Masada is a majestically beautiful rugged natural fortress in the Judean Desert that overlooks the Dead Sea. Built as a palace complex by Herod the Great, it is the most complete Roman siege works surviving to this day. In addition to the sheer beauty of the place, Masada is also the setting of one of the most powerful and tragic stories in Jewish history.
The site was conquered by Jewish zealots at the beginning of the Great Revolt against Rome in the year 68 BCE and became their last stronghold. Four years later the Romans besieged Masada and a year later the 960 zealots chose to commit mass-suicide rather than to fall into the hands of the enemies.
The remains of the fortress have been impressively reconstructed and many historically-interesting structures have been preserved such as a large bath-house, ritual bath, the synagogue and many more, all of which relate the history of Masada.
Masada is extremely high and visitors can ascend by foot or by cable car from the tourist center at the bottom of Masada. A movie about the story of Masada, a model of the site and an exhibit of archaeological findings are all featured in the tourist center.
Those visiting the area simply cannot pass by this incredible experience and saga of courage, heroism and martyrdom left behind by the zealots.
Not to be missed;
• Herod's Western Palace- the western palace at Masada was Herod's official royal residency. The building is over 37,000 square feet and included royal apartments, bathrooms, a cold-water pool and a large reception hall that featured a stunning mosaic pavement.
• Herod's Northern Palace- Made up of three terraces, each fulfilling different purposes; the upper terrace was home to lavish living quarters with mosaic floors, frescoed walls and a balcony with breath-taking views; the middle terrace had two concentric rows of columns that created an ideal balcony for relaxation; the lower terrace, surrounded by low walls and columns with a roof between them, served as an open court. A bathroom on the eastern side of the lower terrace contained hot, warm and cold baths as well as mosaic floors. The walls that exist until this day that supported the lower terrace are testimony to the genius of Herod's engineers.
• The Masada Museum- opened in 2007; the museum showcases archaeological finds unearthed at the site by the expedition from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A theatrically- designed backdrop contains explanations of the findings that visitors hear through head-sets. Three-dimensional scenes, sculpted figures, architectural elements all conform with the real finds of the period.
Open Hours: April-September 08:00-17:00, October-March 08:00-16:00
Categories : Attractions