Masada is one of the most popular tourist sites in Israel. It has an emblematic value for the Jewish people, since it's represents dedication, determination, strength and the human struggle between oppression and liberty.
Masada is located at the top of an isolated rock cliff on the edge of the Judean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea. The rugged natural fortress was constructed in classical roman style by King Herod in the year 30 BCE. In 66 CE, at the beginning of the uprising of the Jews against the Romans, the fortress was conquered by a group of Jewish rebels. After the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE Masada became the only place for the Jewish resistance. There, they held out for three years fighting the Romans.
Once it became clear that the Romans besieged Masada and managed to reach the fortress, Elazar ben Yair - the Zealots’ leader gathered all the people living at the fortress and persuaded them to kill themselves in order to avoid falling into the hands of the Romans. The only survivors were two women and five children who hid in a cave.
After the withdrawal of the Roman garrison, the site was abandoned until the 5th century. Masada remained untouched until evidence of human settlement were revealed in the 1960s. Remains of plants, cloth and potsherds, were found in a small cave on the lower part of a southern cliff. The authenticity is therefore of a very high level. One of the most magnificent structures is a Roman style bath house and the Western Palace and the mikveh which is Jewish ritual bath.
In ancient times, the access to the top of Masada was rather difficult to climb, nowadays it is possible to get there by cable car or on foot - It takes 15-20 minutes of easy ascent to get to the top. The people who want to use the ancient trail, the "Snake Path" is still open.
Opening Times for Masada 2013/14:
April to September: 08:00 to 17:00
October to March: 08:00 to 16:00