There are few countries in the Middle East where the legacies of ancient civilizations are more evident than Jordan, home to countless thousand year old towns, the breathtaking ruins of Petra and the hundreds of lesser known ruins and monuments scattered about the landscape. The sheer weight of history in the country makes the ultra-modern cities even more amazing to behold, and the easy coexistent of the two – modern and ancient – is one of the country’s greatest attractions.
The Dead Sea
Does ‘The Dead Sea’ sound creepy? It is called the Dead Sea because nothinglives in it. There’s no seaweed or plants in or around the water. There are no fish or any kind of swimming, squirming creatures living in or near the water. As a matter of fact, what you’ll see on the shores of the sea is white crystals of salt covering everything.
Located at the Eastern Coast of Jordan, The Dead Sea is one of the spectacular natural and spiritual landscapes in the whole world. The views will not disappoint the frequent traveler of beach oriented destinations. Don’t forget to include The Dead Sea in your itinerary to experience the sensation of floating like a rubber tube. Because the salt content is four times more compared to most of the world’s oceans, you can float in the Dead Sea without even trying, which makes swimming there a truly unique experience which is not to be missed. The moment you enter the water, your body naturally floats to the top. The water is so calm that it makes your skin tingle and you feel so refreshed.
This is the only place in the world where you can recline on the water and read a newspaper. Therefore, a few rules you need to follow before you step into the water: only float on your back, and do not swim normally as the legs would float better than usual and the head will be submerged. Furthermore, the salt concentration in the water is so high that it would cause great pain if it comes in contact with the eyes, and could possibly cause greater panic.
The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth in any land mass which is 417 meters below sea level, to be exact, and the world’s richest source of natural salts. The leading attraction at the Dead Sea is the hot and soothing super-salty sea water. The quantity of water that evaporates from it is greater than the water that flows into it, making the Dead Sea the highest concentration of salt in the world, which is approximately 340 grams per liter of water. The water is too salty that it would be a bad idea for one to even try and take a sip. That same salt, on the other hand, provides tremendous relief to many ailing visitors who come here on a regular basis to benefit from its healing properties. All these and more make the Dead Sea fascinating, different and interesting.
Some people call The Dead Sea ‘The Lowest Spa in the World’. The composition of the salts and minerals in the water is what makes it so unique and beneficial for the body. The sea bed has deposits of black mud that is easy to spread on the body and provides the skin with nourishing minerals, which seems to be endless in supply. And there, you can see green colored people walking around the beach. It is fun to watch them turn colors, from green to dark mud color. After slathering the black mud onto your body, you can instantly feel the difference – the skin is noticeably smoother than before. Try rubbing it all over your body and wait for it to dry before washing it off, even though you may look like an alien walking around with only the whites of your teeth and eyes showing. The bromide in the air is also beneficial to the system, thus making the Dead Sea all-round provider for good health and healing.
For any holiday makers who are planning ahead to The Dead Sea, there are a few choices of accommodation range from luxury to budget stay to suit your needs.
Amman: Things To See & Do
Famously known as the Lost City from the Hollywood Blockbuster, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, this spectacular city carved in the red stone of mountains must be seen to be believed. This vast city was built by the ancient Nabataeans, and has often been considered the eight wonder of the world.
This amazing landscape of 4000 year old, red-hued monoliths raising from the desert sands is best described by by T.E. Lawrence, who considered them “vast, echoing and god-like…”. A day trip out to Wadi Rum is one of the most popular activities in Jordan.
Activity Dead Sea
One of the most unusual seas in the world, the high salinity of the Dead Sea’s waters has attracted visitors for thousands of years for its therapeutic properties. Today, it is still renowned for health treatments, but the most popular activity that takes place in the Dead Sea for floating – not swimming – as the salinity of the water causes anyone to easily float in it!
Citadel Hill (Jabal el Qala)
This hill is packed with most of Amman’s historic attractions, including the ruins of the Temple of Hercules, the remains of Roman walls and an Arab castle, the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Popular Traditions, the Jordan Folklore Museum and the city’s most famous historical relic – the magnificent Roman amphitheatre, the biggest and best preserved in Jordan, and still occasionally used today. Its a fairly compact area, easy to walk around, and there are lovely views across the old city.
The heart of downtown Amman is the only part of the city still retaining its ancient character, and is a nice place for to walk around and explore the numerous souqs, shops, restaurants and street vendors. When shopping, expect to bargain (knowing basic Arabic will be an immense help!).
The major landmark in the downtown area, this enormous mosque was built in the 1980s in honor of King Abdullah I, and apart from its sheer size (it can accommodate 3,000 worshippers), the mosque is known for its blue mosaic dome.
Amman: Events Highlights (Major Events)
Dead Sea Ultra Marathon
One of the most gruelling sporting events in Jordan, contestants race from Amman down through the deserts of southern Jordan, along scorching tarmac roads. Definitely only for the fit, though visitors can join the crowds of spectators lining the race route.
Now into its fourth year and still going strong, this amazing music festival is held in the famous Wadi Rum area, and attracts pop and electronica music lovers from around Jordan to the desert for this festival with a difference.
This annual summer festival is Jordan’s biggest international cultural event, and regularly draws thousands of participants for its thrilling rides, endless food and entertainment stalls.
July – August (tba)
Amman’s annual summer music festival is a great way to hear some of the best local talents onstage, and is jazzed up with the yearly addition of some bright international names.