Shobak Castle, Madaba, and the Dead Sea.
11.11.2014 - 11.11.2014 20 °C
Today we drove from Wadi Musa to the Dead Sea. Its about a 3hr drive, so we made a few stops along the way to break it up. Our first stop was the Crusader fortress of Shobak Castle. We didn't go in, as we were in a hurry to make it to the Dead Sea for sunset. But we were able to stop at 2 different viewpoints of it.
It was built in 1115 AD. It withstood numerous attacks from the armies of Saladin before succumbing in 1189.
Our 18 seater bus that we toured Jordan in.
Jordanian flag on the castle.
Scenery along the way to Madaba.
Traffic jam! Goats everywhere!
We arrived in Madaba in time for lunch. After lunch we were given a tour. Madaba is another example of Jordan's religious tolerance. Church bells ring along with the call to prayer from nearby mosques. Muslims make up 2/3 of Madaba, and Christians 1/3. The main attraction here is St George's Church with its mosaic map.
The mosaic tile map on the floor of the church was unearthed in 1884, but was laid in AD 560. It is a clear map of the Holy Land, including all biblical sites from Lebanon to Egypt, and down to the Mediterranean, including references to the Nile River, Dead Sea and Jerusalem.
After Madaba we finally arrived at the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea visit was not included in my 6 day tour, it was one of those optional add-ons. Well of course everyone wanted to go! How could you come all the way to Jordan and not float in the Dead Sea?! It was an over-priced add-on at $87CAD!!! This included transportation there & back, lockers, and use of a resort's pool. We didn't realize we were being brought to a resort ... that's why it cost so much. But it was very nice being able to use the showers & lockers here.
Salt on the beach.
The Dead Sea is located on the border, half in Jordan, half in Israel. It has an incredibly high salt content at 30% ... that's 7 times saltier than the ocean! That is why everyone floats! (and I mean everyone - it doesn't matter your weight, you WILL float).
It is impossible to sink ... some people in my group actually tried to sink and sit on the bottom ... they couldn't even get their head under, lol! It is the strangest feeling, almost like someone is holding you up. It is actually hard to get your feet back down on the ground!
After my float, I showered off all itchy salt at the resort. Be sure to NOT shave the day before, and do not get it in your eyes, or you will be in agony for a few minutes! IT BURNS! Then I walked around the pretty resort taking photos and waiting for the sun to set over the Dead Sea.
The level of the Dead Sea has been falling by about 500cm per year for the last 20yrs, mainly because there is no longer an inflow from the Jordan River, and evaporation is so high. The Dead Sea has fallen from 392m below sea level to 420m (the lowest point on earth). 30% of it has vanished, and experts are predicting it will be completely dried up in 50yrs! So go see it now!!