Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia
All these useful works were placed in a setting of beauty. White structures gleamed out of green gardens upon the terraced slopes on both sides of the river. Marble villas towered above the level of the travelers' vision. The marble was brought from quarries not far away-near the Dead Sea. One pleasant surprise after another revealed itself to Kingscourt and Friedrich as they drove along. When they approached the beautiful town of Jericho, even the critical Kingscourt became speechless at sight of the many beautiful hotels, mansions and villas nestling within tropical plantations and clumps of palm trees. He had never imagined it to be so enchanting a health resort. Now he asked that they drive down directly to the Dead Sea before stopping at their hotel. Fortunately for him Fritzchen had fallen asleep, or "Otto" would not have been allowed such separatist notions. The ladies alighted at the hotel with the child, and the others drove down the short distance to the valley where the Dead Sea was spread out like a deep blue mirror. Their ears were assailed by a roaring-the thunder of the Canal waters, led hither through tunnels from the Mediterranean, rushing down to the depths.
David briefly explained the plan of the works. The Dead Sea, as everyone knew, was the lowest point on the earth's surface, lying three hundred and ninety-four meters below the level of the Mediterranean. To convert this tremendous difference in levels into a source of power was the simplest idea in the world. There was a loss of only eighty-odd meters in the course of the Canal from the coast to the Dead Sea. There still remained, therefore, a net difference of over three hundred feet. The Canal, which was ten meters wide and three deep, provided about 50,000 horsepower.
Kingscourt would by no means admit surprise. "Even in my time," said he, "the power station at Niagara Falls provided 40,000 horse-power."
"But," retorted David, "the Dead Sea Canal cannot be compared with the Niagara Falls. Even though the Falls are only fifty meters high, there are millions of horsepower there because of the enormous amount of water. But we are quite satisfied with the total of 500,000 horsepower that we produce at the various power stations in the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea Canal."
"Quite right, highly esteemed water-power artist," admitted the old man. "But there's one thing I don't understand. Much more water now flows into the Dead Sea basin than before, but it still has no outlet. Is the evaporation greater now?"
"Not a bad question," remarked the Professor. "Only you must realize, gentlemen, that we draw as much water out of the Dead Sea as we pour into it. We take great quantities of fresh water from it, which are pumped into reservoirs and used for irrigation in areas where water is as necessary as it is superfluous here. Understand?"
"Of course I understand!" shouted Kingscourt, and this once his shouting was pardonable because they stood by the roaring waterfall. "You're damned sly fellows, I must admit!"
And now they were in front of the power station. While driving down from Jericho, they had not been able to get a full view of the Dead Sea. Now they saw it lying broad and blue in the sun" no smaller than the Lake of Geneva. On the northern shore, near where they stood, was a narrow, pointed strip of land extending behind the rocks over which the waters of the Canal came thundering down. Below were the turbine sheds; above, extensive factory buildings. There were, in fact, as far as the eye could reach around the shore, numerous large manufacturing plants. The water power at source had attracted many industries; the Canal had stirred the Dead Sea to life. The iron tubes through which the waters of the Canal beat down upon the turbine wheels reminded Kingscourt of the apparatus at Niagara. There were some twenty of these mighty iron tubes at the Dead Sea, jutting out from the rocks at equal distances. They were set vertically upon the turbine sheds, resembling fantastic chimneys. The roaring from the tubes and the white foam on the outflowing waters bore witness to a mighty work.
They stepped into one of the turbine sheds. Friedrich was overwhelmed by the immensity of the power development shown him, but Kingscourt seemed quite at his ease in the tumult of this industrial apparatus. With all his might he screamed comments no one could possibly hear; but they could see from his face that for once he was wholly satisfied. It really was a magnificent, Cyclopean sight as the waters crashed down upon the huge bronze spokes of the turbine wheels and drove them to furious turnings.
From here the tamed natural forces were conducted into electric generators, and the current sent along wires throughout all parts of the country. The "Old-New-Land" had been fructified into a garden and a home for people who had once been poor, weak, hopeless, and homeless.
"I feel myself crushed by all this greatness," sighed Friedrich, when at last he could speak.
"Not we," responded David earnestly. "We have not been crushed by the greatness of these forces-it has lifted us up!"
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