The other side of the Dead Sea
• The other side of the Dead Sea
In the sultry steppe, at the source of the holy river of Jordan, in the embrace of the stone cliffs compressed, hot noon, wonderful blue, silently lies the Dead Sea.
KR: "The Legend of the Dead Sea"
Dead Sea - endorheic salt lake in the Middle East. This - the lowest place on earth and one of the most unique regions of our planet.
Many people think that the Dead Sea is located in Israel. This is not quite true. Israel belongs only to the western shore. But the east coast - it is Jordan.
This time I was lucky enough to spend a few days on the other side of the Dead Sea - the east. About it and will be today's story.
From Amman to the Dead Sea highway leads №40. Go - nothing at all, less than fifty kilometers. Especially good in the winter - in the Jordanian capital could be snow, and to the resort, where year-round good weather, no more than an hour away. Dream!
The shores of the Dead Sea are located at around 420 meters below sea level. Amman - at an altitude of 700 meters. The road goes down smoothly, the bus clumsily swinging on bends. A little nauseated and lays his ears.
around, as long as the eye can see - a lifeless desert. Only in the depths of the valley, on the edge of a highway wags, visible uncertain greens - there during the rare rains accumulates so valuable in these parts water.
Middle East can hardly be called a peaceful region. There are constant armed conflicts and wars. And against the background of Jordan - a real oasis of calm and security. No wonder that here in the past few decades flock refugees from troubled neighboring countries.
Only rough estimates are now in Jordan is about a million refugees from Iraq (of which several hundred thousand - Assyrian Christians), the same amount - from Egypt, more than half - from Syria, even tens of thousands - of Lebanon. To understand the scale of the problem was: Today the official population of Jordan - 6, 7 million people, of which approximately half - immigrants from Palestine, have Jordanian citizenship. Of course, not all find a job, so many refugees live below the poverty line. Along the road constantly encountered here are makeshift tent cities.
We at the Dead Sea. On a high rock near the coast of the tourist center is located. In it - a small museum. Apart from a huge collection of minerals found in these places, where you can familiarize yourself with the layout of the Dead Sea. So it looked in the 1960s.
Today's reality is somewhat different. Due to the extensive use of fresh water from Lake Kinneret Israel - the primary source, supplying the Dead Sea, the last level is constantly falling - an average of 1 meter per year. If everything continues at the same pace, then just 300 years later it will disappear.
While environmentalists loudly shouting about the ecological catastrophe in the region the landscape is changing rapidly. Back in 1977 the Dead Sea was divided into two parts by an isthmus - north and south. And if the northern part still somehow similar to the sea, the south for a long time is a collection of neatly cut and separated by dams basins, where Israel and Jordan are engaged in industrial-scale production of bromine, potassium chloride and other interesting minerals. All this is perfectly visible on the satellite image.
Next to the museum - a panoramic restaurant. One of the best views of the Dead Sea, offers just with its terrace.
Due to the very high level of mineralization of the water is incredibly dense and oily, like a good jelly. And the clouds are reflected in it in a special way, it looks like a painting of the Renaissance. This very little where you can see the world.
In general, views, views from the Jordanian coast, virtually indistinguishable from their Israeli counterparts, with one important exception - on this side of the Dead Sea certainly looks picturesque.
The opposite bank - Palestine.
Good vision of the city of Jericho, in the Old Testament.
In general, there is all the biblical places.
In addition to the religious and historical traditions, this region is related many interesting stories of our time already. For example, due to the fact that the Dead Sea is well below sea level, in the recent past over its smooth surface, there were several of curious cases involving aircraft.
A few decades ago, a world famous corporation experienced here its new processors for autopilots. And yet they went according to plan, exactly to the moment until the aircraft is not flying up to the Dead Sea - here the equipment turns off suddenly. Engineers have long puzzled what the hell is this, have not yet found a miscalculation in their formulas: in one of them there is a division on the current altitude of the aircraft above sea level, and approaching the Dead Sea its value took a moment value of zero, the system tries produce division by zero, autopilot hanged.
But it's flowers. Rumor has it that the F-15 and F-16 first generation during flights over the Dead Sea with the included autopilot general upside his head. Automation could not understand how it can fly below sea level, and decided that the plane apparently flies upside down, and we ought to turn it over. Circus, and more!
The healing properties of the climate mortvomorskogo known since ancient times. It is said that the local dirt were appreciated even by Cleopatra.
Today, along both shores of the Dead Sea hotels and huddled masses of the various spa and wellness center. Something that previously could afford only the kings but the Pharaohs, is now available to all comers, only manage to pay money!
The main difference between the Jordanian understanding mortvomorskogo tourism from Israel that all the hotels on the east coast - only the level of "premium": only the world-famous network, only five stars. Everything here is purely as Europeans, no oriental charm you! Although if you search well, then it can be found. That's where you can still see the car with such numbers? Steeper only the king, he - five stars.
Well, while the Russian owners thieves rooms AAA Series or DGP bite himself with envy, let's go further.
The view from my room window. In my opinion - excellent!
On the infrastructure is also a full order: many swimming pools, several restaurants, a gym, tennis court.
Those who stuffy hotel rooms are not put on the status, they can stay in separate apartments. For those who are really the money nowhere to go, there are royal villas on the coast. The cost - tens of thousands of euros per night. Bonus to this villa there is a small piece of private beach.
The local hotels are like small towns. Until you reach from one end to the other - half day pass.
On the beach there are tubs of dirt that is specially dug somewhere nearby. Standard procedure: smear from head to toe, you wait until the mud dries, soak in the views. Jordan dirt, unlike Israeli, black, if carbon black.
The water off the east coast is not as mineralized as the west. Even the salt buildup on the bottom there, you can go barefoot without fear to break his legs. The secret is simple - in the sea near the Jordan flows into the freshwater.
By the way, read the newspaper, lying on his back, off the east coast can be no worse than that of the western.
The main value of the Jordanian coast - the opportunity to admire the sunsets.
However, on the Dead Sea is always hanging thick haze, so hope for some kind of special beauty is not necessary.
At sunset is especially good start to feel how the air is thick. It literally can touch.
Near the coast there are many gorges and canyons, deep bite into a lifeless desert.
stands a lone spa hotel is in one of these gorges. Here are the hot springs - Zarqa Ma'in (Hammamat Ma'in or). It is believed that this place is loved king of the Jews, Herod the Great.
According to one legend, there was one of his palaces. In subsequent years, here came to rest Roman aristocrats.
From the valley to the mountain hiking trails are laid. It is said that there are a lot of wild animals. If you're lucky - you can find a jackal or hyena.
In general, it is quite a nice place.
At the end of the gorge - the Dead Sea.
The day is over, come evening.
The sun once again fail somewhere in sands of the Judean Desert.
The sky is painted in a bright orange color. Birds fall silent.
In the sky light up the myriad of stars, and in the distance the dim light twinkling lights of Jerusalem ...