As we descend 1,200 meters from Jerusalem through the wilderness of the Judean Desert to the Dead Sea. We pass over the Inn of the Good Samaritan and stop briefly at the “sea level” marker. In the distance we can see the oldest city in the world – Jericho.
Masada – Symbol of the Jewish people
National Park Masada – located in the Judean Desert not far from the shores of the Dead Sea and Ein Gedi Nature Reserve. Here was a great tragedy of antiquity. According to legend, 960 people committed suicide, but did not surrender, and did not become slaves of the Romans.Masada – the greatest drama of all humankind, which occurred two thousand years ago. But nowadays it still excites the minds and hearts of people.
As we ascend in the cable car, we look down at the Snake path which was used two thousand years ago when King Herod built this fortress like palace. In fact, there were two palaces, as well as a swimming pool and a well-preserved beautiful bath-house.
The fortress is located on top of Mount Masada in the Judean desert, and rises to 390 meters above the Dead Sea. Here, in the year 25 BC, King Herod the Great equipped a shelter for himself and his family, greatly strengthening and completing the place that existed there.
The fortress of Masada is surrounded on 4 sides by the sheer cliffs of the great Judean desert. It is possible for travelers to ascend to the fortress only along a narrow serpentine path, laid along an artificial embankment built by the Romans (in about 30 minutes).
The top of the rock is a flat plateau in the form of a trapezoid. dimensions of which are about 600 by 300 meters. The city walls with a total length of 1.4 kilometers and a thickness of 4 meters, and along the perimeter there are 37 towers.
Masada was a great fortified mountain fortress. King Herod did not forget to provide the northern castle with the main resource needed in the desert – water. In each of the 12 tanks found, there could be up to 1 million gallons of water. The complex system of dams and canals with the help of which tanks were filled up impresses.
The fortress now preserved the palace of King Herod, the synagogue, fragments of mosaics, water tanks cut into the rocks, cold and hot baths, and much more. The synagogue, proved conclusively to those who doubted that there were synagogues even while the Second Temple stood.
Dead Sea Relax
On our way back to Jerusalem we pass Ein Gedi oasis, where David hid from the wrath of King Saul and Qumran where the two thousand year old Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.
Finally we enjoy a therapeutic swim in the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, where the water is almost 35% salt and even those who cannot swim can float.