Masada will no longer fall!
Before you is the story of the legendary Masada fortress, towering over the southern coast of the Dead Sea. She helped save the family of an unknown half-breed, who, with the help of the Romans, became the king of Judea – Herod the Great. He later turned Masada into an impregnable stronghold. She and her defenders will be destined to detain the Romans and delay their victory over the Jews for three whole years. All of them, together with their families, will die heroically, but will not give up. Two women will survive, who will tell about the last days of Masada. Under cover of night, travelers made their way through mountain gorges. They were in a hurry, fearing a chase, because a handful of soldiers could not protect them. A man with a beard gazed steadily at the dark silhouettes of rocks in the hope of quickly seeing the walls of a small fortress, behind which he could shelter his family. Then he was not yet known, his name was simply Herod. Later he will become the Great King of Judea and will change the fate of the small fortress of Masada. It was there that under the protection of 800 soldiers, Herod left his family and brother Joseph, and he went to Rome for help. His opponent, the Parthian henchman, King Antigonus, immediately besieged Masada. However, the defenders of the fortress were lucky: they were saved from lack of water by a sudden rain that filled all the tanks, pools and pits. Upon returning, Herod hastened to the aid of the fortress and, having gained a number of victories over his opponent Antigonus, became king. And he did not forget about Masada, but turned it into a powerful and impregnable fortress, which could serve as a refuge in case of an uprising or military operations. Much water has flown under the bridge since that time. Now here the moments seem like an eternity, and the centuries disappear, dissolving into the haze of the horizon. Hands involuntarily reach for ocher-red stones – this is an opportunity to touch the story. To the unthinkable antiquity, which almost two millennia ago, the historian Josephus described in his “Jewish Wars”. Herod’s Palace of Great Masad surpasses the wildest expectations and is impressive from the road. And this is not surprising, because it is located at an altitude of about 450 meters above the Dead Sea, on a diamond-shaped rocky plateau 600 meters in length and up to 300 meters in width. The citadel can be accessed from two sides. The easiest way is by cable car. It’s faster, more convenient and, of course, more spectacular. At the same time, landscapes open up simply dizzying. Those who want to lose weight and warm up can choose the winding Snake Path. Climbing it takes from forty minutes to an hour, depending on the physical form of the person. Once in the fortress, you understand why the Roman legionnaires did not launch a frontal attack. Each step along the Snake Trail made them an excellent target for archers. Not surprisingly, only six people were enough to guard the approaches to Masada. The Romans were not going to take risks, so they paved the second way. You can climb it from the side of the city of Arad, from the west. This path is shorter and goes along the siege rampart, which the Romans themselves, or rather, nine thousand of their captive Jewish slaves … In ancient times, the Hasmonean dynasty, on the orders of the high priest Jonathan, built a powerful watchtower on a steep rock (it has been well preserved to this day) and a water storage tank. The citadel was called Masada, which means “fortress”. In 37 BC e., during the time of Herod the Great, Masada was rebuilt: powerful double walls of five meters were built around the perimeter of 1400 meters, towers were installed every 40 meters, a total of 37. Two Herod palaces were built in Masad. The pearl of the fortress was a three-tier palace complex descending along the slope, built in the Roman style. Like all royal architectural creations, it was decorated with rows of columns, elaborate mosaics and vibrant frescoes. Fountains gurgled in the booming spaces of the shady halls. Baths and baths beckoned with crystal coolness, then with the most tender heat. And the view from the windows can be appreciated today. Herod the Great knew how to live with taste. Historians still argue about why he needed such a magnificent palace in such a wilderness in the middle of the desert. Although what is there to rack your brains? The fortress helped him – and he remembered it well. Moreover, it could be used as a reliable repository of the state’s gold reserves, food and weapons of all Jewish troops. King Herod also took care of the stronghold garrison. The fortress in the waterless desert was equipped with twelve tank tanks, containing up to four thousand cubic meters of water, several food depots, and therefore could withstand a siege of decent duration, remaining almost impregnable.