Sunday, July 24, 2011


The story of Masada is an incredible one.   

Approaching the site.

These are some copper coins found amongst the ruins.

Amy and me before riding the cablecar up to the top.

The Dead Sea in the distance

View from the cablecar

I just couldn't get over the gorgeous blue of the Dead Sea

Our group walking up to the city ruins.


More images of the Dead Sea.  I thought it was so beautiful and unbelievable that I was actually there.

Alan read Elazar ben Yair's final speech at the end of the siege. 

I found it here and have copied and pasted it if you would like to read it.  It is from Jewish historian Josephus Flavius' book Jewish Wars.

"My loyal followers, long ago we resolved to serve neither the Romans nor anyone else but only God, who alone is the true and righteous Lord of men: now the time has come that forces us to prove our determination by our deeds. At a time like this, we must not disgrace ourselves: hitherto we have never submitted to slavery, even when it brought no danger with it: we must not choose slavery now, and with it penalties that will mean the end of everything if we fall alive into the hands of the Romans. For we were the first of all to revolt, and shall be the last to break off the struggle. And I think it is God who has given us this privilege, that we can die nobly and as free men, unlike others who were unexpectedly defeated. In our case it is evident that day-break will end our resistance, but we are free to choose an honorable death with our loved ones. This our enemies cannot prevent, however earnestly they may pray to take us alive; nor can we defeat them in battle."
"Let our wives die unabused, our children without knowledge of slavery: after that, let us do each other an ungrudging kindness, preserving our freedom as a glorious winding-sheet. But first let our possessions and the whole fortress go up in flames: it will be a bitter blow to the Romans, that I know, to find our persons beyond their reach and nothing left for them to loot. One thing only let us spare -- our store of food: it will bear witness when we are dead to the fact that we perished, not through want but because, as we resolved at the beginning, we chose death rather than slavery." (Josephus Flavius, Jewish Wars Book 7, 8:6)

The line on the rock marked where the original stone ruins ended (below) and where the recreated work began  (above).

A model of Masada

A Byzantine church built on the premises

Another image of the church.  I thought it was so neat that there was a window.  Can you imagine attending a church service and looking out the window and seeing the Dead Sea? 

Here Dan is pointing out The Breaching Point or the place where the Romans finally broke through the walls after the three year siege.

Again you can see the line signifying the original stone (below) and the recreated area (above).
The actual ramp the Romans built up to Masada.

A Dovecot
I believe these were used as lookout points.

The land surrounding Masada

The synagogue


A closer image of the cistern

A Bathhouse

Information about the water system at Masada.  Since Masada is in such a desert environment, water supply was essential for survival.

By pouring water in a certain area of the model, you can see how the water system worked.

King Herod built a palace at Masada.

Looking down from Masada

My friend Chris and me

Here you can see the ruins of the camps where the Romans were stationed.

pigeons :)

This is a model of Herod's northern palace.  Herod loved to build things and evidence of his architectural obsession is all over Israel.

This image is of the Northern Palace looking down from up above.

An image of the ruins

Information about the bathhouse

A model of the bathhouse

The original mosaic

The interior ruins of the bathhouse.  I was so amazed that some of the wall coverings are still visible.

This area housed the sauna.  A large slab of marble was placed over these cylindars, warming the floor.  It was kind of amazing to imagine that in this dry and arid land where water was a precious commodity, King Herod was okay with using water in such a recreational way as a sauna.

Exiting the bathhouse

The Israel flag with the gorgeous turquoise of the Dead Sea in the background.

This whole area was used as a storehouse for food.  By seeing the size of this storage area, it is easier to understand how the Jewish people could survive here for three years during the siege.

These photos are of more ruins found at Masada that are now housed indoors in the visitors center.

It is amazing to see how all of these artifacts have survived for so many years.
It was incredible to visit this important piece of history and to learn about what happened there.
After this visit, we were ready for lunch and then a dip in those beautiful azure waters of the Dead Sea!!

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