltaic vitality from Jordan for desalinated water from Israel.

Whereas this deal, brokered by the United Arab Emirates, doesn’t have an effect on the Lifeless Sea straight, it’s an indication of cooperation, which is significant for the way forward for the much-treasured Salt Sea.

Giant Dead Sea sign on the beach at Ein Bokek
The place is the Lifeless Sea? It’s proper right here! – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff


What the Lifeless Sea has going for it’s how beloved it’s.

Nobody, from day-tripping vacationers to politicians, needs to lose this valuable useful resource and beautiful creation of nature – and consciousness of its peril is rising.

In 2021, for instance, the American photographer Spencer Tunick recruited some 300 volunteers to pose in nothing however white paint right here to advertise the necessity for conservation.

(The white was impressed by the story of Lot’s spouse, who was became a pillar of salt.)

Progress strikes slowly, nonetheless. A decade earlier he had 1,000 individuals pose (though that point they wore white robes).

Within the Bible, Ezekiel stated sometime the Salt Sea would circulation with contemporary water from the Temple of Jerusalem. Let’s hope there might be no less than sufficient flowing in to reserve it.

Lifeless Sea Details

Is the Lifeless Sea Actually a Sea?

No, it’ a lake – a landlocked lake. It’s situated greater than 430 meters (1,400 toes) beneath sea degree, making it the bottom level on Earth.

It’s additionally the deepest hyper-saline (very salty) lake on this planet, with a depth of 305 meters (1,000 toes).

Why Is It So Salty?

Whereas water enters the Lifeless Sea from the Jordan River, it has no path to get out. Which means water can solely depart the lake via evaporation.

As water evaporates, minerals and salts are left behind, which contributes to the excessive salt focus of the lake.

Bathers in the Dead Sea at Neve Zohar Israel
Absorbing the salt water – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

Why Is It Referred to as the Lifeless Sea?

The Lifeless Sea’s salt focus is so excessive it’s nearly unimaginable for many organisms to outlive within the water. Thus, it’s “useless.” However is it?

Does Something Stay within the Lifeless Sea?

Any fish which may (sadly for them) bob into the Lifeless Sea from the Jordan River gained’t final lengthy. However some microorganisms do survive right here.

Let me introduce you to Haloferax volcanii, for instance, a hardy feisty microbe that was found in 1930 and desires salt to outlive.

Haloferax volcanii are Halophiles, microorganisms that may develop in salt water.

This may curiosity you (or not): Halophiles can play an vital function in pure salt manufacturing since they “facilitate salt crystallization via the absorption of photo voltaic radiation utilizing their carotenoid pigments.”

(Sure, I don’t actually perceive it both. The purpose is that the Lifeless Sea will not be useless in any case!)

Why Does it Matter The place the Lifeless Sea Is?

The Lifeless Sea location issues as a result of this legendary lake has performed an vital function within the area for hundreds of years, and since you may wish to go to it sometime.

Additionally, the extra individuals learn about it, the extra they’ll wish to reserve it.

Simply consider its previous: Cleopatra is alleged to have bathed right here, Herod the Nice constructed his well-known fortress of Masada overlooking it, and David, fleeing from Saul, sought refuge on the oasis of Ein Gedi.

In the present day, you’ll be able to have a serene luxurious vacation right here, however brimstone and drama are embedded into its core. The biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah rested on its shores – and a few say their ruins now lie beneath it.

Ought to You Go to?

Now that the query of ‘the place is the Lifeless Sea’ has been answered, let me add it’s an unimaginable place to go to, particularly when you love spas and are as fascinated by the Israeli Desert as I’m.

It’s simple to get to and the infrastructure is sweet, with loads of 4 and 5 star inns.

It’s an ideal wellness vacation spot and it’s additionally enjoyable. Floating round in water so buoyant you’ll be able to’t sink is an expertise to not be missed – though watch out to not shave first, the salt water can sting.

The Lifeless Sea might not harbour a lot life, however with its clear dry air, mineral-rich water and plentiful spas and resorts, it’s a life affirming place to be.

Beach at Ein Bokek, Israel, and the Judean Hills

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