One of the most visited historical sights in Israel, Masada is a symbol of perseverance, strength and courage and holds a special place in Jewish history. This rugged fortress is situated on a rock plateau towards the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert and was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001, with particular regards given to the fact that it encompasses the most complete example of Roman siege work in existence. The first palaces were built on this site by King Herod the Great between 37 and 31 BC and their remains have been outstandingly preserved, making a visit to Masada a must.Read More
The history of Masada is in equal parts fascinating and tragic. Once the Roman Empire conquered Judaea, the fortress was the final refuge for the Jewish rebels. Despite a valiant effort from the Jews, the Romans broke through the fortress's defence by building a ramp and crashing through its walls with a battering ram. On realising that they had lost the battle, the Jews who had been hiding within the fortress committed suicide as a preferable option to life as a Roman slave.
For a more detailed account of what happened at Masada, there is a visitor centre on site that is well worth visiting. To get to the site, travellers have three options. The first of these is to take the cable car, which is the easiest option and ideal for those who might find a hike challenging. The other two options consist of the Ramp Trail or the Snake Trail, the latter of which takes a bit longer but offers better views. If you time your visit right, you might even be able to catch the sound and light show that takes place in the Masada amphitheatre.