Nestled in a giant valley ranging from 6-16 kilometres wide, and 75 kilometres long, lies the Dead Sea. With an extremely high concentration of salt and minerals (350 grams of salt per kilogram of water, compared to the ocean at about 40 grams), it is devoid of plant and animal life. The Dead Sea’s high concentration give its waters curative properties, which were first discovered and used by King Herod the Great over 2,000 years ago.
The Dead Sea has many biblical references and is often referred to as the ‘Valley of Salt’ due to its natural salt formations along the water’s edge. According to the Old Testament, southern Ghor is where King David killed 18,000 Edomites (2 Samuel 7:29). It is also referenced as the place where Abraham and Lot went their separate ways after leaving Egypt—Abraham went into Canaan, while “Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east” (Genesis 13:11).
At the southern end of the sea, spreading over 10,000 hectares, are vast evaporation ponds built by the Arab Potash Company. These ponds extract potash—natural salts high in potassium—and Jordan is now one of its biggest exporters.
Being the lowest point on earth—400 metres below sea level—swimming in the Dead Sea is an unforgettable experience. Its high salinity levels make it next to impossible to sink, allowing your muscles proper time to relax. Lathering your body in mineral-rich mud is also quite popular, helping rid the body of toxins.
On the northern shores of the Dead Sea at Sweimeh lie the luxury hotels. Most hotels offer extensive spa treatments and massages, along with access to the beach and waters of the Dead Sea. It is about 45 kilometres southwest of Amman and can easily be done as a day trip.