Before going to Israel, I knew nothing about Masada. However, after hearing all the history behind it, I will say that it is one of the places that most interested me on the trip. The sad news was that we had an extremely fussy boy, so Paul and I had to leave the site a little earlier than we would have liked...therefore, we had limited pictures.
Masada is located along the Dead Sea, and is actually 2,000 feet above the Dead Sea. It was one of Herod's three fortress cities that served as a winter palace. Since Masada is located high up in the rocks, we took a gondola ride there. (Since we left early, Paul and I did hike down with Micah-which took over 30 minutes, but thankfully it put him to sleep!). It was neat to walk around and see where Herod made his bedroom, bathhouse, etc. Herod's room was on the corner with a beautiful view as well as a much needed breeze-even in Janurary it was hot there! I cannot imagine building a home in the midst of rocks...we truly are blessed!
The story that caught my attention started in 66 AD when a group of Jewish Zealots fled here to escape the persecution of the Romans. For 3 years this group held off the Roman army. However, as the Romans got closer, they all decided to commit suicide in April of 73 AD. Sadly, 960 men, women, and children died in lieu of being ravaged by the Roman army.
The Dead Sea (which is 2 1/2 miles away from Masada)
Another view from the top