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February 24, 2022

Dead Sea

The Dead Sea in Israel

Famous for being the lowest place on earth at 400 meters below sea level, the Dead Sea is a fantastic location for tourists looking to visit an amazing historical landmark, have a relaxing day at the beach,  or explore nearby attractions.

Dead Sea Israel

Faye Gelb  All rights reserved
Dead Sea Shoreline

Located in the Judean Desert just one hour from Jerusalem, the Dead Sea is part of the Syrian-East Africa Rift Valley and is flanked by both the Judean and Moab Mountains. Geographically, the Dead Sea is divided into a northern and southern part separated by Lisan Island.

Dead Sea in the Bible

Many historical references cite the Dead Sea, particularly those in the Bible. This is the site of Sodom and Gomorrah; tour guides point to a salt rock formation just south of the Dead Sea as being the pillar of salt Lot’s wife turned into when she turned back to witness the destruction of Sodom.

This is also the place where King David found refuge and it is here that Herod the Great created one of the world’s first health resorts.

Dead Sea Nearby Attractions

Today you can visit the following nearby eight attractions:

Dead Sea in the Bible: Sodom Pillar of Salt

Mark A. Wilson  Public Domain
Lot’s Wife

1. Masada National Park

This unique fortress site built by King Herod is carved into a stunning plateau that offers 360-degree views of the surrounding terrain. The Yigael Yadin Masada Museum tells the story of Masada through a guided tour, and you won’t want to miss the northern palace,  an example of first-century Roman architecture. See also the mosaics and experience the twice-weekly sound and light show between the months of March and October.

2. Tel Arad National Park

Just northwest of the Dead Sea is the Tel Arad National Park, renowned for its archeological remnants of two cities, one of which dates back to the Bronze Age.  The lower city, which was never rebuilt, offers rare undisturbed artifacts from this time period, including houses, streets and towers.  At the site you will also find a Israelite temple, a stunning view of the Judean Desert, and pot shards bearing family names of the Jewish Priests.

Avinoam Michaeli  CC BY 2.5Masada Sound and Light show

Avinoam Michaeli  CC BY 2.5
Masada Sound and Light show

3. Herodian (Herodium) National Park

Herodian park offers visitors the ability to visit tunnels carved into the mountain by Jewish fighters during the Bar Kokhba revolt, visit a synagogue from the time of the Great Revolt, and take in the view of both Jerusalem and Bethlehem from one vantage point. Also see Herod’s palace, a large and opulent structure which served as the king’s winter residence.

4. Dead Sea Scrolls

The Qumran National Park is home to the famous Dead Sea Scrolls and was once home to a little known sect called the Essenes. At Qumran you can experience the discovery of the scrolls firsthand by visiting the caves where they were located.

Herodion Ruins near the Dead Sea

Deror Avi  CC BY-SA 3.0
Herodion Ruins

5. Ein Gedi Nature Reserve and National Park

A nature reserve combined with a park, Ein Gedi has abundant flora, miles of hiking trails at various levels of expertise, two year round freshwater streams, and four springs. Included within the reserve is the Antiquities National Park containing mosaics and evidence of Jewish settlement from over 1,200 years ago.

6. Einot Tsukim Nature Reserve

The Enot Tsukim/Ain Feshkhah Spring nature reserve contains three separate reserves; one is permanently closed to visitors to protect the resident species, the public reserve is open to all and the hidden reserve is only open to tourists with a guide. The public reserve contains a variety of mineral pools for bathing, a wading pool, and an archeological site from the Second Temple period. This reserve is located just a few kilometers south of Qumran and is wheelchair accessible.

7. Dead Sea Ein Gedi Botanical Gardens

Visitors to this multiple prize-winning garden will find 30 species of dates and ornamental palms and over 900 species of plants from around the world, all of which have adapted and flourish here. Myrrrh and Frankincense, ancient species referred to in the Bible grow here, along with local species and tropical flora. The nearby Cactus Park contains a rare collection of over 1,000 species of cactus and desert plants. This fascinating garden combines plant preservation, conservation, and ecosystem development.  Learn more about their Grow Africa project.

Dead Sea Scrolls: The Qumran Caves

IHutchesson  CC BY-SA 3.0
Caves 4 & 10

8. Newe Zohar

Newe Zohar springs is located 8 kilometers south of En Bokek on the northwestern side of the Dead Sea. Amenities include a variety of springs, a spa, and a restaurant situated on the lakeshore.  Here you will find the Bet Hayozer Museum, where visitors can learn all about the Dead Sea and its impact on the world.

Dead Sea: Did You Know?

The Dead Sea is actually not a sea, but a lake that has no outlet to drain. Water entering the lake evaporates in the heat, leaving all the salt and other minerals behind.

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