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Christmas in Bethlehem
Masada (pronounced Metzada) is an ancient fortification overlooking the Dead Sea on the eastern edge of the Judean Desert. You many have heard of this fortress as the location of an alleged mass suicide by Sicarii rebels, who preferred death to surrender, but you may not have known about its illustrious beginnings or its beautiful location in Israel's South District.
Herod the Great erected the first buildings there as a potential fall-back for himself and his family in case of a revolt. He designed elaborate buildings to store large amounts of supplies and water management systems that rendered a siege virtually ineffective. Among what remains today are signs of an ancient palace as well as bathhouses with raised floors that resemble modern-day saunas.
While the monuments stand as a testament to ancient ingenuity, now classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, your journey to this mountaintop will leave you with an indelible imprint of the beauty found in a Judean desert. There are several options to reach the summit, but the best way by far is a short hike. About a mile long, the path winds along the edifice proving an ever more breathtaking view of the landscape unfolding around you.
If you are lucky enough to crest the mountain before sunrise, you will be treated to the dawn of a new day as the sun peaks over the opposing hills and emblazons the Dead Sea below with hues of red and orange, highlighting the natural beauty of the surrounding desert from a vantage point that is second to none.
I would encourage an early hike so that you can retreat to the shade of the Masada guest house, found at the foot of the mountain where you can select from a variety of spa product made from the minerals of the Dead Sea. You can conclude your visit to Masada with a dip in the guest house pool as the sun sets and bathes you in warm shades reflected off the surrounding peaks of a beautiful valley.
- By Travelujah_ 1838 Days AgoWow - incredible pictures! These are amazing. Masada is a truly remarkable site - and you are absolutely right in stressing how beautiful the surrounding landscape is. Hope to hear about other sites you recommend - and have snapped. thanks for this.
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