Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Masada - The Greatest Jewish Symbol

Masada is one of the greatest Jewish symbols. Located near Jerusalem, its one of the most popular tourist destinations in Israel. The fortress itself is over 2000 years old. History has been written and re-written in it. With a poor landscape around it, the fortress is located on top of a big isolated rock. This through the years has made it uneasy for attackers to seige the fortress. Anyone climbing easily becomes an easy target. It is a modern symbol of Jewish survival. It is said that Israeli soldiers take an oath there.

Taking the "Masada experience" could be an adventure. Its a long hike up the snaky path on the eastern part of the mountain.  For those who cannot take this tiresome and exhausting experience, new technology gives a helping hand- there is a "cable car" that operates up and down the mountain.

The wear and tear of the stones uplifts the walls of the fortress and restored its original look, just as it was constructed.

Elements of Roman culture still remain. It is said that 900 Sicarii, protectors of the fortress, fought against 8000 Roman soldiers who were invading the fortress for 6 months!

The harsh weather conditions work on the walls of the fortress.

A breathtaking view of the Dead sea from the top of the mountain. On the other side of it is Jordan.

There is also an airstrip for small planes. 

An artist's impression of the Norhern Palace - an architectural gem. It is said to have been built by King Herod. It had the height of a ten storey building and the upper storey served as the king's quarters. The lower tiers were where the most distinguished guests were served.

This is what remains from the lower tiers.

Large baths. Bath houses and swimming pools were an integral part of the Roman culture.

Such tablets with names inscribed on them were found here. They were then prepared and preserved as in the photo.

Tourists take a look at the water storage on top of the mountain. Such reservoirs could store up to 40,000 cubic meters of water! Most of the reservoirs are underground.

And another view from the fortress towards the Dead Sea.

Canyons around the fortress.

At the center of the photo is the location of the Roman Legions during the Invasion. They did not have any chances!

A tourist path towards the mountain. Once it was what the Romans used during their invasion.

The Roman invasion - an artist's impression.

Stone kernels still remain. Such were used to protect the fortress against enemies.
Masada remains strong as tourists flock in to appreciate it.
via Alex Cheban

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