Are you ready to take a trip that will leave you and your loved ones profoundly moved? Drawing you into a breathtaking new experience of our shared planet, the Dead Sea may be the answer.
As you stand on this part of the Earth that was once a refuge and sanctuary for the Biblical King David, your feet will touch ground that is historically and geographically unlike anywhere else in the world. Did you know that the surface of the Dead Sea is the lowest geographical spot on the globe: 423 meters below "sea level?" Not only that, but the dramatic landscape of its surroundings contains canyons, plateaus, caves, hot springs and unexpected oases, will you. As you start to plan your trip, you can pre-explore some of the moving activities and experiences that the Dead Sea region has to offer:
Share an Ancient Tradition
At the Dead Sea, you live through a healing pilgrimage that has drawn people since before the days of King Herod (74 BCE), when ancient wanderers discovered the exceptional properties of this unique body of water. You will see the beautifully strange formations of salt crystals at the sea's edge, the same otherworldly crystalline forms that have hinted at mineral treasures down through the eons. When you lower your body into the warm wavelets, you will effortlessly float on the surface due to the high concentration of various salts. An incredible 32% of the water is dissolved minerals (the highest natural concentration of minerals in the world), which makes it feel silky to the touch, hydrating to the skin and soothing to sore joints. Thousands of visitors each year seek out this pure environment just to experience the spa-like mud and mineral waters.
Breathe the World's Richest Air
You know that air becomes thinner when you climb mountains, but did you ever think about the opposite effect? The lower the elevation, the more oxygen-saturated the air becomes. At nearly 423 meters below sea level, each breath you take brings 10% more oxygen into your lungs than sea-level air. Furthermore, the desert breezes are virtually free of humidity and urban pollutants, while carrying almost zero allergens. Best of all, the added atmospheric layer at this low elevation provides much greater protection from ultraviolet, solar radiation so that you won't sunburn as quickly in sunny weather.
Ein Gedi Nature Reserve
Dip your hands into the cooling miracle of two freshwater streams in this natural desert reserve. The year-round waterfall in lower Wadi David is an easy walk from the park's entrance, and a range of hiking trails in the two parallel canyons all open up the lush wilderness to your adventurous heart. With a touch of the desert's special magic, you may catch sight of amazing animals that visit these spring fed oases: Keep an eye out for ibexes and hyraxes, or "rock bunnies."
Commune with Powerful Plants
When you stroll quietly through Ein Gedi Botanical Garden, you'll experience a close-up view of more than 1,000 species of important local plant life. Iconic plants such as frankincense and myrrh will bring ancient scriptures to life as you inhale their scents, and you'll marvel at the variation of plant life from miniature desert succulents to giant baobab trees. Walking through this natural attraction will immerse you in the true flavor of the Dead Sea's remarkable ecosystem.
Watch Soaring Birds
Visit in the spring or fall and you'll be mesmerized by the sound of half a billion migrating birds beating their wings. The Dead Sea is in the middle of the great Syrian-African Rift, and it's a crucial corridor of seasonal migration between Europe and Africa. An impressive number of birds, including the native Dead Sea Sparrow live here as well, as do powerful falcons, vultures, eagles and hawks. Your understanding of nature's secrets will be deepened and enriched by local experts who offer bird-watching tours to groups and individuals.
Stand in the Fortress of the Brave
Do you know the story of this iconic mountain plateau? Rising out of the Judean Desert, Masada retains archaeological traces of its dramatic origins from more than 3,000 years B.C.E. The great majority of its ruins date from the era of King Herod, who constructed a palatial fortress on the mountaintop. These ancient Jewish ruins, together with the siege walls built by Romans who finally seized the fortress in the year 74 C.E., led UNESCO to name Masada a World Heritage Site. The dry desert air has preserved the ancient battlements, ramps and artifacts throughout the millennium and you'll feel the legendary power of this historic symbol of strength.
Enter the Scriptures' Resting Place
Walk into the golden-streaked desert cave, in which a Bedouin shepherd made one of history's most significant religious discoveries in 1947: the Dead Sea Scrolls. Your pathway will take you by the actual spot where some of these papyrus scrolls had been secretly resting since the first century C.E. These scrolls include the oldest existing manuscript of the Old Testament, and there are also many writings that describe the life of Jesus. Scholars are still studying the scrolls, and you'll be able to see some on display in Jerusalem at the Israel Museum.
View the Holy Land
Have you ever imagined yourself standing in a high place with a view of the Holy Land? Near the North end of the Dead Sea stands 3,300-foot-high Mount Nebo. The ancient scriptures name this mountain as the vantage point from which Moses saw the Promised Land before he died, and for that reason, it has been a major Judeo-Christian pilgrimage destination throughout history. In addition to its breathtaking views, you'll also find stunningly well-preserved mosaics on the mountain top from the 6th century, as well as carefully excavated ruins from the 5th through 7th centuries.
When you venture into the aqua-blue waters of this inland sea, edged with crystalline mineral deposits, you are privileged to experience the timeless power of a truly extraordinary part of the world. Enriched with stories and relics from some of humankind's most central beliefs, the Dead Sea region may become the site of your most unforgettable vacation. AHAVA sustainably and responsibly distills the special mystique of this area, and that's why our local factory is a can't-miss destination on your trip.