THE OLDEST, LOWEST, LARGEST AND MORE ...

This area lays claim to quite a few world records, read on to see exactly how.


 

World record for the lowest

Starting with the lowest place on earth, right here, we are breaking a world record that is unquestionably the Dead Sea.  The pronouncement that the Dead Sea is the place that holds for decades has held this title – the lowest place under the sun – was set by the British as early as the mid-19th century.

It was in the summer of 1864, when a delegation from the British Royal Corps of Engineers embarked on a survey of the Holy Land.  The delegation was headed by a number of distinguished people, including two especially known to the Jerusalem and Palestine enthusiast – two British officers with the first name Charles – Charles Wilson and Charles Warren.

The official goal of the British delegation was altitude measurements to improve sanitation conditions and water problems in Jerusalem that was then under the Ottoman rule.  The members of the expedition decided to determine the height of the Dead Sea which even then they thought was the lowest place in the world.  Many other delegations had preceded them but they all came up with different measurements.

After two difficult and exhausting years, during which the delegation crossed the line between Jaffa - Ramla - Jerusalem - the Dead Sea, the delegation reached the correct conclusion - the Dead Sea is the lowest place in the world, and its height was then set at 396 meters below the Jaffa port.

Photo Avishag Ayalo

And if we have already found the lowest place in the world, it can be concluded from this that the world's lowest city is Jericho, which boasts another honourable title - one of the world's oldest settlements.

And if we have already fallen so low, it is clear that Ein Gedi is the lowest kibbutz in the world and that the cable car at Masada is the lowest ariel tramway in the world! 

Masada cable car 1

And finally - if we want to continue to exaggerate, then Route 90, running alongside the shores of the Dead Sea, is the world's lowest road, which, by the way, holds the distinguished Israeli record as the longest road in the country – from Metula to Eilat

World record for the most

Another world record that is completely ours - about half a billion (would love to know who actually counted them) migratory birds, passing the skies every year on their way from Europe to Africa - and vice versa. No less than 400 different species visit here each year.

Among the migratory birds, 90 species - called stable species - remain here in Israel for the rest of the season before returning to their homes. In addition, 140 species pass through our country for only a few days a year.

Bathing birds at Nachal David

The largest, oldest ….

Masada. There are several theories that mass suicide in Masada did not happen at all, or alternatively that the findings in the field did not quite match the written story. If we rely on Josephus Flavius, 960 people found their own deaths somewhere in 73 AD, when the Romans invaded the mountain top.

And Josephus was accurate in his remarks, although not at all in the field, it is the largest (documented) mass suicide in history.

Nine synagogues have been found since the Second Temple period. One of these nine was a discovery in the area of Hasmonean palaces in Jericho, which is also the oldest

 

And out of respect for the rest of the country

The phrase ‘salt of the earth’ originated in the New Testament and was said by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, making it really quite old.

Dead Sea credit Adi Landau

Credit for photos of Masada + Cable Car; Avishag Ayalon


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