The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is certainly an attraction for tourists who are interested in sun, sand, and water. But for many, it is also a therapy of sorts. The sea contains 10-20 times higher concentrations of bromine magnesium and iodine than can be found in the ocean. These minerals have been found to reduce skin allergies, stimulate glandular functions, and calm the nervous system. Applying the sea’s mud is also therapeutic for ones skin. Indeed, the health benefits of the sea have been known to treat dermatological diseases such as psoriasis and dermatitis.

The Dead Sea’s warm temperature in the winter, low humidity, oxygen-rich air, and bromine-rich atmosphere have been assets in the treatment of arthritic diseases. Aside from their use in the treatment of respiratory ailments and Crohn’s disease, the products from the Dead Sea are also renowned for their cosmetic benefits. Ones skin, hair, and body can all be treated with the mud, minerals, and springs of the Dead Sea. Probably the best place to relax and reap the health benefits of the Dead Sea is the Ein Gedi Spa.

Just a ten-minute drive from Ein Gedi is the hill known as Massada, where Jews made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom some two millennia ago. In 66 CE, a small band of Jews fled to Massada to escape the Roman Army, which had occupied Jerusalem. For the next few years, the Romans attempted to capture Massada, in order to enslave the Jews on top of the hill. Little by little, the Romans build a dirt ramp leading straight up to the top, and there was little the Jews could do except hold off the advancing army for as long as possible. Finally, in 73 CE, it became clear that the Romans would reach the top and the Jews would be captured and enslaved. Deciding that it was better to die free than to live as slaves, 960 of the 967 Jews on Massada committed suicide. For most of the last two millennia, Massada's exact location has remained a mystery. Finally, in the mid-1960's, archaeologist Yigael Yadin unearthed the ruins of the ancient fortress.

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