Sea of life
Despite its not very life-affirming name, the Dead Sea is far from dead. Its surroundings are full of life. In addition, thanks to the miraculous properties, the Dead Sea is a hospital of world importance, where thousands of people come to improve their health, relieve stress, rejuvenate and gain vivid impressions. And today, among them, finally, I am Israel, Tel Aviv, at six in the morning. I am waiting for a sightseeing bus. For the fifth day in a row, getting up early in order not to miss the next tour, I ask myself the same question: “Well, what am I in love with?” I would rest, like all normal people, I would lie down with a book on the beach, otherwise after such trips I will have to take another week of vacation to sleep. The city is still dozing, fellow travelers are gradually gathering near me. New morning – new sleepy faces, but sometimes you already meet friends from past excursions. Today is dad with his son. Dad is always displeased with everything, knows everything and teaches everyone to live, first of all, his son. The boy is a teenager with barely penetrating antennae, blond curls and round glasses, which under the weight of their own frames constantly slide to the tip of the nose. Typical nerd. And judging by the lectures, the pope is surely trying to grow from him no less than a Nobel laureate. We greet the gaze. From the sleepy eyes of his son it is clear that this excursion marathon is clearly not his idea. But the less time left before departure, the faster the general drowsiness comes to naught. Replacing mine comes genuine excitement. Some childish joy from meeting with the unknown covers me. After all, this is the first time I’ve been going to the Dead Sea. Perhaps everyone knows about him from school geography lessons. The name “dead”, which has survived to this day and has become fixed in many languages of the world, was given to this salt reservoir by Christian monks many centuries ago. And all because the familiar marine life in it is completely absent. If you release fish into the water of the sea, it will last only a few hours. Even plants do not survive in it longer! The reason for this is the incredibly high concentration of salt – 350-420 grams per liter of water. This figure is almost nine times higher than in the oceans. In artificial conditions it is impossible to create such a solution! Only a few lakes around the world – one in Turkmenistan, the other in African Djibouti and a couple more in the valleys of Antarctica – are more saline. However, the name “dead” should not be taken literally. Microscopic life in the sea still exists. In 1940, scientists discovered several species of bacteria in the samples of water taken from the Dead Sea, and in 1983 they also grew seaweed in the “dead” water. Therefore, the name of the reservoir sounds more correctly in Hebrew – “Yam ha-melah”, which means “salt sea”. Although the Dead Sea is not the most salty in the world, it still holds a record in a different category. Its coast is 420 meters below sea level. The fact that this is the lowest point of land on the globe, it is also said in the holy book of Muslims – the Koran. Scientists rack their brains over how this was known in the 7th century A.D. e., when the Holy Scriptures appeared, that is, many centuries before the fact was established by science. Well, the Quran and the holy book … I learn all this from our talkative guide who seems to know everything about his country and has answers to all questions. More than two hours have passed since we left Tel Aviv, and he did not interrupt for a minute. Even the interrogation with addiction, arranged by the pope, did not take him by surprise. This is talent! We are heading for the Judean desert, where the Dead Sea is located. She is one of the smallest deserts in the world, but in the harsh climate is not inferior to its larger “sisters”. That is why since ancient times this area has served as a safe haven for hermits and rebels. Here he was hiding from the zealous and envious king Saul, his squire and later the legendary king of the people of Israel, David. Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness, tormented by the temptations of the Devil and opposing them: “Man does not live by bread alone!” Suddenly, our guide interrupts the story and points deep into the desert. Peering into the distance, I see the city. There, in the Palestinian Authority, Jericho is located. This is the oldest (however, some sources give the palm to the Syrian capital – Damascus) and the lowest located city on earth – at 250 meters below sea level. It has the most important biblical significance, because it was the first city that the sons of Israel conquered when they came to the Promised Land. For seven days at the command of the Lord they walked around his walls. On the seventh day they trumpeted so much that the walls of the city collapsed. This story gave birth to the famous expression “Jericho trumpets.” The guide enthusiastically continues his story. I did not suspect that so many living stories could be connected with such a seemingly lifeless terrain!