Israel - The Dead Sea

Israel is a land of much cultural and religious history; however, it was not officially a country until 1948.  Battles continue to this day for its holy land, Jerusalem and Bethlehem.  It is a highly popular destination for people of many religions due to being the birthplace of many religious icons.  Our time in Israel was limited to two days as we visited via a cruise ship, however, we would like to return as there were many sites that we missed and would still like to see.

Things you MUST see/do:

Baha’i Gardens (Haifa, Israel) – Located on a hillside facing the majestic Mediterranean are the beautifully manicured Baha’i Gardens.  These gardens are an icon in the city as they can be seen throughout the city.  Make sure to take in the golden domed Shrine of the Bab.   In order to enter the gardens, you must take a guided tour that only occurs at certain times of the day so make sure to check on the current times before heading out to the gardens.

Masada (Judah Desert, Israel) – Built as refuge for King Herod around 35 B.C.  Masada is located on the very highest peaks in the dessert so that it could be excellently defended.  It offers sweeping views over the desert and the Dead Sea.  This is the location where approximately 1000 Jews held strong against the Roman invasion of many thousands for several months in the 1st century.  Many of the ruins are still well intact and there is a good explanation of the history of Masada on signs throughout the site.  One warning, Israel can be staggeringly hot in the summer and Masada is in the heart of the dessert on an exposed rock so bring lots of water.

Travels4Couples highly recommended EXPERIENCES:

The Dead Sea (Judah Desert, Israel) – A dying sea, the Dead Sea is a salt water lake that is evaporating from the heat of the sun.  The rate of evaporation from the sun is greater than the amount of water added by its major tributary, the Jordan river. As a result, the sea has a very high salinity (salt content) which increases buoyancy.  Definitely, grab a swimsuit and head in to the water to experience super flotation in the Dead Sea.  Don’t expect a refreshing dip as the water is usually as warm as the air temperature and be careful to not to get any of the water in your eyes (putting your head under is actually not recommended).  As well, be sure to rinse off as soon as you get out.  A cool souvenir is  to grab some of the salt deposits at the edge of the water (shaped similar to golf balls).

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Is the Dead Sea really “dead”?