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Why Masada
is special

Masada ("fortress") is the historic site where Jewish zealots committed suicide in 73 BC rather than surrender to the Roman army. This  ancient complex is also famous for its awesome setting. It is perched on a high, flat cliff-sided mount (see photo) overlooking the Dead Sea.

tips & insights

History in brief

Jewish zealots captured Masada from the Roman military, who later put it under a successful siege. Rather than surrendering and become enslaved, nearly a thousand zealots committed mass suicide, according to the 1st-century historian Josephus Flavius. Today, that story is an integral part of Israel's heritage.

Note: Some archaeological evidence disputes the magnitude of the mass suicide reported by Josephus Flavius.

Top to do's

They include:

Absorbing the site's rich history as you explore highlights including the palaces, synagogue, bath house, and storehouses.

Enjoying the sweeping views of the Dead Sea and surrounding arid landscapes.

Walking up the long, steep 275 Snake Path that zig-zags from the mount's foot to its top. If you're not physically fit, take the modern cable car.

See the inspiring sunrise from the summit (requires hiking up the Snake Path because the cable cars don't start operating until after dawn).

Day trip

Masada is slightly over an hour from Jerusalem. Tours and rental cars are available.

How to pronounce

Masada = meht-zah-dah (not mah-sah-dah)

Location in Israel

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