Masada is a top tourist destination in Israel with great historical importance which makes it a great destination to go for history lovers. Masada is an ancient fortress situated in a strategic location on a flat plateau above the Dead Sea and it is listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The building is among the top archaeological sites in Israel and you must not miss it while in Israel. You can easily get to the building through a cable car and you will be mesmerized by the history of this building when exploring it.
Top places to go
Go sightseeing at Masada Museum
This is the best place to start exploring the Masada if you want to get an insight into the importance of Masada. You are going to find the museum in the Masada Visitor’s Center and it displays a mind-blowing collection of artifacts that were unearthed here. By visiting the museum, you will get to know more about the importance of Masada in Jewish history and also understand the site in detail. The museum has an audio guide to guide you around the museum and it is included in the admission price.
Explore the Paths to the Summit
There are different ways that you can climb to the summit of the Masada like hiking to the peak or taking a cable car that leaves every 10 minutes from the visitor’s center. If you are planning to hike to the top, there are two ways that you can take to the top. If you have limited time, you can take the Ramp Trail which is a short walk to the top. For the full experience, you can hike up the Snake Trail which can take about an hour and it offers stunning views.
Visit the Northern Palace
This palace can be found in the northern part of the plateau and it comprises structures on three levels. The upper part of the palace features the Herod’s residential apartments which end in a semicircle where you can enjoy views of the two lower terraces. You can then head to the middle terrace through a modern flight of steps located on the west side. You are going to find water cisterns in the rock on your way down to the middle terrace. The middle terrace was built mainly for leisure and relaxation according to the archaeologists, you can then head to the lower terrace which features a peristyle with fluted Corinthian columns that stands on a wall with painted plaster.
You are going to find the remains of a synagogue against the fortress walls of this site and it is believed to be among the oldest synagogues in the world. The roof of the building was constructed on columns and it is believed that the building was divided into two parts by a wall during the time of Herod. The structure of the building was then altered by the Zealots who installed stone benches. Lots of scrolls were found here and you can head to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem to see these archaeological finds.
Enjoy the Sound and Light Show
If you are lucky to be here during the warmer months from March to October, you are going to enjoy thrilling sound and light show. The show is done twice weekly on Tuesday and Thursday and it is a great way to learn about the history of Masada. The show is hosted in the Masada amphitheater and you should make sure you do not miss this if you are planning to stay in the Masada area for the night instead of a day trip.
Go sightseeing at Byzantine Church
You are going to find this church in the southeast of the synagogue. It is a partially preserved remain of a church that was constructed by the Byzantine monks that lived in the area during the 5th century. You are going to enter the church through a vestibule and on the east end of the church, there is an apse that is believed to be used for keeping relics. You can also explore the northern part of the nave which is a mosaic pavement with representations of fruits and plants.