Highlights of Herodium
Herodium, also known as Har Hordos and Jabal al-Fureidis in Arabic, is situated 7 miles south of Jerusalem and about 3 miles southeast of Bethlehem and in the Judean Desert. The truncated, cone-shaped site gives you a bird’s eye view of Biblical events. In the distance are the Moab Mountains, from where Ruth originated. Bethlehem, where Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, went to live, and where Ruth met and married Boaz, is clearly visible. As the birthplace of Jesus, it is easy to see what distance the Holy Family had to travel to visit Jerusalem. Before fleeing to Egypt they visited at least twice: for Jesus’ circumcision and to the “presented to the Lord” (Luke 2:21-24).
In the same panorama is the Mount of Olives, where Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem and where He spent his last hours.
It was King Herod who built this fortified palace on an artificial mountain and named it after himself. During the Great Revolt the fortress was seized by the Zealots, who transformed the royal pavilion into a synagogue. Bar Kochba’s fighters found refuge there as well. In May 2007 a most important archeological and historic find was uncovered – the tomb of King Herod.
The discovery of Herod’s magnificent tomb there after long years of searching for the tomb, the actual discover of Herod’s tomb ( on display through October 2013 at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem) strengthens the understanding that the Judean “builder-king” had a special attachment to this site. The incredible view from the top of Herodium reinforces this belief as one can see the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Judea and Samaria, and, on a clear day, possibly the Mediterranean Sea.
During the Great Revolt of the Jews against the Romans the rebels had a base at Herodium, constructing a synagogue there that can still be seen. During the Bar Kokhba Revolt, Jewish fighters hewed tunnels within the artificial mountain, part of which are lit and accessible to visitors.
At the end of 2008 additional discoveries were made: a theater complete with a chamber for VIPs and two sarcophagi where apparently Herod’s wife and daughter-in-law were buried.
Herodium is accessible by private car, taxi or on a private tour. I The site is open daily from 8 to 5:30 and there is an entrance fee of approximately 27 shekel per adult. The site is located in area B which is opened to both Palestinians and Israelis yet remains under the jurisdiction of the Israeli Civil Authorities.
A visit to Herodium is best arranged either by renting a car from Jerusalem, or taking a taxi. There are no regular group day tours that include Herodium, however, a private day tour that includes Herodium and other nearby sites such as Bethlehem, Judean desert monastaries, or Qasr El Yahud, could be combined in a custom private Travelujah tour.
Don’t miss the escape tunnels!
Make sure to combine this visit with a visit to the Israel Museum – which is home to many antiquities discovered at Herodium.
April-September 8 A.M.-5 P.M. October-March 8 A.M- 4 P.M. Last entry one hour before above closing hour