Few bodies of water hold as much significant historic, geographic, and religious importance as the Dead Sea. Ancient Egyptians and Jewish and Islamic traditions alone have put the Dead Sea on the map. It also stands as a unique location for health and spa treatments, and tourists love to go there for a nice day at the beach. Here are 25 Truly Fascinating Facts About The Dead Sea.
It took millions of years for the Dead Sea to form.
Millions of years ago, after the Mediterranean Sea receded from Syria and Israel, heavy deposits of shale, clay, sandstone, rock salt, and gypsum rushed into the Dead Sea. Then, due to precipitation, the lake shrank to what we know of it today.
Ancient Egyptians used it to embalm mummies.
As we all know, Egyptians had very specific and unique burial rituals involving mummies. One substance they used for this practice was asphalt to embalm the dead before wrapping them in bandages. The Dead Sea naturally provides asphalt, so they would frequently come to the area to get it.
In Islamic teachings, it stands as God's punishment.
According to the Quran, the Dead Sea is the site of Sodom and home of the Prophet Lot. Because of their wicked behavior, God turned the cities upside down and rained down brimstone on them. The result was the Dead Sea. Though Lot preached God’s message, his wife did not believe and was turned into a pillar of salt.
There's a prophecy that it will be made fresh.
In the Bible, prophets claimed that one day the Dead Sea would be made fresh. According to recent scientific research, pockets of fresh water at the bottom of the Dead Sea have opened up. Some believe this could be the beginning of that prophecy.
Herod the Great used it as a vacation get away.
Ruling over Israel at the time in 40 BC, Herod the Great built a fortress on top of Masada right by the Dead Sea. He used it as a vacation resort to get away when things got dangerous and cold back home. When Jewish Zealots overtook the garrison there, they found enough resources to last them a lifetime.