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The Jordan Valley is part of the Great Rift Valley that runs from Turkey to east Africa, formed by a series of geological upheavals millions of years ago. The Dead Sea originally stretched the entire 360km from Aqaba, in the south, to Lake Tiberias (the Sea of Galilee) in the north.

The therapeutic water of the Dead Sea, combined with the valley’s fertile land and warm climate, have attracted people to live, hunt and farm in the area since the Stone Age. Over 200 archaeological sites have been discovered, but there are believed to be many more.

Many of the historical sites around the Dead Sea region are intrinsically linked with biblical events. For further information on these, visit the section on Religion and Faith.

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The Dead Sea is 80km (50 miles) long, approximately 14km (9 miles) wide. The northern and larger part is very deep, reaching at one point a depth of 430m (1320 feet). The southern bay is, on the contrary, very shallow, averaging hardly a depth of 4m (13 feet).