The following is an account of this interesting locality, taken from Budeker's Syria, p. 303.
"A ride of about three hours to the north, over a hilly country, avoiding the Wadi Zeghara, a short and deep gully, brings the traveller to the brink of the deep valley of the Zerka Mdin, in the region of Callirrhoe. From this terrace to the bed of the brook the road descends eight hundred and seventy-six feet. The bottom and sides of the ravine are covered with a luxuriant growth of plants, including palm-trees, and will interest botanists. The flora resembles that of southern Arabia and :Nubia. At the bottom of the valley is .seen red sandstone, overlaid with limestone and basalt (to the south). The ravine has been formed by the action of a powerful stream.. Within a distance of three miles a number of hot springs issue from the side-valleys, all of them containing more or less lime, and all rising in the line where the sandstone and limestone come in contact. The hottest of these springs, which send forth clouds of steam and largely deposit their mineral ingredients, has a .temperature of 142° Fahr. The Arabs say that these springs were called forth by a .servant of king Solomon, and they still use them for sanitary purposes. In ancient times they were in great repute, and Herod the Great visited them in his last illness." The following more minute description of the springs is from Ridgaway's Lord's Land, p. 408 sq.
"On reaching the valley I put my hand into a small stream gushing from the hill, and had to withdraw" it instantly. One of the horses got into it, and jumped out very quickly. Riding down about half a mile, we met a large stream, two yards wide and two or three feet deep, of hot sulphur water. Rushingon, it leaps over a large boulder, forming quite a fall, and dashing and leaping for one hundred yards in a succession of cascades, it fills the main valley. Below this, by the hill on the right, we found evidences where baths had existed. Holes through which sulphur was escaping formed the crude baths of the Bedouin. Farther still, a beautiful fountain, so divided by impeding rocks as to make a dozen little fountains, bursts from the mountain, creating a reservoir of hot water, which, losing itself under an enormous sulphur crust, descends about one hundred feet, when it, too, finds the lower level of the wady. Some of these waters are 130' Fahr. As to their number, instead of saying there are six or eight, it is nearer the fact to regard the whole bed of the valley on the north for about a mile one continuous hot sulphur spring.
"In addition to the medicinal quality of the waters, the temperature of the valley in autumn, winter, and spring is delightful; while for scenery, in the fantastic blendings of basalt, limestone, and sandstone, the exquisite forms of the sulphur crystallizations, following in their outlines twigs, reeds, and roots, on which the volatile salts have chanced to fasten, the fragrance and colorings of oleanders, junipers, and flowering shrubs, and the flight and songs of various birds, there is everything to charm.
"Our bath that day was most delicious. In the main stream we lay rolling like pigs from the cold water to the hot water, and from the hot to the cold, and-where the hot and cold mix at the most agreeable point. Indeed, so exactly does the cold and hot water divide in the stream that the body can lie partly in the one and partly in the other at the same moment. As the waters flow along, the moss grows luxuriantly where the cold water runs, and not a vestige of green appears under the warm water. The line of verdure is as sharp as if cut by a knife."