Masada – from up in the sky and down on the ground.

The Masada fortress – oh my Great Herod! What a checkered history. The uprising of the Jews against the Romans. The seizing of Jerusalem, the remains of the rebels locked inside the walls of the fortification on the flat top of this inaccessible mountain with vertical cliff faces all around it.

A siege of three (3!) years. The Romans constructed a ramp and eventually entered the fortress – but so as not to end up as prisoners, slaves – or dead – the defenders of the fortress (around a thousand inhabitants, including women and children) committed mass suicide. A ghastly tale – from the first century BC.

I’d already been to Masada. I didn’t write all that much about the place back then, but I do recall plenty of emotions during my visit. Places like this need returning to – so I returned…

Around the mountain you can see the remains of the city walls and the camps that the Romans built during the siege. The Roman ramps are also visible.

These days, huge ramps don’t need to be built to get up to the top of the mountain and into the city. There’s a funicular, or you could walk up the zigzag path. We wanted to go by foot (it takes 30-40 minutes), but we didn’t have time. I’m always on for a funicular though, so no worries…

At the top – old ruins, storehouses, temples; somewhere further – an underground former reservoir.

Herod the Great’s palace – on the northern (cooler) side of the mountain:

There was once a bathhouse here. With a heated floor. I wonder how they heated it? Surely there wasn’t much firewood around here. Perhaps the sun had something to do with it.

And a few other pics from roundabouts:

And that was that. We were back to the airport to be heading home – for a full two days!…

All the pics from Masada are here (in the original hi-res format).

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