Visit Masada National Park
There are three ways to reach Masada: If you're on the east side, you can either take the cable car (which is about a one minute ride up the side of the cliff in a very roomy, comfortable cable car); or you can hoof it up the side of the cliff following the Snake Path. The Snake Path is a fairly easy hike that should take the average person a little less than one hour to reach the top of Masada where the ruins are.
The western route passes the town of Arad and follows the ramp up to the top of the mountain. This climb averages about 20-25 minutes.
Once you're on top of the mountain, you'll behold a vast array of ruins, all telling a part of the story. Be sure to grab a pamphlet when you buy your entrance ticket (around $10 USD). Unless you have someone like Martin with you, you'll have no choice but to rely on the map provided in the pamphlet.
Be sure to bring water - it gets hot in the desert!!
You can see in this photograph what are supposedly the remains of the Roman encampments while they besieged Masada. There were about 15,000 Roman soldiers and numerous slaves envolved in the siege. The Romans were under the command of Flavius Silva.
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
Michele (jadedmuse) visits Masada
We took Michele (jadedmuse) and David to visit what may be the most famous site in Israel after the Western Wall (wailing wall) in Jerusalem.
The first picture shows Michele (very pregnant) taking one of many photos on Masada.
The second picture shows us on the stairs that descend into the largest of the many cisterns used to store water to sustain this fortress in the waterless desert.
The last picture is David taking a drink from a slightly smaller cistern provided for cool water while walking around in this extremely HOT area. Remember we are at the edge of the Dead Sea, the lowest place on the surface of the earth at 400 meters below sea level...it is hot.
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
The Oldest Synagogue in the World
This is a hall surrounded by stone benches and structurally connected with the casemate wall. Everything below the black line is original, above the line is a reconstruction. Beneath its floor, in the northwestern corner, fragments of Deuteronomy and Ezekiel have been found.
Because this was a resort - palace built for Herod there are many luxurious amenities that are quite astounding. There is a large pool built by Herod and intended as a swimming pool, the water cistern hewn during Herod's time, an upper terrace, a bathhouse on the roof and other living levels of the Palace.
Massada From the dead Sea
This is a Photo that was taken from Road 90 which sis the road that goes all the way of the dead sea coast. Thats how the mount oh Massada looks from the road.
This photo was taken by Martin.s. Thanks !
- Hiking and Walking
- Historical Travel
They are long narrow rooms build next to the bath house by Herod.
Each storeroom held its own type of jars: oil, wine, flour ...
They found some empty and other with rest, that showed that the Zelotes could have been resisting a few more years.
See the Roman Camps
This picture is from the top of Masada so it is difficult to see anything clearly. However, this is a view of the Roman Camp and the Roman ramp. Following the tragic death of Masada's defenders, the fortress fell into Roman hands and was occupied by them for several years.
The Snake Path
While most tourists choose to take the lift up to the top of Masada there are other that choose to hike to the top via the snake path. While it may not be as fast as taking the lift the snake path is a great way to appreciate the beauty and magnificence of Masada. With the Negev desert and the Dead Sea as a back drop to the hike up to the top it adds even more to the experience of visiting Masada. The hike takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get to the top and less time going down. The path is easy to navigate and there are plenty of places to sit and rest and take in the panoramic views. Plus hiking the snake path is far cheaper than taking the lift so save some money and have your camera ready for all the scenic views on the way up!
The Roman Ramp
One of the most interesting and historically relevant things to see while at Masada is the Roman Ramp. While Masada at first looks like an impossible fortress to attack the Romans chose an excellent place to mount an attack on the Arad side of Masada. The Roman Ramp is a naturally formed dirt ramp that slopes up to the top and it was here that the Romans made their successful siege to put down the Jewish rebellion. Standing on the top of Masada looking down the ramp it is easy to imagine thousands of Roman soldiers making their victorious charge. Don't miss a chance to see a part of history during your visit to Masada.
"Masada shall not fall again"
Masada is a rugged natural fortress, of majestic beauty, in the Judaean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea. It is a symbol of the ancient kingdom of Israel, its violent destruction and the last days of Jewish patriots in the face of the Roman army, in 73 A.D.It was built as a palace complex, by Herod the Great, who reigned from 37-4B.C.
Masada today is one of the Jewish people's greatest symbols. Israeli soldiers take an oath there: "Masada shall not fall again." Next to Jerusalem, it is the most popular destination of tourists visiting Israel.
After Rome destroyed Jerusalem and the Second Temple in 70, the Great Revolt ended-except for the surviving Zealots, who fled Jerusalem to the fortress of Masada, near the Dead Sea. There, they were besieged by the Romans for three years.Once it became apparent that the Roman's would soon succeed, the Zealots’ leader decided that all the Jewish defenders should commit suicide.Then the men killed their wives and children, and then each other.
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Dead Sea beach at Ein Gedi
The Bible records that 3,000 years ago David hid from King Saul at Ein Gedi. When David surprised the King and spared his life after finding him unarmed, Saul said David would succeed him on the throne.Located on the Dead Sea's western shore, Ein Gedi ("spring of the goat") is a desert oasis with waterfalls, pools of water and two large streams. It is a hiker's paradise with beautiful foliage, exotic birds and a range of wildlife, including rabbits, deer, ibex and leopards (don't worry, you're not likely to run into any).
Ein Gedi served as a water source during biblical times (Joshua 15:62, I Samuel 24:1-2). The spring begins to flow 656 feet above the Dead Sea. About a half-hour's hike will take you to a waterfall and pool. Another trail leads to Shulamit Spring, the top of the falls and the Dodim Cave. Further along are the ruins of a Chalcolithic sanctuary believed to be from the year 4,000 B.C.E. From atop the trail it is possible to get a spectacular view of the Dead Sea, the mountains of Moab and Kibbutz Ein Gedi.The oasis is known for its thriving date palms, which are the principal crop of nearby Kibbutz Ein Gedi. The Kibbutz also owns a spa further south where you can take a hot mineral bath and coat yourself in Dead Sea mud. A camp site is also situated near the Dead Sea beach
Place of the last Jewish Revolt against Romans
After the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the second temple( 70AD), the last of Jews from the " great revolt" fled to Masada( they were called the Zealots). They stayed here on top of the great mountain of Masada for 3 years. The Romans came and the Zealots could see them building their camps( which are still there by the way, some remains). The Zealots realized that it was only a matter of time that the Romans conquered Masada, so the leader of the Zealots( his name was Elazar) decided on mass suicide because the alternative once the Romans prevailed would be slavery for the men, prostitution or some other terrible life for women, if they survived. He made this speech "Since we long ago resolved never to be servants to the Romans, nor to any other than to God Himself, Who alone is the true and just Lord of mankind, the time is now come that obliges us to make that resolution true in practice.... We were the very first that revolted [against Rome], and we are the last that fight against them; and I cannot but esteem it as a favor that God has granted us, that it is still in our power to die bravely, and in a state of freedom.Let our wives die before they are abused, and our children before they have tasted of slavery, and after we have slain them, let us bestow that glorious benefit upon one another mutually." Elazar ordered that all the Jews' possessions except food be destroyed, for "[the food] will be a testimonial when we are dead that we were not subdued for want of necessities; but that, according to our original resolution, we have preferred death before slavery." And so the men killed the women and the children and the last man died with a sword to his heart. So when the Romans reached Masada, all were dead. To this day, Israeli soldiers take an oath at Masada to never allow Masada to fall again.
Swimming + Mud Packs in the Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth 417 meters (1,373 feet) below sea level. and the largest "Natural Spa" in the world. Everybody can float in its waters. See photos.The area is famous for its black mineral mud, which people cover themselves with. The sun shines in this area on average 330 days of the year. It is a very popular place for Israelis, all over the year.
We came to this part of the sea from Massada, which is a short way away.
Masada archeological site
For me (as a visitor) Masada is impressive mainly because of its location and not because of any sentimental connection I guess jews have. It's a breathtaking rock plateau overlooking the Dead Sea with steep cliffs that used to house the ancient fortification. Don’t forget to take a hat, sunscreen and water bottle with you as the sun was a killer up there and we had to walk in open air for too long with no shade around. So have your camera read not only for the ruins around but also for the amazing view of the Dead Sea.
Herod the Great built a huge palace for him and fortified the place between 37 and 31 BC but after the first Jewish-Roman War (66-73AD) the Siege of Masada by romans (73AD) led to the mass suicide of 960 people (rebels and their families). These tragic events became the symbol of the struggle fight for freedom against oppression.
Unfortunately in most ruins the signs were very simple so a guidebook will add much more to the experience as you walk around or buy one at the Visitors Center. It wasn’t just the palace but also a bathhouse, storage buildings, gigantic cisterns to collect flood water etc I spent about an hour up there and loved it but then I started to feel excausted because of the heat.
The park is open one hour before sunrise but if you want to use the cable car you can do it after 8.00am.
Entrance fee for the Eastern (Dead Sea) side is 76nis (including cable-car two ways) or 58nis (including one way cable car)
if you take the snake path the entrance fee is 29nis
the cable car one way costs 29nis, roundtrip 47nis, we took this one because the park entrance fee was included in our pass
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel
Masada museum, video and Light Show
Unfortunately the Masada Museum (where the Visitors Center is) was closed and couldn’t check inside and see the archaeological findings.
But before we take the cable car we watched a nice 10’ long video about Masada which sets you nicely into the history of the place and its tragic final events when the Jewish defenders decided to commit suicide(first killed their wives and children, and then each other).
I’ve read that every Tuesday and Thursday (from march to October) a Sound and Light show takes place at 21.00 (September/October at 20.00), we were there in the morning so we didn't see it.
- Museum Visits