Our main reason for this trip was to see Masada Fortress. Masada fortress overlooks the Dead Sea from atop a huge rock plateau, who’s all sides are massive cliffs. From what people told me and from what I read this is the popular belief of what happened there.
During 73-74 CE the fortress was under siege by the Romans. It was the first Jewish-Roman War and the fortress was one of, if not the last place not yet overtaken by the Romans. Because of the Fortresses clever geographical location there was no way to reach the fortress with a group of troops. So over the course of a few months and using Jewish slaves, the Romans built a ramp. Once the ramp was complete and certain doom was at Masada’s door, the Jewish Zealots (the group living at Masada) performed a mass suicide. They believed it was God’s will that they should kill themselves to preserve their honor. I also read that suicide was forbidden by their religion so they all killed each other and only the last man had to commit suicide. The record of what happened there was all recorded by one man, so it’s hard to say how accurate his account is.
We purposefully went on a Sunday (the first day of the work week in Israel) because we assumed it would be really quiet… but the place was PACKED! Waiting in line for a lift to Masada we were smashed between a hundred other tourist. I was shocked at how many tourists seemed spoke English. Groups were from all over the world, some from Africa, China, Europe and the US.
We spent about three hours walking around in the blistering desert sun exploring the ruins. I did a lot of “ow eh ah, ow eh ah” as we walked up and down HUGE stairs and steep trails. I was SO SORE from the previous day! I wish you could just be there and see it for yourself but because you can’t/weren’t here is some of what we saw:
The lift. On the top of the hill you see, is Masada fortress.
View from the lift. The trail below is what we hiked down to get back to our car. It’s called the snake path.
View from the fortress.
This picture below is the ramp the Romans built to reach the fortress. As you can imagine, it was a serious project! Up close you can really tell someone put that whole hill there.
Um… seriously?! A pool in the middle of the desert?! I’m guessing they took the water somehow from the sea?
Huge water hole!
Some art still left in a few rooms.
Ram sliding down the snake path…