History

The Dead Sea has been called many names in its time, including the logical ‘Salt Sea’ and the less flattering ‘Stinking Sea’ (slap a little Dead Sea mud on your face and you’ll soon see why). A Greek traveller, Pausanias, first gave it the current name in the 2nd century AD, noticing that the extreme brackishness of the water made it unsupportive of life. The high salinity is due to the fact that the sea has no outlet and the high summer temperatures evaporate the fresh water more quickly than it is replenished. Each year, because of intensive irrigation in the Jordan Valley, the sea shrinks. This, together with the potash industry on the southern shore, has caused many environmentalists to lament the imminent death of this extraordinary stretch of water.