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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

M A S A D A

If you can't tell from the title Masada is big and awesome and Adam's favorite part thus far.
We headed to Masada after the Dead Sea and we were told that we would need to wash every bit of that oily water off our skin and reapply tons of sunscreen. We pulled in and our tour guide told us that we would be taking the cable car up the HIGH HIGH Tel of Masada....great ( adam is very afraid of heights). He stood in the middle of the cable car and clung to every railing he could find on top of Masada.
Masada was an important geologic feature that created a perfect fortress for Herod and the Jews. Its nearly impossible location allowed Jewish rebels to seek shelter from persecution ( Rome). During the final days of Masada, the Roman empire built a wall all the way around Masada and then set up encampments to nearly every side ( the square encampments are still visible today ..look for them in our pictures). They also built a huge seize ramp up to the walls of the fortress that is very impressive. More impressive to us now that we have spent 7 days hauling dirt and rocks around....nevertheless they were not under shadecloths and didn't have wheelbarrows and probably were not given two breakfast and a fruit break.
As the Romans were closing in on the Jews they decided to choose death by their own hand instead of death or slavery by the Romans. The men first killed all of thier wives and children and then drew lots to see who would kill who. The last one would have to fall onto his own sword. ( Pottery sherds with these men names were found). When the Romans finally breached Masada's walls they only found two women still alive.
During Herod's rule of Masada he had two palaces built....a North and South one. The North one was three tiers and was built directly into the side of the cliffs. He also had heated baths and the South palace was used to entertain guests. There are several original frescos at Masada as well and a really nice Mosaic floor in a later Byzantine Church.
We toured Masada for about three hours and didn't see everything before they closed and kicked us out. We walked out down the Roman seize ramp and headed to Arad to stay the night. We had a wonderful dinner ( they had chocolate cake and therefore I needed some milk to go with us.....however when I asked the waiter for some he gave me a stern look and reminded me that they are Kosher and since we had meat for dinner they couldn't mix dairy with it ...he did say I could drink my milk outside but i declined) Then some of us headed out into town. It was Shabbat and therefore many stores were closed until sundown. We did manage to find a gelato shop and many of us enjoyed 2 scoops of Gelato. Our group is getting closer and closer and Adam and I are enjoying the friendships we are making. The next morning we ate a wonderful breakfast and headed to Tel Arad. Thats another blog though!!!!
You really should google Masada to get a better idea of this awesome city...our pictures dont do it justice!!


Pictures of Masada

1 comment:

  1. Master Ton, father of Won (Want) TonJune 25, 2009 at 5:51 PM

    So Adam is still using the old 'I'm afraid of heights' ploy is he? And did he have to hold you close and have you stroke his hair to keep him calm? I think we know what this is all about . . .

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