Masada, also referred as Metzada, is a mountain top fortress that is located on the western shore of the Dead Sea in Israel. The Fortress includes barracks, storehouses, an armory, palace, cisterns, etc. Masada is a name that is derived from unmetzade, a Hebrew word, that means “stronghold” or “mountain castle”. It is worth disclosing the fact that Masada is considered as one of the greatest symbols of Israel’s ancient kingdom, its brutal destruction and Jewish revolt in the first century A.D. against Rome. Let’s discover some of the vital facts about Masada:
- It is located on the top isolated rock on the edges of the Dead Sea valley and the Judean Desert, between Ein Gedi and Sdom.
- Masada remained ignored for many centuries and came again in limelight after a famous epic entitled Masada, written by popular Hebrew poet in 1920’s. The epic has invoked the hidden emotions and gave a rousing account of fight.
- Masada plateau was naturally fortified and surrounded by deep gorges.
- Cliff on the east and west edge of Masada are about 400 m (1300) and 90 m (300) high respectively. Plataea’s top is flat and of rhomboid-shape.
- Around the plateau’s top, there was a casemate wall which is 1.3 km long, 3.7 m thick and has many towers.
- A Jewish Roman Historian, Herod the Great has fortified Masada in between 37 and 31 BCE to hide himself from the massive revolt.
- Sicarii, a group of Jewish rebels, defeated roman troops and defended Masada by taking control over it.
- At the end of the first century, Judea’s Roman Governor had decided to take back Masada.
- Masada was rediscovered by modern world in mid 19th century BC. Israeli archeologists, Yigael Yadin, in the early 1960’s, began excavating the region. Cable cars were added to the region, in order to make it accessible for tourists. The place is considered as most popular tourist destination in Israel, outside of Jerusalem.
- Being considered as one of the most respected Jewish symbols, Israeli soldiers take an oath at this site “Masada shall not fall again”. Oath taken by soldiers of Israeli army is an expression of commitment towards protecting modern Israel state.
- Since 2001, Masada has been counted as one of the UNESCO world heritage sites.
- On the western side of mountain, an audio-visual light show dramatizing Masada’s history is presented at the night time. Whereas, during winters there is no sound and light show.
- Two Mikvahs and Synagogue is considered as two most exciting sites that can be seen in Masada till today.
- Summers are usually hot, therefore visitors are not allowed to trek up the mountains during day time. However, it is advised that they can trek in the wee hours of the morning. Bottles of water and hat are two objects that are must to carry with themselves while trekking.
- Since 2007, a museum has been opened for the tourists showcasing detailed history of Masada along with some interesting artifacts.
- Masada is one of the most popular sites for dead sea tourists.
Masada is a site of fortifications and palaces located in Israel, near the Dead-Sea. It was considered as last stronghold, held by Jewish’s zealots. They refused to surrender to Roman Empire and preferred death to surrender. Now, Masada is well-recognized as tourists’ destinations visited by tourists from around the globe.