We booked a taxi for the day and headed out of Jerusalem. On this post I’ll just cover our first stop – Masada. I’m going to apologize up front. This blog post has far too many pictures because, frankly, I have far too many pictures. But I will do my best to keep it brief-ish.
The drive to Masada took a little over an hour through countryside that was mostly barren rock. When we arrived at Masada we were greeted with, you guessed it, more barren rock.
But of course, the thing about Masada is that it is barren rock, surrounded by sheer rock cliffs on all sides. Being a fortress, that was exactly the point.
This created an incredibly secure fortress, but also provided stunning views over the surrounding countryside. It turns out that was also the point. King Herod built a palace into the north-facing cliff. It provided cool breezes, stunning views over the Dead Sea, and was protected by the impregnable fortress.
Well, not completely impregnable – on the far right of the above picture you can still see the outlines of one of the forts the Romans built when they laid siege to Masada.
To be completely honest, the site was not as rich as many in Jordan, and you were often restricted in where you could go and what you could touch, but it still provided interesting glimpses of everyday life 2000 years ago.
It also provided fascinating examples of the ingenuity of ancient people. In this case, they built a special tower inside the fortress that provided a roost to keep pigeons safe from predators at night . But of course it didn’t keep them safe from humans, which provided the inhabitants with a steady supply of free meat that could not be stopped by the enemy blockade. A simple but effective way to supplement supplies.
To get to the site you can hike up a very steep path (300 metre elevation gain) or you can take the cable car, which is an adventure in itself. This time we opted for the cable car. Maybe next time we will try the hike.
If you ever have the chance, I would highly recommend a visit.