A short account of Masada, given by your Israel & Jerusalem private tour guide]
There are very good reasons why UNESCO designated Masada as a World Heritage Site. Its location and the amazing view of the Judean desert and Dead Sea, its uniqueness as a mountain and fortress, and above all – its two unbelievable stories: the story of its construction and the story of its end.
click on all the photos to open them up
The first story
In 37 BCE, after fighting a very long, bloody war against his people, King Herod (later known as King Herod the Great) began his rule. He knew that he was hated so deeply for who he was and what he did. Therefore, he took several measures to prevent any revolt. However, if a successful revolt was to happen, and he was forced to run for his life, he needed to have a place that would protect him until he could be saved by his benefactors, the Romans. He chose an ideal place by the Dead Sea for this end – Masada.
What we are going to witness is the way this large complex was designed in the most perfect way to protect Herod: the walls and towers, a huge water system, a complex of store rooms for food and arms, an army base, a bath house – and above all, the most remote and highly defensible spot – his private palace, seemingly hanging on the rocks.
The second story
At the beginning of the Great Revolt against the Romans (66-70 CE), a group of Jewish zealots captured the mountain and settled on it. Toward the end of the revolt, hundreds of refugees, whole families, joined the zealots on the mountain. For a few years, even after the Temple was destroyed, the zealots stayed atop the mountain, adapting the facilities to their special needs. The second story is about this special group and their final battle. In this story, we will not avoid the very difficult questions arising from it.
Our 3-3 ½ - hour tour will include:
Watching a short video about the story of Masada.
Taking the cable car up the mountain or getting to the top of the mountain by climbing it on foot (a 50-60-minute climb) before dawn, and watching sunrise from the mountain.
Exploring the central and northern parts of the mountain, seeing all of the facilities, and hearing the two stories.