Photo by Garo Nalbandian

ON THE COVER: Glistening “salt swamps” at the southern end of Israel’s Dead Sea have been created as upstream dams on the Jordan and Yarmuk Rivers lower the briny sea’s water level. Although forbidding-looking, the crystalline salty formations are a major attraction for tourists who travel to the Dead Sea shores to bathe and to bask—often unaware that they sit on the edge of a biblical stage (see Bible Lands).