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The Dead Sea

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© Lonely Planet Publications
311

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The Dead Sea

‫ים המלח‬

It’s the ultimate Israeli cliché, the picture of the swim-suited bather lying in – almost on –
the water, feet up and newspaper open, like a Sunday morning in bed. But unlike a camel
ride at the pyramids or wrapping a keffiyeh (chequered scarf ) around your neck, this is one
Middle Eastern cliché well worth indulging in. Floating in the Dead Sea is a sensation that
cannot be duplicated anywhere else in the world.
Beyond the obligatory float, the soothing mud bath and a soak in the sulphur, the approximately 65km-long shoreline is one of the most mythic places on earth. Believers say
that Jesus Christ was baptised where the Jordan River meets the Dead Sea. It’s where the
biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are thought to have been located and it’s where the
Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest copy of biblical texts, were found in a mountain cave.
But the No 1 attraction is Masada, a solitary monolith rising from the desert; the fortress
in which Jews martyred themselves and their families rather than become slaves of the
Romans nearly 2000 years ago. This Unesco World Heritage site is one of Israel’s most
enigmatic locations and watching the sun rise over the Dead Sea from the ancient ruins
at the top is an experience not to be missed.
Ein Gedi’s nature reserves are perfect for beginner hikers with their refreshing pools, endangered animals and ancient sites. For adventure seekers there’s a wide range of walking
trails that offer stunning coastal views and the chance to explore the spectacular canyons
of the Judean Desert.
HIGHLIGHTS
Kalia
Beaches

Feeling like you could float forever at Kalia’s
uncrowded beaches (p314) in the northern
Dead Sea
Appreciating idyllic plunge pools after a sweaty
hike through the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve
(p316)
Indulging in a sulfur soak and a soothing Dead
Sea mud wrap at one of the many day spas
(p315)
Trudging joyously upward on the snake path
to Masada (p320) before dawn, which leads
to humbling views, incredible sunrises and a
haunting history
Taking on the Judean Desert (p325) –
unforgiving for beginners, unforgettable for
those who respect it

Judean
Desert
Ein Gedi
Nature
Reserve
Day Spas
Masada

THE DEAD SEA

THE DEAD SEA

‫اﻟﺒﺤﺮ اﻟﻤﻴﺖ‬

312 T H E D E A D S E A • • H i s t o r y

lonelyplanet.com

Awareness of the Dead Sea’s unique qualities goes back to at least the 4th century
BC; luminaries such as Aristotle, Pliny and
Galen all made mentio...
THE DEAD SEA
lonelyplanet.com
THE DEAD SEA
311
It’s the ultimate Israeli cliché, the picture of the swim-suited bather lying in – almost on –
the water, feet up and newspaper open, like a Sunday morning in bed. But unlike a camel
ride at the pyramids or wrapping a keffiyeh (chequered scarf ) around your neck, this is one
Middle Eastern cliché well worth indulging in. Floating in the Dead Sea is a sensation that
cannot be duplicated anywhere else in the world.
Beyond the obligatory float, the soothing mud bath and a soak in the sulphur, the ap-
proximately 65km-long shoreline is one of the most mythic places on earth. Believers say
that Jesus Christ was baptised where the Jordan River meets the Dead Sea. It’s where the
biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are thought to have been located and it’s where the
Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest copy of biblical texts, were found in a mountain cave.
But the No 1 attraction is Masada, a solitary monolith rising from the desert; the fortress
in which Jews martyred themselves and their families rather than become slaves of the
Romans nearly 2000 years ago. This Unesco World Heritage site is one of Israel’s most
enigmatic locations and watching the sun rise over the Dead Sea from the ancient ruins
at the top is an experience not to be missed.
Ein Gedi’s nature reserves are perfect for beginner hikers with their refreshing pools, en-
dangered animals and ancient sites. For adventure seekers there’s a wide range of walking
trails that offer stunning coastal views and the chance to explore the spectacular canyons
of the Judean Desert.
The Dead Sea
ﺖﻴﻤﻟا ﺮﺤﺒﻟا חלמה םי
HIGHLIGHTS
Feeling like you could float forever at Kalia’s
uncrowded beaches ( p314 ) in the northern
Dead Sea
Appreciating idyllic plunge pools after a sweaty
hike through the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve
( p316 )
Indulging in a sulfur soak and a soothing Dead
Sea mud wrap at one of the many day spas
( p315 )
Trudging joyously upward on the snake path
to Masada ( p320 ) before dawn, which leads
to humbling views, incredible sunrises and a
haunting history
Taking on the Judean Desert ( p325 )
unforgiving for beginners, unforgettable for
those who respect it
Reserve
Nature
Ein Gedi
Masada
Day Spas
Desert
Judean
Beaches
Kalia
310
© Lonely Planet Publications
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