Culture

Why Your Lungs Will Love A Visit To The Dead Sea in Israel

The Dead Sea

The ancient Dead Sea is mentioned nine times in the Hebrew Bible. It’s also known in Hebrew as “Yam ha-Melach, or Salt Sea and The Sea of Arabah.”

At this lowest point on Earth, your lungs are delighted, filling up with an oxygen content ten percent higher than at sea level, and the bromine mist over the area soothes your nervous system.

There are no lifeguards on the Dead Sea beaches because no one can drown here. Even the heaviest person will easily float. Predatory sea creatures aren’t a problem, as the Dead Sea, because of its extremely heavy saline content, is devoid of life.

If your skin is sensitive, test its waters carefully before fully immersing yourself. Dose yourself with Dead Sea mud, (barrels of free mud are on the beach) which rejuvenates your skin, making it feel very soft. This is the same mud that’s used by spas all over the world!

The Dead Sea has several luxury spa hotels, and many have indoor pools filled with Dead Sea water. Most have full service spa facilities where, along with massages and other treatments, full-body Dead Sea mud wraps are available.

Hotels and stores in the area sell products made from Dead Sea minerals and mud, including shampoo, soap, and body lotion.

The climate around the Dead Sea is arid, but surrounding the hotels palm trees proliferate. Nights are pleasant and cool. The areas around the hotels are oases in the surrounding desert. Nighttimes offer glorious views of the stars.

Near the Dead Sea are several interesting spots to tour including; the startlingly green and lush oasis of Ein Gedi where you can swim under natural waterfalls; and Masada, high on a desert hill with the archaeological remains where 960 Jews withstood the siege of the Roman army for a full year. The outlines of the Roman camp can be seen at the bottom of the hill. A couple of levels below the summit are the remains of King Herod’s luxury villa with its intricate mosaics. Climb the ancient, winding footpath to the very top, or take the cable car.

Take an excursion to a Bedouin encampment, and sample the delicious traditional Bedouin tea or coffee. Enjoy a Bedouin meal, communal platter and all. To really experience Bedouin hospitality try a night in a Bedouin tent, where you can “rough it” on mattresses and sleeping bags on the desert floor.

The Red Sea

Many people believe that this sea, originally known as Yam Suf, or Reed Sea, is the sea that the Israelites crossed and that God parted. Red Sea was derived from Reed Sea.

Bathtub warm and delightful to laze in, the Red Sea is known among diving aficionados as having some of the best coral reefs in the world. Its clear waters offer fantastic visibility. Because of these attributes the Red Sea has become a very popular diving/snorkeling spot.

Historically, the area has been important in biblical history.  The ancient port of Eilat on the Red Sea existed at least as long ago as the time of King Solomon. Today Eilat is a swinging, modern town and it’s hard to imagine what it was like in biblical times.

Eilat is at the southern tip of Israel. Geographically distanced from the rest of the country, it has its own distinctive character. It’s almost like a separate country.

Eilat is a peaceful oasis with the consistently warmest weather in Israel, with winter daytime temperatures of high sixties to seventies, and nighttimes in the fifties. Though it borders on two Arab states, Egypt and Jordan, (and Saudi Arabia can be glimpsed across the sea) it’s very tranquil, and the only problems you may have are taking care you don’t stay too long under Eilat’s powerful sun without protection, and deciding where to eat for lunch.

The views from anywhere in Eilat are magnificent. In the daytime, purple-hued hills ring the sea, and in the nighttime, lights twinkle from a multitude of levels in Eilat and in Aqaba, the Jordanian city that faces Eilat across the sea. Most hotel rooms have balconies, and it’s a wonderfully peaceful feeling to sit on your balcony and drink in the marvelous scenes before you, at any time of the day.

The Red Sea’s underwater coral and colorful sea life can be experienced in a variety of ways. For the very adventurous, SCUBA and snorkeling gear can be rented. For those who want to view the Red Sea’s charms, without getting wet try visiting the underwater observatory, fifteen feet under the sea with a 360-degree view of the surrounding sea. Also take a ride on a glass bottom boat or ride in the tourist submarine.

The coral and colorful sea life in the Red Sea is considered some of the finest in the world. You can go SCUBA diving without certification with a local certified instructor guide. Other water sports abound as well, including jet boats, windsurfing, and para sailing.

Outdoor cafes proliferate, and since the general population is young, dance clubs and outdoor beach bars abound.

At Dolphin Reef, swim with dolphins, or just watch them frolicking in the water. Piers jutting out into the sea offer accessibility to these bright human like mammals.

An adjacent Biblical Theme Park has several levels, and an observatory offers shows.

Eilat has luxurious spas near the sea. Many of their facilities are outdoors.

From Eilat tour the desert, King Solomon’s Mines, or the Timna Nature Reserve.

Eilat can be reached by land or via Israel’s inland airline, Arkia. The Dead Sea area can be reached by public buses from Israel’s cities.