More than 1,300 feet below sea level and with waters ten times saltier than those of the ocean, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth. The waters are so saline it is virtually impossible for anyone to drown in the Dead Sea. With its high rate of evaporation (high temperatures, low humidity), the sea produces large quantities of raw chemicals. These are extracted and exported throughout the world for use in medicine, agriculture and industry. Floating is a novelty that is very popular with tourists, but many visitors come for the therapeutic value of the mud and salt water. People with skin disorders such as psoriasis and ailments such as arthritis have found relief from treatments using the sea's natural resources.
Eilat, the southernmost city of Israel, is located on the northern shore of the Red Sea. Eilat has become a popular resort city packed with hotels and beaches. The sun always shines there and the average daytime temperature rarely dips below 70°F, even in the winter. During the summer, temperatures can climb above 100°F. The combination of a hot climate, a tropical sea and a breathtaking background of bare granite mountain, has turned Eilat into a year-round tourist hotspot. The area is not only known for its beautiful beaches, but it also has developed water sports with some of the best diving spots in the world. In the south of the city is the Coral Reserve, with incredible tropical fish swimming among the reefs.
Masada - Desert Fortress Overlooking the Dead Sea
Masada (Hebrew for fortress), is situated atop an isolated rock cliff at the western end of the Judean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea. Next to Jerusalem, it is the most popular destination of tourists visiting Israel. It remains a symbol of the ancient kingdom of Israel, its violent destruction and the last stand of Jewish patriots in the face of the Roman army in 73 A.D. Masada was built as a palace complex in the classic style of the early Roman Empire by Herod the Great, King of Judea, (reigned 37 – 4 B.C.). The camps, fortifications and attack ramp that encircle the monument constitute the most complete Roman siege works surviving to the present day.
Sea of Galilee (Lake Kineret)
The Sea of Galilee, known to Israelis as Lake Kineret, is only 13 miles by 7 miles in the region of Galilee in northern Israel, but is one of the most well-known bodies of water in the world. It is also the major source of fresh water for the entire country. The Kineret played an important role in the early years of Christianity and has now become a pilgrimage site for many Christians. According to Christian tradition, Jesus lived, preached and performed miracles in the Kineret and the surrounding region. It was here that he walked on the water and the miracle of the loaves and the fishes happened in nearby Capernaum. There are many Christian holy sites around the Kineret, including the Mount of Beatitudes, the Church of the Loaves and the Fishes, Kursi, and the wooden boat discovered in the lake and now on display at Kibbutz Ginosar.
Western Wall, Jerusalem
The Western Wall, or the Kotel, is the last remnant of the Second Temple that was destroyed in 70 C.E. by the Romans. The site of the Temple Mount is the most holy Jewish site as it was home to both the First and Second Temples. Since the destruction of the Second Temple, the Western Wall has served as a spiritual center, a reminder, and life-line to the Jewish people, and visitors from around the world gather there to pray.
When visiting, it is customary to insert a written prayer into the wall’s cracks. In accordance with traditional Jewish custom, there are separate areas of prayer for men and women.
See a LIVE view of the Western Wall – click here.
Yad Vashem - Holocaust Memorial Museum
Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, was established in 1953 by an act of the Israeli Knesset. Since its inception, Yad Vashem has been entrusted with documenting the history of the Jewish people during the Holocaust, preserving the memory and story of each of the six million victims of the Nazis' "final solution," and imparting the legacy of the Holocaust for generations to come through its archives, library, school, museums and recognition of the Righteous Among the Nations. Located on Har Hazikaron, the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem, Yad Vashem is a vast, sprawling complex of tree-studded walkways leading to museums, exhibits, archives, monuments, sculptures, and memorials. (http://www.yadvashem.org)