The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea

A pivotal stop on Holy Land Tours, The Dead Sea is, in many ways, the birthplace of Christianity. The region surrounding it was traveled by both Jesus and John the Baptist, who may have been influenced by the post-Judean sects that inhabited the Judean desert at the time.

Traveling from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, you will spot signs indicating how far below sea level you are situated. When you reach the Dead Sea, you'll be 1300 feet below sea level – the lowest point on earth!

Facing the northern Dead Sea is the archaeological site of Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered. The compilers of these texts chose to live an isolated life, separate away from the metropolitan Jerusalem. Their monastic lifestyle may have influenced John the Baptist.

At the southern end of the Dead Sea is Masada, where King Herod, who ordered the beheading of John, built two elaborate palaces. Masada was also the last stronghold of the Jewish revolt against the Romans and the site of a mass suicide.

The Dead Sea is also a natural wonder, with such a high concentrations of minerals that you can automatically float atop the water's surface. Spend some time at the beach, and don't forget to take the classic picture - reading a newspaper while swimming. The minerals are known for their medicinal value and are especially helpful for skin ailments. A number of spas located at the Dead Sea offer treatments that utilize these minerals for skin enhancement and relaxation.

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