Postcard from Israel – Masada

Last week our virtual trip in Israel took us to first century Jerusalem, just before the Great Revolt against the Romans. After the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, some Jerusalemites fled the city to the desert fortress of Masada – as recounted in Josephus Flavius’s book ‘The Jewish Wars’. 

In addition to its spectacular location near the lowest point on earth, the National Park of Masada is of course an archaeological gold mine – with palaces, Byzantine churches , Roman encampments and the humble dwellings of the rebels all surprisingly well preserved and earning it the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site

In recent years, Masada has also become a cultural magnet for opera lovers, with the Israeli Opera staging annual productions there. So if you’re looking for ideas for an unusual holiday in 2013, Puccini’s Tuandot with the breathtaking backdrop of the desert fortress steeped in history and the Dead Sea could be the way to go. 

8 replies »

  1. I’ll never forget Masada.
    a) We scurried up there just in time for a spectacular sunrise over the Dead Sea.
    b) While sleeping outdoors beforehand a mosquito bite saw my left eyelid balloon up to ridiculous proportions. DNA testing re. its nationality proved inconclusive.
    Didn’t ruin the view, mind.

  2. Fabulous photos. The evocation of Jewish history, heritage and courage is awe-inspiring.

  3. History buffs might also be interested to know that some ancient Germanic tribe did something similar – i.e. in terms of the outcome – a century or two earlier after losing a battle to the Romans. In order to avoid being enslaved, the women killed their returning, defeated warriors, then the children and finally themselves.