A Tale of the Dead Sea: Jerash and Petra

dead sea

Updated On: April 22, 2024 by   Marwa Abdel MoniemMarwa Abdel Moniem

Have you ever imagined what the feeling of a weightless feather in the air would be like or how the touch of creamy skin could be? Well, you might think a spa session could give you a taste of that combined feeling. How about getting a mix of this and that in one place that is truly a geological marvel—the Dead Sea in Jordan?  

This salty lake offers you a unique opportunity to recline and enjoy a natural spa where you can have a surreal floating experience in its highly saline waters and indulge in a mud treatment that would leave your skin rejuvenated and smooth as a baby’s bottom. That’s something to revel in!

History buffs might want to pay visits to some of the magnificent archaeological sites that are not that far from the Dead Sea while they are still in Jordan. We recommend that you visit the ancient city of Jerash or the mesmerising Petra for an unforgettable journey in Jordan.

If you are looking for a place to feel weightless in the middle of shores that are surrounded by millennia of rising and falling civilisations, the Dead Sea is it. In this article, we will give you an insider’s look at the natural beauty and historical sites that await you in the Dead Sea region, Jerash and Petra. 

The Dead Sea: Welcome to the Lowest Land Elevation on Earth!

The lowest land elevation on Earth is the shoreline of the Dead Sea, a saltwater lake in the Jordan Rift Valley. It is renowned for its extraordinary depth and high salinity, making it one of the saltiest bodies of water globally. The land around the Dead Sea’s shores lies at approximately 430 metres (1,411 feet) below sea level, making it Earth’s lowest elevation on land.

The distinctive geological and hydrological features of the region contribute to the Dead Sea’s unusual properties, attracting visitors from around the world to experience the buoyancy of its waters and the therapeutic qualities of its mineral-rich mud.

Floating in the Dead Sea & Mud Therapy

Visiting the Dead Sea is an otherworldly experience that transcends the ordinary. As you approach the shoreline, the air becomes heavy with the distinct scent of minerals. In the embrace of the Dead Sea, where salt kisses your skin, you will float effortlessly—suspended between Earth and sky. Too much for Archimedes’ theory, you would recall at this moment of weightlessness that you can only live in the Dead Sea.

Mud treatment in the Dead Sea is a renowned therapeutic experience that draws visitors from around the world. The Dead Sea’s mud is rich in minerals, including magnesium, calcium, and potassium, known for their therapeutic properties.

The mud is believed to have various health benefits, such as improving skin conditions, reducing inflammation, and promoting overall well-being. Visitors to the Dead Sea often immerse themselves in a unique spa experience by covering their bodies in this mineral-rich mud, letting the mud dry and then rinsing it off in the salty waters of the sea.

The high salt concentration in the Dead Sea provides a legendary buoyancy that enhances the overall relaxation and rejuvenation process. The sensation you get is really nothing short of magical. As you wade into the water, the distant mountains seem to dance on the horizon, creating such a picturesque backdrop and inviting you to explore the historical sites around this salty lake.

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Dead Sea – Mud Therapy

The Historical Sites Near the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea region in Jordan is a treasure trove of historical sites. Visitors can explore archaeological sites, marvel at ancient ruins, and experience the natural wonders of this unique landscape.  

The Ancient City of Jerash: A Hidden Gem of the Roman Empire      

Nestled amidst the rolling hills of northern Jordan near the shores of the Dead Sea, the ancient city of Jerash stands as a testament to the grandeur of Greco-Roman civilisation in the heart of the Middle East. Founded by Alexander the Great, Jerash has origins dating back to the Hellenistic period. It reached its zenith during the Roman Empire, flourishing as a thriving metropolis and key trading hub.

With its grand colonnades, towering temples, and well-preserved ruins, Jerash offers a glimpse into the prominence of the Roman Empire, earning it the well-deserved title of the “Pompeii of the Middle East”.

Known as Gerasa in ancient times, Jerash boasts an unbroken chain of occupation history dating back over 6,500 years. Its strategic location at the conjunction of trade routes made it a hub of commerce and cultural exchange. It attracted settlers from civilisations as diverse as the Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines.

In 63 BC, the Romans took control of the region, and it was then that Jerash experienced its golden age. The city’s prosperity was reflected in its magnificent architecture, which drew inspiration from both Roman and Greek styles. Today, its remarkably well-preserved ruins attract visitors from all over the world who come to marvel at the engineering prowess and artistic achievements of the Roman era. 

Walking through the city’s colonnaded street, one can almost imagine the hustle and bustle of daily life in Roman times. The city’s ruins have earned Jerash its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Preservation efforts have been remarkable, ensuring that Jerash remains a cherished legacy of the Roman Empire. Here are some of the landmarks that you must see when visiting Jerash. 


The Hadrianic Arch

One of Jerash’s most striking landmarks is the Hadrianic Arch— a towering gateway that once marked the city’s southern entrance. Its intricate carvings depict scenes of Roman mythology and imperial triumphs. It is a testament to the city’s status and the power of the Roman Empire.

The Oval Plaza: A Gathering Place for Ancient Romans

A vast elliptical courtyard surrounded by a colonnade of 56 columns constituted the Oval Plaza, which served as the city’s social and civic centre. With its central fountain, this place hosted numerous festivals, gatherings, and public spectacles. It was also the city’s commercial heart, where merchants from across the empire gathered to trade their wares.

The Temple of Artemis: A Sanctuary to the Goddess of Hunting & Fertility

Wandering further into the city, visitors are greeted by the imposing Temple of Artemis, which was built in dedication to the goddess of hunting and fertility. Its towering columns and ornate pediment stand as a reminder of the city’s deep-rooted pagan traditions.

Perched atop a hill with an excellent view of the city of Jerash, the Temple of Artemis showcases the architectural mastery of the ancient Romans.

The South and North Theatres  

One of the largest Roman theatres of the ancient world is the South Theatre in Jerash. It could accommodate up to 3,000 spectators and was used for various performances and events. The North Theatre, though more minor, is equally remarkable. Both theatres reflect the importance of cultural and entertainment activities in the daily life of the city.

Petra: The Rose City

Carved into the rose-red cliffs of southern Jordan, Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is renowned for its breathtaking beauty and historical significance. Known as the “Rose City” of Jordan, Petra served as the capital of the ancient Nabataean state, which dominated from the 3rd century BC to the 1st century AD.


Its intricate rock-cut architecture has made Petra one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. Its elaborate water system and well-preserved tombs and temples are also awe-inspiring.

It is nicknamed the “Rose City” due to the colour of the stone from which it is carved. The site, however, is most famous for Al Khazneh, or the Treasury, an intricate and grand structure that greets visitors as they pass through the narrow Siq, a dramatic gorge leading to the heart of Petra. 

At the end of this narrow canyon is the Street of Facades, a long colonnaded way lined with tombs, and the Monastery, a large temple complex located on a high hilltop. 

Surrounded by rugged desert landscapes and steep cliffs, Petra is not only an archaeological gem but also a destination that evokes a sense of wonder and awe as visitors explore the remnants of an ancient and sophisticated civilisation in a setting of unparalleled natural beauty. It is considered one of the new seven wonders of the world, and it is a popular destination for tourists from all over the globe. 

Telling the Story of Jordan’s Dead Sea, Jerash and Petra

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Dead Sea

There is more to this story that has yet to be told, but you still have an excellent chance to explore all the hidden treasures of the Dead Sea and the surrounding architectural beauty. It is an ideal destination for those seeking a truly memorable and diverse travel experience.

The juxtaposition of the ancient and the natural creates a captivating narrative that beckons visitors to delve into the depths of time. As we marvel at the salt-laden waters and explore the nearby archaeological sites, we are reminded that the Dead Sea is not merely a geographical landmark but a living repository of stories that have unfolded over millennia.

A visit to the Dead Sea will undoubtedly give you plenty of memorable moments and pictures. So don’t forget to share your good memories with us! 

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