Ancient fortress and a national symbol for Israel.
Masada has a legendary status in Israeli mentality. Here the fight for Israeli and Jewish independence was fought with such strength and fidelity that the people taking this as their last resort, chose to die rather than surrender to the Romans.
With the fall of Masada in the year 73 CE, the state of Israel came to an end for a period of almost 1,900 years.
Moreover, the Masada has an exceptional geographical setting — one independent mountain rising up a couple of hundred meters, surrounded by breathtaking nature and overlooking most of the Dead Sea.
The people of Masada were a group of about 1,000 Zealots, including women and children. The Zealots were a group known for strong sentiments and great involvement in their religion.
1st century BCE: The Judean king Herod the Great has Masada built, due to the threat that Egypt and Cleopatra represented. The Masada is constructed with all facilities.
4 BE: Masada is captured at Herod’s death, and turned into a Roman garrison.
66 CE: The Masada is captured by the Zealots.
70: When Jerusalem falls into Roman hands, the Zealots take refuge in Masada. The Romans respond by besieging the fortress.
73: As the Romans have a huge earth assault ramp built from the west over to the summit of Masada, the Zealots realize that their defeat is near. Their leader, Eleazar Ben Yair, orders that all Zealots are to be killed. 10 men are appointed to kill the others, then 1 of the remaining 10, and then he commits suicide.
1963-65: The Masada is excavated, and has ever since been a tourist attraction, in addition to the position it enjoys as an Israeli national symbol.