Masada, a rough natural fortress of immense beauty, stands on the Judean Desert. It had witnessed many incidents in the of Israel’s history starting from its fierce destruction to the great stand against the Roman army by the Jewish patriots in the year 73 AD King Herod of Judea built a massively beautiful palace on this natural fortress. This plush palace was built in conventional Roman style. In 73 AD, the Jewish patriots who stood up against the Roman forces finally took shelter in this palace, where they chose to embrace death than to become the slaves of their enemies who surrounded the palace. This makes the fortress of much significance to the Jewish.

Not only is the palace on Masada symbolically significant to the Jewish people but also it has a great architecture that makes it of high value for historians, artists, architects and many others. The relics of the palace built by Herod are magnificent. Herod the Great ruled Judea from 37 BC to 4 AD, when he got the Masada complex constructed. The Masada complex along with its triple terraced hanging palace is an awesome example of luxurious architectural design, which was richly engineered and built under harsh conditions. There are some conventionally Roman Royal buildings on the northern side of the palace. The water system at Masada was exceptional with provision for collection of run-off water out of one day’s rain so as to support life for around one thousand individuals over a time span of about 2 to 3 years. This was an achievement that helped in converting a barren and lonely parched hilltop into plush green retreat.

Masada is also the poignant symbol for the non-ending human struggle for freedom from oppression. When this naturally protective structure, strengthened further with enormous walls, was used by the surviving Jewish patriots against Roman tyranny, it was surrounded from all sides by the mighty Roman army.


As a result of the loneliness, and the extreme climatic condition in Judean Desert’s southern end, Masada remained totally neglected ever after since the fall of the Byzantine monastic habitat in the sixth century AD. This place remained as it is for around 1300 years until it was again discovered in the year 1828.

Another very interesting fact is that Masada’s setting did not change and the wonderful wild landscape was the same even after so many millennia. However, the slight disturbance is due the cable car systems. However, that is also removed to a newer location in order to minimize landscape destruction.


The site remained totally untouched for greater than thirteen hundred years. All the buildings at the site were destroyed and all evidences for human habitat’s existence were totally buried under the destroyed structures. When the site was discovered in the 1960s a huge lot of facts were unearthed. Other than anastylosis up to a reasonable limit, no reconstruction or additional activities were done at the sight. However, little restoration was done so as to allow the visitors to be able to understand the actual level of architecture. 

Protection and Administration

The desert of Judea remains a thinly populated area. Moreover, in this region, the prevalence of harsh climatic conditions has created a great hindrance in the path of modernization, in terms of urban or rural development.

The properties as well as the safeguarded area both are now under the Israeli state. The Archaeological structures are protected by law under the Antiquities Law, 1978.With a huge number of laws, the Masada site have been protected from getting destroyed. It was raised to the level of National Park under some laws like National Parks, National Sites, Memorial Sites and National Reserves laws. Moreover, another shield to the site is the Judean Desert Nature Reserve.

The administration and management of the National Park is jointly handled by ‘Israel Nature and Parks Authority’ with ‘Israel Antiques Authority. Excavation projects have been stopped at the location, except very little excavation with proper authority only for the reasons of more research.

Reaching Masada

Having known about the extremely beautiful and historically rich Masada, if you are willing to get to Judea then you must book your trip immediately. There are several modes of transportation to this place. Anyone who reaches Israel would be able to take various roads to get to Masada. Most tourists get to Masada from the east through the Road 90, which runs along the coastline of Dead Sea. However, there is the other option of travelling via Road 3199 which comes from Arad on the western part. When you reach Masada you get to a parking lot and thereafter, climb a little for about fifteen to twenty minutes. There are also facilities of bus services which can be availed by paying 40 NIS when you start from Jerusalem. The routes that go to Masada are 486 and 421; the former starts from Jerusalem and the latter from Tel Aviv.

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