The Dead Sea
Welcome to the Dead Sea, one of the lowest places on earth and famous for its very salty water and mud baths. We are also going to visit the breathtaking Masada, a symbol of determination and heroism, hike the trails around Ein Gedi and enjoy its refreshing waterfalls and pools and then take a peek in Qumran where the Dead sea scrolls were discovered.
Click here to find out 10 Fun facts about the Dead Sea!
You know the Dead Sea isn't dead at all, its high salinity allows you to float effortlessly on the water, even while you read a newspaper. The Dead Sea is the perfect place to relax and just chill in one of the area's beautiful hotels and enjoy a therapeutic mud bath.
No trip to this area is complete without the Masada experience. To make your visit even more meaningful, think about the fact that Masada is situated on an isolated table-top mountain overlooking the Dead Sea miles away from civilization. King Herod built this extraordinary fortress at the end of the first century bce and it is the site of the last Roman siege in 73 ce against the remaining rebels of Judea after the Romans destroyed the Beit Hamikdash (the Second Holy Temple) in Jerusalem. Masada has become a symbol of Jewish heroism. We can begin our tour of Masada with a walk up the rugged snake path or take the cable car directly to the top.
The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in 1947 in the dry caves of Qumran, which helped preserve them, have been a source of mystery and much excitement ever since. From evidence found in Qumran, it is believed to have been home to the Essenes sect around 2000 years ago.
Now, we can discover the oasis of waterfalls, flora and fauna that is Ein Gedi. We can enjoy so wonderful hiking in this area adjacent to the Dead Sea. Ein Gedi is mentioned in the Tanach (Scriptures) and is believed to be the site where King Shaul (Saul) and David had a major confrontation. I hope we will be lucky enough to see hyrax, gazelles, Tristram's grackles, as well as friendly starlings and a host of other animals and birds on our hike. A wheelchair-accessible path takes you to a beautiful waterfall.
Kasr el-Yehud another great place to visit, is believed to be the area where Bnei Yisrael (Israelites) crossed into Israel after 40 years in the desert. Also this is considered the site where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.
The secret balsam plant, which grew in the Dead Sea area was considered an ingredient in one of the most expensive perfumes during ancient times and the formula was well-guarded. The mosaic floor of the ancient synagogue in Ein Gedi had written warnings to anyone who even thought about disclosing the secret formula! Cleopatra begged Mark Anthony to grant her the balsam estate giving her power and wealth. Sadly, today the formula for making the balsam perfume is long lost. Or is it?!
The desert is such a fun place to visit! Close to Jerusalem you can take a thrilling ATV (All Terain Vehicle) ride through the Judean desert on an exciting off-road adventure for an up close and personal look at the natural grandeur of the desert. Take a camel ride and watch a re-enactment of Abraham and his loyal servant, Eliezer's story brought to life followed by a sumptuous meal in Abraham's hospitable tent. It'll be an experience you'll never forget and I know you will hear cries of "Can we do it again, please!!"