To reach the highest place on Earth one must be a skilled and experienced climber. To reach the lowest place on Earth all one has to do is come to Israel, where the Dead Sea - one of the most exciting natural sites in the world - lies 417 meters below sea level.
The Dead Sea is a body of water at the centre of a deep geological fault line extending from Syria to Africa. It is 45 kilometres long and 14 kilometres wide at its widest point. It is also the saltiest body of water on Earth, and its concentration of salt is as high as 340 grams per litre - ten times that of the water of the Mediterranean. People bathing in the Dead Sea can float effortlessly on the water and enjoy the warm sun and desert wind, but no organisms live in its waters, which is why it is called the Dead Sea.
The lack of life is, however, very healthy. The rich mineral content of the water, healthful bromide fumes, high concentration of oxygen in the air, special medicinal mud, hot springs, and naturally filtered sunlight have all made the Dead Sea a centre for health and healing. Tourists and visitors come from all over the world to rest, seek healing, enjoy the hotels and spas, and marvel at the beautiful desert landscape.
There is a lot to see in the area including sculpted salt formations that line the shores of the sea, remains of ancient settlements on the hillsides, and springs emerging from the feet of the desert cliffs. Visitors to the area can see unique desert animals such as gazelles, jerboas, and desert lizards, as well as desert plants and flowers.
A thriving tourist industry has sprung up around the shore of the Dead Sea that offers challenges to visitors wishing to hike, ride on donkeys or camels, rappel down cliffs, take jeep excursions or bicycle hikes. Visitors can also visit enchanting natural oases such as Ein Gedi, Nakhal Arugot, and Nakhal David. Nearby historical sites include Metsada (Massada) and the Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered.