Cleopatra’s beauty secret

By | Health & Wellness
Salt crystals at the shoreline of the Dead Sea credit@bestourism

Its location aims to be exotic, water therapeutic and uplifting. Salt crystals line the shore of this natural phenomenon. Located in the heart of the Syrian-African rift valley, at the southern outlet of the Jordan River, lies the Dead Sea.

Also known as the ‘Salt Sea,’ bordering Jordan to the east and Palestine and Israel to the west, the Dead Sea has attracted both vacationers and health-cure visitors from around the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. Among these visitors were  historical personalities such as; Cleopatra, Herod the great, the queen of Sheba and Aristotle, who were fascinated by the lake’s health benefits. According to the book of Samuel, King Solomon presented the queen of Sheba with salts from the Dead Sea when she came to visit the Holy Land. The Dead Sea’s beauty formulations and treatments were also used by the empress Cleopatra, who was given the entire region by Mark Anthony after he conquered it.

Credit@mapisrael.info

Credit@mapisrael.info

This long history seems to make the Dead Sea one of the world’s first health resorts and has since been a major supplier of a wide variety of products; from balms for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilisers. The Dead Sea is known for its unique geographical, biological and historical characteristics. It is the deepest hyper-saline lake in the world, with its shoreline around 420 meters below sea level; the only one of its kind on the globe. The lake’s water contains up to 33% of various salts, compared to 3% in other sea-water.

Historically, the area is known as the origin of monotheistic religion and therefore appears in the Bible, the Torah and the holy Qur’an. It is also the finding spot of hundreds of religious documents, the so-called ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’, dated between the third century BC and the first century AD. These ancient religious writings, some of which survived as nearly intact scrolls, were discovered by a Bedouin shepherd in caves around the site of Qumran in the middle of the 20th century. Containing significant religious literature, the finding of the scrolls revolutionised the present understanding of history and religion.

Besides the area’s historical significance, the region around the Dead Sea seems to be home to unique flora and fauna, including rare species such as ibex, leopards and hyrax. The surrounding wetlands are a paradise for bird watchers, as it serves as an important resting and breeding site for millions of migratory birds on their annual journeys between the European and African continents.

Nowadays, the Dead Sea aims to serve as in important site for health research, treatments and alternative medicine. Modern science has proven the therapeutic and rejuvenating properties of the lake’s mineral content. Therefore it is unsurprising, the Dead Sea’s richness of; raw materials, mineral salts, thermo mineral hot springs, mineral mud and an enriched oxygen atmosphere, attracts many visitors from around the world. It has become a hotspot for anyone seeking relaxation and relief from skin allergies or rheumatic disorders. First and foremost it is the largest organ in the body, the skin, which benefits the most from a bath in the Dead Sea; as it absorbs Dead Sea salt and vitamins, which may have an effect on circulation and cell regeneration.

Salt crystals in the Dead Sea Credit@Itamar Grinberg via flickr.com

Salt crystals in the Dead Sea Credit@Itamar Grinberg via flickr.com

Research, carried out by the Dead Sea Research Centre, has shown, treatments, combined with the region’s climatic factors, have a long lasting therapeutic effect on anyone keen to boost their health. Despite the lake’s long history as a nature paradise and health resort, the Dead Sea aims leaves the visitor amazed by the site’s uniqueness.

Where are other relaxation hotspots?

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