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May 10, 2013 11:48 am

Argentinian Resort That Reminded Local Jews of the Dead Sea Sees New Life

avatar by Zach Pontz

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Ruins of Epecuén. Photo: Wikipedia.

A town in Argentina once popular with the country’s Jewish community has begun to re-emerge—literally.

Epecuen was once a bustling little lakeside resort, where 1,500 people served 20,000 tourists a season. Its saltwater lake was particularly attractive because it has 10 times more salt than the ocean, making the water buoyant. Tourists, especially people from Buenos Aires’ large Jewish community, enjoyed floating in water that reminded them of the Dead Sea.

Then following a particularly heavy rainstorm and a series of wet winters, water burst through a retaining wall and spilled into the lakeside streets. Within days the town was submerged under nearly 33 feet of corrosive saltwater.

The waters have now mostly receded, and the town has become a destination for the curious rather than the pleasure seeker.

“Whoever passes nearby cannot go without coming to visit here,” Pablo Novak, who still lives on the edge of town, told The Associated Press. “It’s getting more people to the area, as they come to see the ruins.”

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