I’ve travelled a lot in my life, and this place is EASILY one of my favorite places on Earth.
First off, it is quite an architectural feat. The mountain has it’s OWNPLUMBINGSYSTEM! If you walk up the snake path, you’ll notice what appears to be a series of caves. These caves are “mouths” which collect rainwater into a big silo in the mountain’s center. Somehow, the water manages to get pushed up to the top of the mountain. This means that at the height of it’s popularity, around 72 CE, the fortress atop Masada had running water which filled it’s lavish baths. Amazing considering that in plain view is the largest body of undrinkable water.
Then we get into it’s later history involving a group of Jewish rebels who refused to go into Roman slavery. They took refuge at Masada, and managed to live there comfortably for quite some time, thumbing their noses at the Romans who were sent to capture them. But, the Romans were incredibly tenacious, and managed to build a ramp to the gates. When all hope was lost, and it seemed the Romans were to barge through the gates, the group decided to commit suicide. They drew a lottery to determine who would be the last man alive and would take his own life. When you visit and walk through the well-preserved ruins, you can feel their presence. As a Jew, Masada instills a great sense of pride, because these people fought to the end, just to be able to live as Jews. It is truly an inspiring and heartbreaking story which I won’t be able to do justice here, so if you are thinking of visiting, I urge you to read about it here:
… and to watch the movie Masada starring Peter O’Toole: