Archeological Remains at Masada
Designed as an elaborate fortress by King Herod the Great, Masada today boasts the most impressive archaeological remains and tells visitors a unique tale of bravery and struggling against all odds. King Herod built Masada as a fortress-palace, fortifying the summit with an elaborate wall and building small palaces, a bathhouse and other constructions for the comfort of the inhabitants. The most impressive construction on the mountain is the Northern Palace, which not only boasts the remains of its impressive grand interiors but also enjoys breathtaking views of the surrounding area. The twelve huge cisterns constructed to collect rain water that would supply the inhabitants needs along with the huge storage rooms made Masada an almost perfect fortress.
The Jewish Rebellion at Masada
UNESCO declared Masada a world heritage site in 2001 not only on account of these impressive archaeological findings but also because the part it played in the famous Jewish rebellion against the Roman conqueror, which took place here during the 1st century AC. The Romans managed to enter Masada after months of placing siege on the 960 men, women and children who lived in Masada, the last fortress still held by the Jewish rebels. Once they entered the fortress with their battling ram, they discovered that almost all the inhabitants had committed suicide, favouring death over submission and a life of slavery. This, at least, is the version given by the famous ancient Jewish-Roman historian Josephus Flavius in his book “War of the Jews”.
A cable cart will take you up the mountain and, once at the top, you can examine the impressive remains. If you’re feeling especially courageous, it is also possible to walk up the winding path leading up Mount Masada by foot. Many people try to make it to Masada early in the morning to see the sunrise from the summit, a truly exceptional experience.
Masada is a fascinating historical site in Israel that introduces tourists to some impressive archaeological remains and tells a thought provoking story of rebellion.