Masada Exploration, the Dead Sea, and Lunch
- Masada: Ride the cable car to this revered plateau fortress and see Herod's palaces, the Roman baths, the towers, the synagogue, and experience majestic views from 1,300 feet above the desert.
- The Dead Sea: Enjoy two hours in the therapeutic waters of this legendary lake, where salinity nearly nine times greater than the ocean's makes floating virtually effortless.
- Local cuisine: Exploring exciting places has a way of boosting the appetite, so we'll take a break at a nearby hotel with a cold buffet lunch.
About this Ashdod Tour
In 73 A.D., a group of rebellious Jewish fighters and their families decided it was better to die in freedom than to live in chains, and committed mass suicide at a fortress called Masada.
Or did they.
The story of Masada, as told by Jewish-Roman historian Josephus (a former rebel general), is well known: fewer than a thousand Jewish zealots faced a force of 10,000 Romans soldiers (plus 5,000 slaves) that was bent on their destruction. The fortress, as high as 1,300 feet on one side and with 13-foot high walls around it, seemed impregnable.
But the Romans didn't take kindly to dissenters, much less those with swords and spears. So they spent three years besieging the fortress, cutting off food and water and building a steep embankment that would let their battering rams reach and breach the defensive walls. They used Jewish slaves to build it, knowing the rebels would not kill their own. Their fate was sealed.
As you'll see on your visit, that attack ramp is still there, on the west side of the mountain. The fortress has undergone a great deal of restoration, allowing a better idea of its palatial splendor and formidable defenses.
What doesn't add up are the numbers. According to Josephus, 960 people committed suicide – or allowed themselves to be executed – on Masada. But archeological digs have only found 28 bodies. Which begs a question that neither Josephus nor anyone since has answered:
Where did the other 932 go?
The Dead Sea gets most of its water from the Jordan River, but it's not until the water has flowed 65 miles from the Sea of Galilee that it gains its famous salinity, mineral content, and reputed therapeutic powers. It's all due to the water's low allergen content combined with ultraviolet radiation and high atmospheric pressure – the result of being more than a quarter mile below sea level. It's the lowest spot on land in the entire world.
On a cruise ship? Meet your guide on the pier, in front of the ship. Please look for the GoBe Representative holding our logo sign with your name. Staying at a hotel? Be sure to advise the GoTo Crew so we can meet you in the lobby.
There is a souvenir/snack shop inside the cable car terminal. The walkways of the top of Masada are gravel and you need to be sure-footed. Leave the high heels for another day and pack your water shoes for the muddy bottom of the Dead Sea. The photo opportunities on the top of Masada are incredible. There are changing facilities/lockers at the Dead Sea swimming area. Don't forget the sunscreen and a towel and remember shampoo, shower gel and body lotion for after your swim.
Plan to walk for less than a half mile, over paved/gravel/cobblestone paths and up steps. If your mobility is limited, this tour may be too challenging for you to enjoy and maintain the pace of the group. It is not wheelchair accessible.
Bus Tour, Cultural, Scenic
46-seat Air-conditioned Motorcoach
Lunch - Local Favorites
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
If you have a fear of heights, this may not be a suitable excursion for you. Any swimming is at each participant's own risk.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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