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Welcome to Dead Sea Watch. If you’d like to learn about the most critical aspects related to the miraculous Dead Sea, this is the place to be. Here, you’ll learn where the popular Dead Sea is exactly located on the global map, all the facts that are worth knowing, the kind of weather to expect, and how safe it is to swim in the Dead Sea. More importantly, we’ve put together some educative and entertaining information about this salty lake so as to give you a deeper understanding about it. You’ll also learn about the awe-inspiring Dead Sea tourist attractions that are nearby, and about the luxurious hotels you can check into during your visit. Kindly take your time to enjoy a crystal clear view of pictures from premier Dead Sea visitor center and it's beautiful beach.

About the Dead Sea

Before it got its current name, the Dead Sea, had gone by many different names. Its earliest known name was ‘The Sea of Salt’, which was reflective of its characteristics. There are also other names that were used to refer to the Dead Sea, including the Sea of Lot, The East Sea, the Primordial Sea, the Devil’s Sea, the Stinking Sea, the Sea of Sodom and the Sea of Asphalt. It was later called the Dead Sea due to the fact that neither fish nor algae can survive in the water, which is almost 10 times salt ier than ocean waters.

For centuries, the Dead Sea has been a center for health and well-being. In fact, many people have studied and benefited from it since the beginning of civilization. From Ancient Greeks to Ancient Egyptians, many people have over the years flocked to the Dead Sea to benefit from its salt-filled and mineral rich waters. Unlike table salt, the salt from the Dead Sea contains numerous therapeutic properties and is packed with high levels of natural minerals that promote health and well-being.

Where is the Dead Sea?

The Dead Sea is situated between Jordan (to the east) and the West Bank and Israel (to the west). At 1269ft (394.6m), below sea level, the Dead Sea is the lowest point in the world.

To get to the Dead Sea areas, there are three major road entry routes that can be followed. The first route is from the Jerusalem area through Highway 1 and Highway 90, through the West Bank. Alternatively, the Dead Sea can be accessed from the road from Beersheva through Arad, or from Eilat through Highway 90 from the south.

Dead Sea Scrolls

Discovered 1300ft below sea level in an area located thirteen miles east of Jerusalem, the Dead Sea scrolls have since been dubbed the greatest manuscripts discovery of all time. They were discovered in the 20th Century (between 1947 and 1956), and it is believed that these scrolls, which were written in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew date from around 250 B.C. to 68 A.D. They were discovered in 11 caves along the northwest shore of the Dead Sea with majority of the fragmented texts being numbered according to the exact cave they were recovered from.

The Dead Sea scrolls comprise of 800 documents in tens of thousands of fragments, which can be divided into two categories – biblical and non-biblical. Fragments of every book of the Old Testament (except for the book of Esther) were discovered. In fact, the scrolls are considered to be the oldest group of Old Testament manuscripts ever found.

The non-biblical writings contain interpretations that expand on the Law, war conduct, hymnic compositions, rule books of the community, thanksgiving psalms, sapiential writings, liturgical texts and benedictions. Also discovered in Cave 3 were fragments that contained a list of 64 underground hiding places all over the land of Israel. The scrolls were most probably written by the Essences.

Dead Sea Tourism

For thousands of years, millions of people have visited the Dead Sea for a number of reasons attributed to its compelling ancient history, breathtaking natural beauty and its natural therapeutic power. Surrounded by the Judean Mountains to the West and the Mountains of Moab to the East, visitors get to experience tranquility and peace of mind that comes with knowing that health and wellness can be achieved here as echoed by many other visitors that have greatly benefited from their visit here.

Besides the hypersalinated water of the Dead Sea, which is the major attraction in this area, there are other several nearby attractions that are worth the visitors’ attention. One of them is the Masada National Park located 12km from Ein Bokek or 18km south of Ein Gedi. There’s also the Masada, a mountaintop fortress that is accessible by hiking or via a quick cable car via the serpentine path. It is situated 18km north of the Ein Bokek hotel area, and it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Other attraction sites include Masada Sound and Light Show, Ein Gedi Oasis and Kibbutz, Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, Qumran National Park, Mount Sodom, Nahal Bokek, Neve Zohar and Nahal Zohar.

Dead Sea Hotels

Those planning to extend their stay in the area find comfort in the many Dead Sea hotels that are located in different parts of the area. About 40 minutes from the Dead Sea, you’ll reach Ein Gedi, where you’ll find hotels such as nature reserve, sea front beach and restaurant and Kibbutz hotel.

About 90% of the first group of Dead Sea hotels is situated in the area of Ein Bokek, including Crowne Plaza, Tsell Harim, Prima, Royale and Gardens. Five minutes from Ein Boqeq, there’s the Golden Tulip Club that’s along the beach, as well as the Leonardo Privelege that’s atop the opposite hill.

Swimming in the Dead Sea

People easily float in the Dead Sea as a result of the hypersalinity of the water. It’s actually nearly impossible to sink. Nevertheless, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s easy to swim in the Dead Sea. Contrary to many people’s belief that the high salt content makes it a very safe place to swim, the Dead Sea has been found to be the 2nd most dangerous site to swim in Israel.

Statistics show that several people (especially weaker swimmers) lose their lives through drowning each year in the Dead Sea for not obeying the number one rule: Only float on your back. Accidents are bound to happen when a person tries to swim stomach first in the water. Attempts to swim breaststroke often prove futile due to the fact that ones legs tend to be raised too high in the water, thus cannot provide the normal forward motion when kicking.

For strong swimmers, it’s easy for them to swim freestyle. Even so, there are various safety precautions that ought to taken, i.e.

  • Swimmers are advised to wear tightly fitting goggles
  • Swimming stomach-first should not be attempted
  • Don’t let water touch your ears, nose or lips
  • Only enter the Dead Sea within a controlled environment
  • Ensure that there’s a lifeguard watching
  • Swimming while drunk or intoxicated is highly discouraged

Note that inhalation of the salty water can trigger, sometimes life-threatening medical complications. It is, therefore, important that you are 100% sure of your swimming abilities before deciding to swim in the Dead Sea.

Dead Sea Facts

  1. Although it’s referred to as the “Dead Sea”, it isn’t a sea, but a saltwater lake
  2. With a salt content of 33%, the Dead Sea is the world’s 2nd saltiest water body
  3. it’s roughly 9 times saltier than ocean water
  4. With a depth of 377m, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth and the deepest hyper saline lake in the world
  5. It is 42 miles (67km) long and 11 miles (18km) wide at its widest point
  6. The high salt and mineral content doesn’t allow marine life
  7. Water flows into the Dead Sea from rivers and streams, but no water flows out
  8. The Dead Sea is estimated to be 3 millions old
  9. It constantly spits out asphalt
  10. Smearing Dead Sea mud helps treat a variety of skin problems, including acne, psoriasis, hives, cellulite, etc. It is also helpful in reducing dandruff, muscle pain and aches (caused by osteoarthritis), rhinosinusitis and stress

Dead Sea Weather

The climate of the region surrounding the Dead Sea is generally warm, sunny and dry all year round. The dry and arid desert climate results in an incredible average of 330 sunny days per year. The area receives less than 50mm annual rainfall. Temperatures during winter go to as low as 12C and during summer they go as high as 39c. The dry air, constantly high temperatures and low humidity make the region around the Dead Sea famous for its immense health benefits and healing properties.

Dead Sea News

New discoveries and scientific findings are constantly being arrived at by researchers studying the Dead Sea. For instance, researchers recently made the following discovery on the Dead Sea:

"Earliest Human-Made Climatic Change Took Place 11,500 Years Ago" A Recent Study Reports   
TAU researchers reported that geological indication of mans' impact on the environment has been discovered in the Dead Sea. Most of the climate scientists today agree in unison that global-warming trends over the last century have been caused by human activities. A recent TAU study has discovered the earliest known geological evidence of human-made climate change from as early as 11,500 years ago. Within a fundamental sample discovered from the Dead Sea, Tel Aviv University researchers uncovered basin-wide erosion rates which are incredibly incompatible with known climatic and tectonic scenarios of the recorded period.

The research was conducted as part of the deep drilling project of the Dead Sea that entailed a deep drill core of 1,500-foot to study the Dead Sea basin. The main sample gave the investigative team a sediment record of the past 220,000 years. These researchers are also in the process of uncovering the earthquakes record from the same drill core.

Ancient Wedding Dress Transforms Into Work Of Art After Being Submerged In The Dead Sea For Two Years

One of the many reasons we love art is because it uses creativity to transform the ordinary into extraordinary. Art is also rich in history. You will find that many art pieces have a captivating back story which makes them so endearing.

Take this mesmerizing story of an Israeli artist, Sigalit Landau, as an example; it is a representation of art in its purest form. Somewhere locked away in her house she had an old wedding dress that had been worn for generations by women in her family to mark their special day.

Sigalit had a brilliant idea of submerging the old family dress into the Dead Sea for two years to see what would happen to the dress. She knew that the salty water of the Dead Sea would have an effect on the dress over time.

She revealed that a play called “Dybbuk” which loosely translates to “Between Two Worlds” inspired her to come up with the idea of submerging the dress. The play was authored early in the 20th century and is about a young woman who is possessed by her dead lover's spirit. What she couldn’t predict was how the dress would turn out after being submerged in the Dead Sea’s concentrated water for that long. This was the inception of the "Salt Bride Project."

Ever since her childhood years, Sigalit had a deep connection to the Dead Sea. According to her, the Dead Sea offered her a place where she would escape to a different dimension to be alone. When Sigalit submerged the dress, she had no idea what the end product would look like, but she knew it would be a waiting game. She would always take pictures of the dress when she visited the Dead Sea, which was every three months or so.

According to Sigalit, every time she would visit the Dead Sea, the dress looked different. Salt from the Dead Sea's water would crystallize on her dress which made it look like it had snowflakes over it. After spending two years in the Dead Sea, Sigalit and her team took the dress out from the Sea. They claim it was much heavier than anticipated due to the salt build up but they still managed to take it out undamaged.

The "Salt Bride" dress is a truly magnificent piece of art. The imagination and creativity that went into this project to give the dress this level of transformation underline the true meaning of art. The dress can be viewed at the Marlborough Contemporary Museum in London under the "Salt Bride" exhibition or simply check out the amazing pics here

'Israel: colors and flavors' disperses its essence in Madrid

  • Halfway between East and West, the display shows a country that offers in its interior a varied mixture of sensations and contrasts
  • In Jerusalem, the three main monotheistic religions converge and as well as a mix of cultures which is reflected in its gastronomic proposal
  • The mix of cultures is reflected in its gastronomy and you can enjoy the advantages for the health offered by the minerals of the Dead Sea

"Israel: colors and flavors" brings to Madrid a special vision of this country that offers an immense variety of flavors and contrasts to which we can travel without leaving Madrid and even try the effects of skin care of the Dead Sea.

The essence of Israel, halfway between East and West, and on the other side of the Mediterranean, is evident in the photographic display consisting of 23 impressive images in which you can appreciate the multiple contrasts of this country, destination of millions of yearnings. Very few countries offer such a varied mix of sensations and contrasts within.

The photographs, each taken by a different photographer, present an Israel that has never been seen before and can be seen in the display of the World Gallery opened on Calle de Miguel Ángel, 33 and organized by the Israeli National Office of Tourism and B The Travel Brand.

In Jerusalem, the three main monotheistic religions converge and a mix of cultures are reflected in their gastronomic proposal. In Tel Aviv you can enjoy the most avant-garde architecture, in a framework of respect for all beliefs and conditions. In the South, nature is sober, magical and extreme. In the north, cities like Akko or Haifa maintain the vitality of thousands of years ago.

All this is brings this exhibition together with the innumerable health benefits offered by the minerals of the Dead Sea. Towards the sea, the ever dynamic Tel Aviv stands as the recipient of the most avant-garde architecture in a framework of respect for all beliefs and conditions. All this, and much more, is Israel, a country that has everything and that nothing is what it seems, because it is always much more than what is expected.

Source: telemadrid.es

Last Bits of Dead Sea Scroll Finally Decoded Revealing Ancient Judean Calendar

Israel researchers have finally interpreted the last remaining parts of the mysterious Dead Sea scroll. The knowledgeable scholars deciphered the writing which translated into a Judean calendar marking the seasonal changes.

The scrolls, which totaled to 900 Jewish manuscripts, were first discovered 70 years ago. The discovery was made by a Bedouin shepherd on the shore of the Dead Sea in a cave in Qumran. The young shepherd found the scrolls when searching for lost sheep. From then, they have been referred to as Qumran scrolls. Over the decades, all other manuscripts had been decoded, leaving this particular last bit untranslated. Though it’s not clear who wrote it, authorship has been credited to a Jewish Essenes sect. These people are believed to have dwelt in the desert region back in the fourth century BC. It is, therefore, one of the oldest Hebrew Biblical collections ever found.

The Discovery

Scholars put the fragments of the scroll together from Haifa University: Dr. EshbalRatson and Professor Jonathan Ben-Dov. A whopping 60 tiny fragments were making up the scroll, some of which were smaller than 0.155 square inches.

For a period of one year, these researchers worked tirelessly to find out what the code means. Finally, they’ve successfully decoded the writings which revealed the 364-day calendar the community could have been using. The calendar marked the seasonal changes and festivals celebrated by the particular ancient Jewish sect. Moreover, the scholars discovered another segment which meant to correct the mistakes made by the previous scribe. This segment was an excellent relief to them as it provided a hint and a way forward.

Ancient Judean Festivals

The codes on the scroll provided particular special occasions, which were celebrated by the Essenes. These included the festival of the New Wine, New Wheat am New Oil; all of which are related to Shavuot – a Jewish festival. Apparently, these special occasions tend to fall on the same day. The festival which was celebrated four times a year to celebrate transition between seasons was referred to as ‘Tekufa’ in Hebrew, this festival in modern-day simply means 'period.'

The scholars owe their success to decipher the writings to the annotations discovered in the margins. These comments were written by a scribe with the motive of correcting the previous author. Speaking to the Haaretz newspaper, Dr. Ratzon said, "These comments helped me figure out the puzzle. They gave me a bearing on how to assemble the scroll."

source: bbc.com

Our Weekly Pictures from the Dead Sea