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Lido Beach and Kalia on the Dead Sea

On the southern shore of the Dead Sea you will find chemical industry and tourism. However the northern shore of the Dead Sea is all history, nature and geology. As my Dad used to say, “Let’s go ‘xplorin’!”

Panorama from Lido Beach, Dead Sea, Israel

When you arrive, get out of the car and take a good look at the surroundings. It would be a good idea to have a map with you. Lay you map on the ground with north in the correct direction. Jerusalem, the mountain ridge and the Judaean Desert are on your left. The Dead Sea, Ein Gedi and Masada are in back of you to the south. The Kingdom of Jordan to the right. The Jordan valley in front of you. This is what it looks like:-

Rujum al Bachar

This is a small peninsula on the northern shore of the Dead Sea with remains of a dry dock, a tower and settlement from various periods of antiquity. From the archaeological finds we learn how great changes in the sea level of the Dead Sea were caused by changes in climate. When the sea level rose the Rujum al Bachar site became an island and when the sea level fell it became a small port.

 

Rujum al Bachar
Rujum al Bachar

Kalia Hotel

In the 1940’s during the British Mandate in Palestine, a Jewish tourist enterprise built the Kalia Hotel. Kalia stands for the Hebrew initials of “Kam Letechia Yam Hamelech” or “the Dead Sea is Alive”.The name Kalya is derived from kalium, the Latin name for potassium, a chemical found in abundance in the region. The hotel was the first project of architect Zeev Rechter, who later designed Binyanei Ha’Uma and Heichal HaTarbut. The mythical Kalia Hotel was two kms south of the Lido Interchange. Ben Gurion was in the Kalia Hotel on November 29, 1947, when the United Nations decided to divide the British Mandate in Palestine into two states – Jewish and Arab.

Round Restaurant at the End of the World

On Lido Beach at North West shore of the Dead Sea, close to the Lido Interchange stood the Montazat al Lido Restaurant which served the Jordanian elite between the Israeli War of Independence and and the Six Day War. Guests arrived by boat, climbing the various sets of stairs, built and rebuilt as the Dead Sea receded. The restaurant is now abandoned and destroyed. An IDF reservist, Gershon Kochavi, found the free time in March 1973 during his reserve service to copy the entire Peutinger Table Map on the walls of the restaurant dining room. The Peutinger Table is an illustrated road map showing the road network in the  Roman Empire. You can see it below:-

Mandatory British Police Station

The mandatory government built this police station on the norther shore of the Dead Sea to protect Kibbutz Kalia and the Palestine Potash Company plant from Arab terrorists.

Mandatory British Police Station
Mandatory British Police Station

Palestine Potash Company

Moshe Novomeysky, a Jewish engineer from Siberia, won the British government tender for potash mining on the Dead Sea’s northern shore, the marshland surrounding the plant was drained and housing was built to accommodate employees of the Palestine Potash Company. Managers’ families lived in a small settlement on the factory site. The company, chartered in 1929, set up its first plant on the north shore of the Dead Sea at Kalya and produced potash, or potassium chloride, by solar evaporation of the brine.The plant at the northern end of the Dead Sea was occupied and destroyed by the Jordanian Legion in 1948, but was reestablished, by the Israeli government, in the 1950’s as the Dead Sea Works.

Palestinian Salt Works

Unique in culinary arts this small Palestinian factory produces of all things – flavored salt. A Palestinian factory called West Bank Salt Works, branched off of a British-Jordanian potash company and has been harvesting salt from the northern Dead Sea since 1964, selling it to the local Arab market in the Palestinian Territories and neighboring states.

Read about Kibbutz Kalia on the Dead Sea

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