The Dead Sea - also called the “Salt Sea” in Hebrew and “al-Bahr El-Mayyit” in Arabic - received its name due to its hypersalinity, which makes the growth of any life form in its waters impossible.
Not actually a sea but rather a lake, the Dead Sea is a long and narrow lake that spans along Israel’s eastern border and was created by a plate boundary between the African Plate and the Arabian Plate.
At 67 kilometers long and 18 kilometers wide, it borders Israel and the West Bank on its western side and Jordan on its eastern side.
The Dead Sea is a unique natural phenomenon unparalleled in the rest of the world for a few reasons, including the fact that it is the lowest point on the Earth’s surface on dry land - it is 422 meters below sea level.
It is also the deepest hypersaline lake in the world and one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water.
The rarity of the Dead Sea has not gone unnoticed throughout history and it has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean region for thousands of years.
These visitors include the ancient Greeks, such as Aristotle, the ancient Egyptians, King Herod, and Byzantine era pilgrims.
The high salinity levels of the Dead Sea cause the unusual occurrence of effortless floating on the water’s surface.
Those who wish to bathe in the Dead Sea - and we recommend that you be careful not to cut or shave yourself beforehand because the salt will cause a stinging sensation - may be surprised to find themselves bobbing on the surface without even trying.
One of the classic tourist photos from the Dead Sea, other than shots of people covered in Dead Sea mud, is of a bather floating on the water and reading a newspaper.
Witness the magic of the Dead Sea: