Thank you to Cindi from Whisperings From The Wings for making me this adorable header.
We just got back from a great day down at the Dead Sea, so what better to choose for this week's TT:
1. The Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth at minus 416 meters (1,364 feet) below sea level.
2. To put this in perspective for my son, I explained that it is the equivalent of about five soccer fields (lengthwise) below our home, which is a few miles in from the coast and so slightly elevated.
3. It was about 35 degrees celsius (95 degrees fahrenheit) at the Dead Sea today. In comparison, the high in Tel Aviv today was a balmy 28 C (82 F).
4. The region gets an average 330 days of sun each year, and because it's at such a low elevation the sunlight is filtered and there's much less danger of sunburn.
5. You cannot drown in the Dead Sea. The salt content is so high (10 times that of the world's oceans and twice that of the Great Salt Lake in Utah) that you literally cannot drown. People actually read newspapers while floating in the water, just as if they were sitting in a chair at home. It's a completely bizarre sensation. Sorry, I would have had photos of this but I forgot my camera in the car and it was a ridiculously long hike back uphill to get it so you're out of luck. You'll find plenty if you go0gle it though.
6. The very high salt and mineral content also makes the water feel very oily, and you need to be very careful not to get any in your eyes, mouth, etc.
7. You'd best not shave a day or so before swimming in the Dead Sea, because the water will make any cuts you have on your body sting!
8. Some people cover themselves in Dead Sea mud, believing it is good for their skin. (It may be, but I think they just like to play in the mud.)
9. The Qumran Caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, are right along the shore of the Dead Sea, hence the name "The Dead Sea Scrolls". Clever, isn't it?
10. Just across the road from the Dead Sea is the Ein Gedi Nature Preserve. This oasis of green with its flowing waterfalls stands in stark contrast to the surrounding desert. It offers both easy family-friendly hiking and more challenging routes.
(Maya was a wee bit off the path for this one)
11. Ein Gedi's waterfalls are a great place to cool off from the desert heat.
12. Ein Gedi has a herd of ibex who roam the park. They're used to humans, so you're able to observe them fairly closely without scaring them.
13. The Dead Sea is also quite near the historic fortress of Masada, where after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD a group of Jewish zealots held out against a siege by the forces of the Roman Empire for three more years. When it became apparent that all hope of victory was lost, they elected to kill themselves rather than surrender and submit to slavery.
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