Masada, historical Fortress in the South of Israel

It is end of March 2017 when we do our trip to Israel , especially to Jerusalem and then drive southwards along the Dead Sea to pass then the borderline to Jordan at Eylat – Akabe to drive to Wadi Rum Desert . One of our stops downwards is the Masada Nationalpark which plays a major role in the Hebrew History .

In the morning we leave Jerusalem – a gorgeous ancient city that we are impressed of – city of the 3 world religions – The Judaism , Christianity and the Islam . First we drive to Jericho which is about 25 km east of Jerusalem . Jericho is famous as the Mount of Temptation as it is called in the Bible is located here – it is said to be the place where Jesus was tempted by the devil 3 times to show his supernatural abilities and energy but Jesus refused .After his refusal angels came to Jesus and brought him food as he was fastening. Today there is the monastery on top of the hill half way to Mount Temptation.

Today there is a monastery that was built in the early Christian times – at the beginning the monks were living here in the caves of the mountains but later they built cells , chapels and storage rooms into the rocks .

When leaving we just take leave of the little camel that is standing on the road – she is unexpectedly wild but at the end we succeed to be friends with each other .

It was just a quick stop here as our main destination today is the famous Masada National Park .

We drive southwards along the Dead Sea coastline , though it is just March the weather is warm , spring-like , the sky is clear .

After having had some unforgettable days in Jerusalem we are sitting in our bus , watching the environment and just let the impressions of Jerusalem sink and looking forward to see new locations in the next days .

The geography here is really different , on the one hand we observe the deserts around , the vegetation is very limited and the dead sea is on our the left side having a beautiful light blue color.

The Dead Sea is actually a huge lake that is located 400 m below sea level and is today one of the most saltest seas in the world . It is nearly 10 tomes more salty then the ocean which makes it impossible for plants or animals to live here and this is why it is called the Dead Sea . It is that salty that it is also impossible to swim – if you enter the water it is more a kind of floating on the surface of the water . One need to be careful not to stay too long in the water especially if you have hypertension as the high salt effects the body as the body is inhaling the salt .

The Dead Sea is famous for its cosmetic products which are made of the mud of the Sea as well as health and holiday resorts .

In the past the mud of the Sea was also used for the Mummification processes in Egypt .

Finally we arrive at Masada National Park which is a Unesco World Heritage since 2001 in the Eastern Part of the Judean Desert . We are leaving our bus , it is hot and we see the cliffs where Masada is located at – around 400 m high . There is a path that you might use to walk up the rocky hill which is called the Snake Path of Masada .

It is an iconic pathway as you have a beautiful look around and a gorgeous view to the Dead Sea which is in a distance of about 20 km .On the other hand it is a historical way that leads to the historical ruins of the ancient city .

As it is very hot and we are short in time we decide to take the cable car to go up .

Finally we arrive at the top – the view and the energy of the location is amazing .

Along the cable car station there is road that leads directly into the historical site .

First Masada was a fortress built by the Romans , by Herodot the Great in 37 BC and they stayed here till 31 BC . The fortess consisted of 2 Roman palaces , the northern and the western palace , a casemate wall , cisterns to store the rainwater , some Roman bath and swimming pool , some barracks , gates , a synagogue and a byzanthine church .

Under the intensive sun we walk through the site and admire the ancient historical city and wonder how people were living here – far away from any civilization in mid of the desert in an environment that is really dazzling you and blending your eyes as the sunshine is being reflected on the stones . It is very dry and hot.

In 66 CE actually Masada is going to be sieged by a group of Jewish rebels who are overrunning the Roman battalion . It was then in 73 or 74 CE when the Roman Governor Lucius Flavius Silver attacked the settlement .

Approx 960 Jewish people were living here in those days and it was found out that the leader of these Jewish rebels hold 2 speeches to convince his folks to commit suicide and not to surrender to the Roman groups .

The people followed their leader” s advise and killed themselves . They refused to surrender and to become war slaves of the Roman Empire but choose their “freedom “.

Out of 960 people just 2 women and 5 kids were found alive .

This mass suicide of the Jewish rebels and their courage in this first Roman – Jewish War became a symbol of Jewish Cultural identity and Freedom .

While we walk around I think of this dramatic event that took place at this marvellous plateau in the rocky mountains of the Judean desert and let me realize once again how rich we are when we are FREE and how high the price can be to get your freedom back again …

It took us about 2 hours to walk around the whole site .

We are impressed and tired and just walk back again to the cable car station and have a last marvellous view from this height to the Dead Sea and looking for the next stops on our drive to the South of Israel and then to Jordan where we will stay in Wadi Rum and will also visit the red rose ancient city of Petra .

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