Rishi Sankar: Ah Trini Travelogue

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Masada and the Dead Sea……

Posted by Rishiray on June 15, 2007


So leaving from the Dan Tel Aviv was a chore in itself this morning, since I had to rise quite early as Masada was a good two hours away from Tel Aviv. So on the way was pretty uneventful except for the young soldiers you pass on the road with those huge machine guns. Once you get to Masada there are two ways to get up the mountain. Now a bit about Masada :

Surrounded on all sides by deep ravines, overlooking the Dead Sea and cut off from civilization by the Judean desert, the fortress of Masada was built for the personal needs the Jews or the Romans would try to overthrow him, so he built for himself this private, luxurious fortress-palace.

Herod diverted the floods of the Judean desert into cisterns carved into the plateau of Masada, and stored there huge quantities of foods, and weapons – all for his personal use. Remains of Herod’s luxurious palace-fortress have been uncovered on Masada; so have the Roman bathhouse, storerooms and northern palace.

About 70 years after Herod’s death, Jewish Zealots turned Masada into their final bastion. The Romans, in their desire to lower Jewish morale, sent several legions to Masada. Their aim: to destroy the 960 men, women children who had fled Jerusalem after the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.

Unable to live their lives in the tradition of their forefathers, the defenders of Masada chose to die at their own hand rather than fall into the hands of the Romans and fall into slavery.

  1. Snake path up the mountain in the 43 degree desert heat with no water or break in between with a steep climb. This is the route of the old times and it takes about 2-3 hours to climb. This route is circuitous and long.. and of course we all know I am not about those things at all!
  2. The second way and the way I took, which was with the Masada cable car. Transportation up the mountain is basically a ski lift… the lift is fairly new and it is huge and can fit a lot of people inside. If you’re someone who is afraid of heights, you won’t have much anxiety as the cable car is quite large and it has seats. The views going up the Masada cable car are spectacular. The cablecar is pretty much the same style I saw in Zermatt going up the Matterhorn.Looking to see how far we travelled up! Definitely not for someone who is afraid of heights … but they can always close their eyes!As you dock into the Fortress, this is the view coming up!

    So once you get to the top of the Cable Car run, then you are greeted with this amazing panorama and it is possible to see the Dead Sea in the distance. The machinery itself doesn’t look stable in some ways but it is maintained very frequently; well so I was told by the guides up there.

    masada top

Once you are at the top, there are large sections cordoned off by walls and each section is well labelled and tells you the history of Masada, who occupied the rooms and what happened to the people in them.

So once we were done exploring Masada and getting the story, then it was off to the Dead Sea.

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