Masada Exploration, the Dead Sea, and Lunch
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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.
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.