Masada and Ein Gedi


If you like archeology and fascinating history, then Masada is perfect for you. The site is a palace/fortress that was built by Herod the Great, who was the local ruler appointed by Rome.

The palace was fortified between the years 37-31 B.C.E. It sits on a high plateau in the desert overlooking the Dead Sea. A great location…

A view from above of part of the Masada palace and the cliff it sits onA view from above of part of the palace and the cliff it sits on.

The main story relating to the place is that of the great Jewish revolt against the Romans. That happened about 40 years after Jesus was crucified. About 960 Jews took over this fortress. The Roman army surrounded them, and the Jews decided to take their own life rather than surrender to the Romans.

The ruins of the palace were partially restored. For example, you can find some beautiful frescoes (water color murals) in Herod’s palace. There is also a great museum on site that tells the story above.

To reach the palace you can either walk or take the cable car. My advice to you: unless you are in good shape, take the cable car. Having said that, if you don't mind walking uphill then climbing the mountain can be a lot of fun.

View from atop Masada - Dead Sea area, Israel
View from atop Masada - Dead Sea area, Israel
Jim Stanfield
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Ein Gedi

If you ever wanted to visit an oasis, Ein Gedi is where it's at. This site is a kibbutz and a nature reserve. It is very close to the Dead Sea shoreline, and in my opinion it is one of the most beautiful spots in Israel. Ein Gedi has a 5,000 year history of inhabitants, and it is mentioned in the bible as the place David was hiding from King Saul.

Ein Gedi watersEin Gedi waters

So, what can you do in Ein Gedi?

  • Take a walk along the springs and the two rivers – David and Arugut.
  • Check out the archeology findings in the area.
  • Enjoy the hot springs - preferably in the winter - and mud bath.
  • Take pictures of the wild goats and other desert animals.
  • Breathe deep – the air has lots of bromide, which is good for you (for some reason…).
An Ibex (wild goat) in the Ein Gedi areaCan you spot the Ibex (wild goat) in the picture?!

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