Monday, April 11, 2011

Masada and The Dead Sea

On our tour of Israel's south we managed to float in the Dead Sea and walk among the ruins of Masada. Masada is a rugged natural fortress of majestic beauty in the Judaean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea. It is a symbol of the ancient kingdom of Israel, its violent destruction and the last stand of Jewish patriots in the face of the Roman army, in 73 A.D. It was built as a palace complex, in the classic style of the early Roman Empire, by Herod the Great, King of Judaea, (reigned 37 – 4 B.C.). The camps, fortifications and attack ramp that encircle the monument constitute the most complete Roman siege works surviving to the present day. Instead of allowing themselves to be enslaved by the Romans, most of the fervent rebel Jewish community chose mass suicide than to lose their freedom and be murdered and have their children sold into slavery. The outcome of the Jewish-Roman wars that led to the destruction of the ancient kingdom of Israel and led to the dispersion of the stateless Jewish people throughout the world from that point on for 19 centuries. There is a beautiful Museum which operates a cable car to take you up the top of the mountain while the more adventurous can hike up the Snake Path on the eastern side of the mountain takes around 30-45 minutes and is considered part of the "Masada experience," a cable car operates at the site for those who wish to avoid the physical exertion like Brendan and myself. Well, it was too warm and sunny for that hike, I'm married to a sweet Irish rose and he might have wilted in the desert sun.
Arial view of Masada
Top of Masada as seen from bottom of cable car
Famous Snake Path
 Rebel Dwellings
Rebel Dwellings
Brendan next to the dwellings
Mosaic floor of the Northern palace
Mosaic floor of bathhouse of the Northern Palace
Palace wall
Archway of dwellings
Thermal baths
Dovecot where the rebels raised pigeons for food
Storage areas for food
Herods palace
Herods Palace
Herod's Palace
Herod's Palace
Roman Columns
View of Dead Sea
Brendan walking on the salt flat of the Dead Sea

Me floating in the Dead Sea
A tractor moving a huge mountain of salt at the Dead Sea works factory

1 comment:

Olga said...

It looks like you had a great trip!
The pictures are amazing!!!
Meanwhile did you know that the Dead sea itself has been chosen as one of the 28 finalists in the new7wonders campaign (you can vote here Vote for Dead Sea )