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Masada is located on top of an isolated mountain on the southern slopes of the Judaen desert, near the Dead Sea.  It is isolated from its surroundings by deep gorges on all sides. It made a perfect spot for a remote fortress. Herod chose Masada as a place of refuge from potential enemies.  He built an enormous citidel which included two palaces, baths, villas, storerooms, an intricate system of cisterns and aquaducts, and a defensive wall studded with over 30 guarded towers. During the Jewish rebellion against Rome in 66 AD, it became the last Jewish holdout, until the Romans built an enormous gravel and stone ramp and overtook it after 7 months of seige in 72 AD. 

Herod's great citadel & the last Jewish holdout against Rome

See also | Qumran  | Masada | Ein Gedi | Ein Feshka | Wadi Qelt |

view of Judean dessert and mountains from top of Masada

view of remains of the vast storerooms

Officer's residence at the entrance who controlled traffic to and from Masada


view of Herod's magnificent Northern Palace 

remains of the Synagogue

entrance to a guard tower

remains of ramp built by Romans during seige of 72 AD
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(c) 2001 Don Schwager