The Fortress of Masada – A Myth of Honor and Pride

by | 19/04/17 | Asia, Israel, Middle East, Traveling | 4 comments

In March, I went to Israel for the second time. The reason was the  TBEX, the biggest conference for travel bloggers. Very high on my to do list was a tour called “Masada Sunrise, Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea” by Abraham Tours.

At 3:30 AM was the pick-up to go to the fortress of Masada. Half awake, half asleep the 90 minutes drive went by quickly and was still pitch-black outside when we arrived.

Unfortunately, the gate was still closed and they didn’t open before 5:45 AM.

 

Masada – A Hike in the Dark

They finally opened the gates. I paid the 28 Sheql (about 10 Dollars) entrance fee and started my way up the 750 steps. Although dawn was already there and I could slowly see the outlines of the mountain in the dark, I still used my flashlamp.

With every step it got brighter and brighter until I could finally see the Dead Sea in the distance.

sonnenaufgang totes meer

weg zu masa im sonnenaufgang

When I arrived, I was almost panicking: The sun was going to rise in a few seconds or minutes. I got my tripod and started the timelapse. The sun rose and admired the beauty of it.

sonnenaufgang inception

sunrise in my hand

sonne totes meer

 

The Fortress of Masada

I was sitting there for a little while, before I started me tour in the fortress:

Ruinen von Masada

It was built between 40 and 30 BC under King Herod and rests on a table mountain between the Dead Sea and the Judean Desert. Since 2001 it’s listed as a World Heritage Site.

Ruinen von Masada

Thanks to its position people thought it would be impossible to conquer it.

The Myth of Masada

Not long after the death of King Herod the First Jewish-Roman War started, which endet just a few years later with the capture of Jerusalem. Masada was the last Judean stronghold which fell in 74 AC. But when the Romans broke through the walls they found 960 corpses. While almost everybody committed suicide – because death is better than a life in chains – two women and five children had hidden and could tell the Roman soldiers what had happened. Today the mass suicide has become a myth of honor and pride.

 

The Descent

Impressed by the sad past of this place I made my way back to the bus. This time I could see the steps and the path and as well the great view.

treppe masada

cable car running

From 8:00 AM until sunset there is a cable car running which can save you the 40 minutes hike. But to see the sunrise you have no choice than walking.

cable car masada

 

Ein Gedi

The nature reserve Ein Gedi is only 15 minutes from Masada. That’s why it is always part of the trips to Masada. It’s an oasis between the Dead Sea and the Negev desert.

ein gedi eingang

Not only nature is great here, but you can see animals, too – depending on how many tourists are there with you… I was super lucky to see several young Nubian ibexes and a capybara.

mini gazelle

mini gazelle 2

The desert is normally dry and barren, but here you will find an oasis of waterfalls, springs and streams.

first waterfall ein gedi

another bridge in ein gedi

capybara ein gedi

bridge ein gedi

Sometimes you even get a glimpse of the Dead Sea! An incredible view.

in ein gedi

berge ein gedi

 

The Dead Sea

Last stop pf this tour was the Dead Sea – the lowest place on earth.

dead sea

dead sea lowest place on earth

They have many spas: Do you prefer floating in the water or a mud bath?

dead sea resort

barbara in mud

Around 2 PM we were back in Jerusalem.

Did you know the three places of the tour? Tell me about it in the comments!

 

Yours Barbara 1

PS: This blog post was a collaboration with Abraham Tours. I got invited to the tour “Masada Sunrise, Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea”. I didn’t get any financial compensation and my opinion has not been influenced by the collaboration.

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