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's used to mine potash.
A fertilizer used since ancient times, potash is a water soluble form of potassium that is mined out of the Dead Sea. Today, it’s a billion dollar enterprise.
It's an archaeological gold mine.
In 1947, a shepherd stumbled upon one of the most significant archeological finds of the 20th century, the Dead Sea Scrolls. Providing hundreds of well preserved Biblical and non-biblical manuscripts, it helped reshape historic views on religion.
Mark Twain visited and wrote about the dead sea.
In his book The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain wrote about his visit to the Dead Sea, saying, “A silence broods over the scene that is depressing to the spirits. It makes one think of funerals and death.” Clearly, he wasn’t a fan.
The worlds lowest road runs from Israel to the west bank.
Highway 90 in Israel to the West Bank runs right along the Dead Sea, making it the lowest road in the world. It’s also considered a highly dangerous road with lots of reported accidents.
It's drying up at an alarming rate.
The Dead Sea is drying up, and evidence shows it could be completely dry in 50 years if nothing is done. Israel and Jordan have partnered to pump water into the lake from the Red Sea to stop this from happening.
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Photos: 23. Israeltourism via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, 22. Adiel lo, Dead sea shore, CC BY-SA 3.0, 20. Ian and Wendy Sewell, Dead Sea-18, CC BY-SA 3.0, 19. babeltravel, Dead Sea 21, CC BY 2.0, 18. Christian Haugen via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 16. David Shankbone, Dead Sea by David Shankbone, CC BY-SA 3.0, 14. Lldenke, McKittrick Tar Seep North of Highway 58, CC BY 3.0, 13. Disdero, SaltPillarDeadSea, CC BY-SA 2.5, 11. Use or reproduction of this image outside of Wikipedia must give the original photographer (Andrew Shiva) credit. Although not required, it would be appreciated if a message was left here indicating where this image was being used., Aerial view of Masada (Israel) 02, CC BY-SA 4.0, 9. Tiia Monto, Dead Sea salt, CC BY-SA 3.0, 7. israeltourism via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0 , 6. momo via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 2. Ian and Wendy Sewell, Dead Sea-14, CC BY-SA 3.0, 1. NASA’s Earth Observatory, The Dead Sea 1972-2011 – NASA Earth Observatory, CC BY 2.0