The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea, also known as the Salt Sea and the Sea of Lot, is a unique body of water in the Jordan Rift Valley. The Dead Sea is 85 km long and 17 km wide and covers an area of about 677 square km. It lies about 417 m below sea level, making the Dead Sea the lowest point on Earth. In addition, the Dead Sea is the world’s saltiest large water body, with a salt concentration ten times higher than the Mediterranean. The earliest traces of nearby human habitation date back to the Chalcolithic period (approximately 4500 to 2500 BC). It was mentioned in the Bible and described by many Greek, Roman and Arab writers.
The entire basin is a spectacular landscape characterised by the abundance of a variety of ecosystems, including semitropical marshland, mudflats, wetlands, semi-desert, and arid desert. The diverse ecosystems surrounding the Dead Sea make this area an important site for biodiversity. It is home to some rare and threatened flora and fauna, such as the Lesser Kestrel. The Dead Sea basin is considered one of the main global bird migration routes, as well as an important bird habitat in the Middle East. Along with its ecological importance, the Dead Sea is rich minerals, attracting millions of visitors who wish to take advantage of the therapeutic qualities of its waters.
The Jordan River
The Jordan River flows from Mount Hermon in Syria, about 3,000 feet above sea level, to the Dead Sea, which is 1,300 feet below sea level. The winding Jordan River, with an average width of 100 feet, covers a distance of only 65 miles as the crow flies. However, if it were stretched out, the riverbed would cover 160 miles end-to-end. Jesus was baptised by John in the Jordan River, and ever since, the river has been a holy site for Christians, with many pilgrims visiting the river every year to be baptised.