(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Two of the country's natural therapeutic sites have been featured on lists of the world's top 12 destinations in travel news reports.
Madaba's Maeen Hot Springs came second in a "12 hot springs worth travelling for" report published on the Fox News website, while the Dead Sea capped a list of 12 top destinations for winter sun, according to a report published at MSN Travel.
The Maeen Hot Springs, which came second after Canada's Banff Upper Hot Springs, was the only listed destination in the Arab world.
"With so many steamy spots to choose from in the world, we've narrowed our list down to natural hot, mineral and geothermal springs in historic, picturesque locations... Here are some of the prettiest places to jump in and say 'ahhh', " the report said.
Other destinations on the list are: San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, Blue Lagoon in Iceland, Budapest in Hungary, Bath in England, Arenal Hot Springs in Costa Rica, Dunton Hot Springs in Colorado, Saturnia in Italy, Hot Springs in Arkansas, Kusatsu in Japan and Yambajan in Tibet.
Locally referred to as Hammamat Maeen, the hot springs are located 264 metres below sea level and contain mineral-rich waters that are heated to temperatures of up to 63C by underground lava fissures, according to the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) website.
Referring to Maeen as a "spa with biblical roots", the Fox News report noted that "like those of their neighbour, the Dead Sea, the healing powers of these desert oasis springs are biblical: King Herod would travel here often for medical treatment and legend has it that Salome did her famous dance in his nearby villa. Since then, kings, queens and commoners of all types have come to enjoy the hot and cold springs, many of which tumble down from picturesque waterfalls".
Meanwhile, the Dead Sea topped a list of 12 choice destinations for winter sun, according to the MSN Travel report, which also included Palermo in Sicily, Marrakech in Morocco, Madeira in Portugal, the Gambia, Marseille in France, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, the Red Sea, Cyprus, Djerba in Tunisia and the Algarve in Portugal.
According to the report, which recommends 12 places that generally promise sunshine in winter and are within five hours flying time from the UK, the Dead Sea was recommended by Jill Starley-Grainger, editor of www.EcoLuxHotels.com.
"The midwinter air temperature around the Dead Sea is usually in the pleasant mid- to late teens, but its therapeutic waters are several degrees warmer, so you float away those stresses and strains in its healing, salty waters, underneath the bright sun," she wrote.
Situated over 400 metres below sea level, the lowest point on the face of the ?????Earth, the Dead Sea receives a number of incoming rivers, including the River Jordan. "Once the waters reach the Dead Sea they are land-locked and have nowhere to go, so they evaporate, leaving behind a dense, rich, cocktail of salts and minerals that supply industry, agriculture and medicine with some of its finest products," according to the JTB website.