During your next weekend at the Dead Sea, if you get the itch to venture out beyond the pool, mud, and relaxation, you could consider taking a few hours to check out some of the local sites: Lot’s Cave and Monastery as well as the Museum at the Lowest Point on Earth. Both of these can be found just south of the Dead Sea hotels. Hop back on the Dead Sea Road (Route 65), and just keep on heading down, about an hour or so. Along the way, you’ll come to the end of the Dead Sea, you’ll pass signs for Al Karak Castle and Shobak Castle (both great side trips, too), and eventually you will see signs for Lot’s Cave (or “Lut’s Cave”). (The Google coordinates are: 31°2'48"N 35°30'14"E.)
At some point, you will come to a brown sign that says “Museum at the Lowest Point on Earth, Site of Prophet Lot’s Cave, 300m.” Once you see this, stay alert. There will be a road off to the left, with no indication that it’s where you should turn. Turn here. There is a large stone painting on the corner. Follow this road until you come to a modern-looking rounded building on your left. This is the Museum at the Lowest Point on Earth (the sign for it conveniently faces the other way).
The museum itself is a small but well-labeled collection of findings uncovered during various excavations. It’s a relatively new museum, having opened in May 2012, and when we were there we had the place to ourselves. It had a nice display of mosaics and how they try to conserve them; an exhibit on some textiles that date back over 1,900 years; and even a mummy on display dating back to the 3rd century AD. It also has a small shop with items made from a local women’s cooperative, as well as decent public toilets. And its parking lot had some shade, offering the perfect spot for a car picnic.
I will spare you the circular annoyances we went through in finding Lot’s Cave from here. It’s right behind it. You will literally follow the road that leads up the hill behind the museum. Halfway up, you can park your car. From here, it’s a climb equivalent to about 19 flights of stairs. But it’s doable, even for those strapped down with babies or with wiggly toddlers (or both). However, please note that as of Spring 2015, Lot’s Cave was undergoing significant renovation. Meaning, after the hike up, we got to the top and basically got a view of girders and wooden planks. Not much to see and no where to go. However, the view of the surrounding area was excellent.
Had we been able to see anything beyond the restoration, we would have learned that the actual cave dates back to the Bronze Age (3300-2000 BC), and it’s now located within the ruins of a Byzantine church, dating between the 5th and 8th centuries; impressive factoids, even without any visual confirmation.
On your way back, if you feel like you want to cross one more thing off your Jordan-bucket list, you will see signs for the “panorama” off to your right. It’s a windy set of switch-backs going up and up, but along the way there are pull-offs for some pretty spectacular views of the Dead Sea, Israel and surrounding landscapes. You can catch this on the way down, or save it for the way back.
None of these sites will make or break your time in Jordan, but sometimes it’s nice to just to get out and drag the kids somewhere new. And not to color your decision, but as I recently told my husband, “Sometimes you read a travel article to decide where not to go.” On the other hand, these are perfect "all about the journey" destinations, which you can never have enough of.