The Fortress of Masada – A Myth of Honor and Pride
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.
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.
The Fortress of Masada
I was sitting there for a little while, before I started me tour in the fortress:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The desert is normally dry and barren, but here you will find an oasis of waterfalls, springs and streams.
Sometimes you even get a glimpse of the Dead Sea! An incredible view.
The Dead Sea
Last stop pf this tour was the Dead Sea – the lowest place on earth.
They have many spas: Do you prefer floating in the water or a mud bath?
Around 2 PM we were back in Jerusalem.
Did you know the three places of the tour? Tell me about it in the comments!
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.