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Summer is officially here! That means it’s time for beach getaways, camping trips, amusement parks and barbecues. It also means it’s time for sweat, sunburns, and sweltering hot temperatures. Sure, a relaxing day at the beach has some appeal, but when you factor in temperatures of 85 F (29.4 C) or higher, that appeal tends to disappear pretty fast.

When we get stuck outside in that nasty summer heat, we’ll wish for any form of cooling—be it a breeze, a swim, or even a snow storm in July. While a snow storm isn’t really likely to happen, it may comfort you to know that despite how hot it is where you are, there are some places around the world that have it much worse. Sevilla, Spain has seen temperatures of 122 F (50 C) and Oodnadatta, Australia reached 123.3 F (50.72 C) at one point in time. While those temperatures are beyond unbearable, there are some places around the world with even hotter temperatures on record. Here are the top 5:


1. Dasht-e Lut, Iran (159 F/70.6 C)
Our number one spot takes us right back to the area we started in and it has definitely earned this spot. Dasht-e Lut (or the Lut Desert) beat Al ‘Aziziyah’s record by 23 degrees F not once, but twice—both in 2004 and 2005. This area is a salt desert and also the 25th largest desert in the world. Part of the area is covered with black volcano lava, which aids in the absorption of a lot of sunshine, thus keeping the temperature nice and hot. The eastern portion of Dasht-e Lut consists of a plateau with salt flats, as well as ravines and sinkholes; while the southeastern section has a lot of sand and some of the tallest dunes in the world (up to 1000 ft high). It’s been suggested that no living creature can be found anywhere in this desert and while that is up for speculation, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised. Could you tolerate temperatures up to 159 F? I didn’t think so.

After reading about these places, I’ll bet the beach doesn’t sound so bad in comparison, now does it? At any rate, the next time the summer heat starts to get to you, imagine yourself visiting one of these places instead. I’m sure in comparison you’ll start feeling cooler in your own climate in no time.



2. Al ’Aziziyah, Libya (136 F/57.8 C)
For the longest time, this place was considered the hottest on Earth. However, it wasn’t until recent years that another place knowingly beat this record—by a considerable amount, at that. Also referred to as El Azizia, this capital city is located in northwestern Libya. Surprisingly, Al ‘Aziziyah is actually a major trade center, despite the insanely hot temperatures. Not far from Tripoli, this city is home to over 300,000 people and while it may not necessarily be the hottest place on Earth anymore, it is at least the hottest place inhabited by the most people. Their long-held record breaking temperature was originally recorded on September 13, 1922.



3. Death Valley, California, USA (134 F/56.7 C)
Now, we are taking a (possibly) unexpected turn to the west and heading to the Mojave Desert of California, US. Death Valley is home to the lowest, driest, and hottest places in North America, although they are not all one in the same. The lowest place is the Badwater basin, located 282 ft (86 m) below sea level, but the hottest temperature was recorded at Furnace Creek. Death Valley sprawls near the border of California and Nevada; contains faults, salt pans, and a few water ways; and is home to a number of wildlife, including plants, birds and fish. The hottest temperature here was recorded on July 10, 1913. 



4. Rub’ Al Khali, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen (131 F/55 C)
Our second destination doesn’t take us too far from the first one. Known as the Empty Quarter in English, this is one of the largest sand deserts in the world and covers most of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula—or an area greater than the combined land of Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. Supposedly, it’s the second most oil-rich place in the world, but it’s also highly inhospitable. You may find plants here and there, or perhaps a rodent or arachnid, but don’t expect to find many people. Though, with summer temperatures that climb up to 131 F, I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to stick around.



5. Tirat Zvi, Israel (129 F/53.9 C)
The Hottest Places countdown starts with a religious kibbutz in the Beit She’an Valley of Israel. Located 721.8 ft (220 m) below sea level, this kibbutz is the largest date grower in Israel, operates a meat processing factory, and has a lulav (a closed frond of the date palm tree) business. Oh, and if you’ve no idea what a kibbutz is, it’s a collective community traditionally based on agriculture, though modern times have seen the addition of industrial and technological branches. Tirat Zvi achieved it’s hottest temperature on June 22, 1942.