January 03, 2012

OAT Israel: Masada

King Herod built two luxurious palace complexes on this fortified mesa 1300 feet above the Dead Sea.  Jewish Zealots captured Masada during the First Revolt in AD 66.  The Romans laid siege from eight square camps visible in the distance.  They finally figured out a way to breach this stronghold, only to discover that the almost 1000 Zealots (men, women, and children) had committed mass suicide rather than surrender to the Romans.    
 We reached the top by cable car. 
 One of Roman base siege camps
Mosaic floors
Tristram's Starling drinking water
Columbarium with niches to hold funeral urns for non-Jewish members of Herod's court.
I hesitated to walk down to the lower terrace of the Northern Palace because I knew it would be a long climb back up ...
... but the colored frescos and views made it well worth the effort. 
 Sue and I made a spur of the moment decision to skip the cable car and hike back down on the Snake Path
 Some parts of the trail were better than others.

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