"But Life will suit Itself to Sorrow's most
detested fruit, Like to the apples on the Dead
Sea's shore, All ashes to the taste”
- Lord Byron
The Dead Sea, also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Its
surface and shores are 423 metres below sea level, Earth's lowest elevation on land. The Dead Sea is 377 m deep, the deepest
hypersaline lake in the world. With 33.7% salinity, it is also one of the world's saltiest bodies of water, though Lake Assal
(Djibouti), Garabogazköl and some hypersaline lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica (such as Don Juan Pond) have
reported higher salinities. It is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean. This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which animals
cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea is 67 kilometres long and 18 kilometres wide at its widest point. It lies in the
Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River.
The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. Biblically, it was a place of
refuge for King David. It was one of the world's first health resorts (for Herod the Great), and it has been the supplier of a wide
variety of products, from balms for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizers. People also use the salt and the minerals
from the Dead Sea to create cosmetics and herbal sachets. In 2009, 1.2 million foreign tourists visited on the Israeli side.
The sea has a density of 1.24 kg/L, which makes swimming similar to floating.