The Dead Sea is a salt lake bordering Israel and the West Bank to the west, and Jordan to the east. Its surface and shores are 422 metres (1,385 ft) below sea level, the lowest elevation on the Earth’s surface on dry land. The Dead Sea is 378 m (1,240 ft) deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. It is also one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water, with 33.7% salinity. Only Lake Assal (Djibouti), Garabogazköl and some hypersaline lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica (such as Don Juan Pond) have a higher salinity. It is 8.6 times more salty than the ocean. This salinity makes for a harsh environment where animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea is 67 kilometres (42 mi) long and 18 kilometres (11 mi) wide at its widest point. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River.
The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. Biblically, it was a place of refuge for King David. It was one of the world’s first health resorts (for Herod the Great), and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from balms for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizers. People also use the salt and the minerals from the Dead Sea to create cosmetics and herbal sachets.
The sea has a density of 1.24kg/L, making swimming difficult.