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Take a tour to Israel and visit Masada

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One of the amazing highlights during a Jewish heritage trip in Israel will be Masada, the famous fortress built by King Herod the Great between 37 and 31 BCE, and later used and fortified by Jews who held out against the Roman Empire in 73 CE.

Masada is an ancient fortification, on top of a isolated large rock plateau overlooking the Dead Sea, and is one of the most visited tourist attraction in Israel after Jerusalem, and a symbol of great national pride for all Israelis. Israeli soldiers take an oath there, “Masada shall not fall again.”

On your Israel Jewish tour, you will ascend Masada on a cable car to the top of the rock plateau more then 1,300 feet high, and witness one of the most incredible panoramic views of the Judean Desert, and the Dead Sea with its bright turquoise color tones. Tour the first century Synagogue, King Herod’s Bathhouse, and ruined storehouse, barracks, armory, cisterns and other excavations in Masada.

Written history accounts of Masada are mainly from the 1st century Jewish Roman historian Josephus. Masada was first constructed and fortified by Alexander Jannnaeus in the 1st century BCE, after Herod captured Masada and built his palace and additional structures. In 66 CE, a group of Jewish rebels, called the Sicarii, fortified atop of Masada they pushed back the Roman army. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, even more members of the Sicarii fled Jerusalem and settled on the mountaintop. In 73 CE, the Roman governor of Iudaea Lucius Flavius Silva headed the Roman legion X Fretensis and laid siege to fortress. The Roman legion surrounded the Sicarii, and built a circumvallation wall and then a siege embankment against the western face of the plateau, which according to geological investigations confirmed a 375-foot high attack ramp made of bedrock from the surroundings. After the ramp was completed the people in Masada likely witnessed a three to four month siege with a final breach of the fortress wall, with a giant battering ramp on April 16. The Roman X Legion and number of other units and Jewish prisoners totaling some 15,000 troops were used to crush the Jewish resistance. According to Josephus, when the Roman legion entered the fortress, they discovered that its people had set all the buildings on fire except the food storeroom, in order to prove that the resistance was well stocked, but the inhabitants had all committed mass suicide, with only 2 women and 5 children being found alive. Masada was last inhabited during the Byzantine period, when a small church was established at the site.

Besides an incredible trip on your Israel tour atop of Masada with it’s natural panoramic views of the Judean Desert, and ruins at the top of the plateau, the tourist facilities below provide you with comfortable shopping, specially for beauty and wellness products derived from the mineral rich Dead Sea.

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