Masada | A Glimpse of History With An Amazing View

 Masada is the most visited tourist site in Israel. Why is that, what makes it so special and why should you visit it when you are on your Israel by Design program. Masada is an ancient fortress in Israel situated on a mountain-high plateau above the Dead Sea. It’s a national park and a UNESCO Heritage Site. It’s also a site of historical significance that symbolizes the courage of the Jewish people in the face of a Roman siege. 

Herod the Great, the Roman king of Judea in the years 34 BC- 1 BC, built the Massada castle as a winter palace to escape the cold weather so he built his castle in the dry and warm weather near the Dead Sea.  He built this as a winter escape with different viewpoints, storerooms, and protective walls. 

After the destruction of the Second Temple, a group of Jewish rebels lead by Eleazar Ben Yair, fled Jerusalem to Masada to escape the conquering Roman army.   

Since then, Masada has been left uninhabited until 1953 when archeologists started excavating Masada, to recover structures and artifacts and understand what happened on the mountain throughout the years. 

Today Masada is the most visited tourist national park and is accessible by foot or by a cable car. There are two entrances for visitors, one on the Western side, the Dead Sea side, and one on the Eastern side. 

Today, Masada’s unique history and topography is a beautiful setting for special events, concerts, and hiking.

The most popular points of interests on the mountain are:

  • Herod’s tall palace on the northern edge with a stunning view of the desert and the Dead Sea.
  • A sophisticated water system that channeled water and could hold more than 40,000 cubic meters of water. 
  • A synagogue built during Herod’s time.

When driving down to see Masada, by yourself or with a group, take note of the colorful Judean desert, experience a dip in the Dead Sea and take the time to learn about the fascinating history both below and at the top of the mountain. This will enrich your visit and allow you to understand more about Israel’s ancient culture and its significance in modern Israel. 

When on your Israel by Design experience it is a good time to take a deeper look at your roots to discover where you are from and develop your wings in your internship/volunteering to show you what you can become.