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Masada

Masada, Israel.
Travel & Tour
Pictures, Photos, & Information.

Audrey DeLange
November 1999.

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Masada (Hebrew for fortress), is situated atop an isolated rock cliff at the western end of the Judean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea.

The east cliff falls about 450 meters to the Dead Sea and in the west Masada is about 100 meters above the surrounding terrain.

Josephus Flavius writes about Masada in The Jewish War. He was born Joseph ben Matityahu and he was a young leader at the outbreak of the Great Jewish Rebellion against Rome (66 CE) when he was appointed governor of Galilee. He managed to survive the suicide pact of the last defenders of Jodfat and surrendered to Vespasian who later was proclaimed emperor. Calling himself Josephus Flavius, Josephus Flavius became a Roman citizen and a successful historian. His accounts of what happened at Masada have been proved accurate.

According to Josephus Flavius, Herod the Great built the fortress of Masada between 37 and 31 BCE. Herod, an Idumean, had been made King of Judea by his Roman overlords and was hated by his Jewish subjects. Herod, the master builder, furnished Masada as a refuge for himself. It included a casemate wall around the plateau, storehouses, large cisterns, barracks, palaces, and an armory.

About 75 years after Herod’s death, at the beginning of the Revolt of the Jews against the Romans in 66 CE, a group of Jewish rebels overcame the Roman garrison of Masada. After the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple (70 CE) they were joined by zealots and their families who had fled from Jerusalem. With Masada as their base, they raided and harassed the Romans for two years. Then, in 73 CE, the Roman governor Flavius Silva marched against Masada with the Tenth Legion. The Romans established camps at the bottom of Masada, laid siege to it building a wall around the area. They then constructed a rampart of stones and earth against the western approach to Masada and, in then in the spring of the year 74 CE, they moved a battering ram up the rampart and breached the wall of Masada.

The Jewish defenders – almost one thousand men, women and children – led by Eleazar ben Ya’ir, decided to burn the fortress and end their own lives, rather than be taken alive.

Two thousand years have passed since the fall of Masada. Today, a cable car carries visitors to the top of the ruins with its view across the Dead Sea.

This is where the last Jewish stronghold against Rome stood.

Masada was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001 and is considered the symbol of the epic collapse of the Judean Kingdom at the time of the Second Temple.

The easy way to get to Masada, is to fly into the Ben Gurion International Airport. The airport is close to Jerusalem, which is about 5 miles away.

The Ben Gurion International Airport, (IATA: TLV, ICAO: LLBG), also referred to by its Hebrew acronym Natbag, is the largest and busiest international airport in Israel. It was named the best airport in the Middle East by the ACI organisation.[ The airport is located near the city of Lod, 15 km (9 mi) southeast of Tel Aviv. It is operated by the Israel Airports Authority, a government-owned corporation that manages all public airports and border crossings in the State of Israel. The Ben Gurion International Airport is considered one of the world's most secure airports, with a security force that includes both police officers and IDF soldiers.

There are several hotels in or near Jerusalem.

There are several Guided Tour Agencies offering standard city, and historical tours of Jerusalem, Israel and the surrounding areas.

After arranging your flight we would suggest getting your hotel and then letting them arrange tours of the area for you. If you call the hotels Concierge Services ahead of your arrival, all of this can be pre-arranged for you.

I do this all the time. It is safe and it works!!! I have never experienced a problem doing it this way!

I have links to Priceline.Com on our page so that you can arrange your flight and hotel in the Jerusalem, Israel area.

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