We went to Masada It is an ancient fortification on top of an isolated rock plateau (similar to a mesa) on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea. Herod the Great built palaces for himself on the mountain and fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE.
Next to Jerusalem, it is the most popular destination of Jewish tourists visiting Israel. Masada has become a modern symbol of Jewish survival.
We took a gondola up to the top.
It is really high up! So glad we didn't have to climb up!
After Rome destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD, the Great Revolt ended, except for surviving Jewish rebels. They fled to the now unused fortress of Masada. There they held out for 3 years.
The Romans knew that the Zealots at Masada were the group that had started the revolt; in fact, the Zealots had been in revolt against the Romans since the year 6. The length and bitterness of their uprising probably accounted for Rome's unwillingness to let Masada and its small group of defiant Jews alone.
Because Masada is situated on top of an enormous, isolated rock, anyone climbing it to attack the fortress would be an easy target. Yet the Jews, encamped in the fortress, could never feel secure; every morning, they would awaken to see the Roman Tenth Legion at work, constructing battering rams and other weapons. The Romans made Jewish prisoners of war build a seige ramp. (see the first picture at the top of this blog) It has deteriorated over time of course.
Pigeons were kept here. For eggs and possibly used as homing pigeons to carry messages.
960 Jews committed suicide rather than be killed by the Roman army. Only 2 women and 5 children were found alive.
Israeli soldiers take an oath here: "Masada shall not fall again."
Here you can see the remains of the Roman camp.
This is a synagogue. Reconstruction is above the black line.
We met a family from Portland climbing up and we took each other's photos.
You can see the Dead Sea in the background.
We ran into this man from the States, I think St. Louis. It was on his bucket list to climb Masada. I am so impressed with anyone who can climb UP!!! Especially an 80 year old man!! This is a photo of him after he came down in the gondola. He was so happy that he accomplished it! And we were proud of him too!
"Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
Fight the good fight of the faith."
1 Timothy 6:11-12