Like the entire state of Israel and God’s chosen people, Masada embodies the spirit and tenacity of of His people. I had the mistaken idea that after we took the cable car to the top, we would see a few caves where the Jewish rebels hid from the Romans. Of course, it was nothing like that. King Herod had built it as a fortress and winter palace, which included the large Western Palace, the Northern Palace, three small guest palaces, storage rooms, bathhouses, cisterns, living quarters. Some Jewish rebels called Sicarii (sica, meaning curved dagger) conquered Masada around 66 AD. The last of the rebels fled to Masada after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. and joined those under the command of Eleazar Ben Yair. They added a synagogue and mikvehs (Jewish ritual baths). It took Flavius Silva commander of the 10 Legion (of 8,000 troops) months to conquer, after building eight camps, a siege wall and a ramp. (73 or 74 AD) When they finally managed to reach the top after numerous battles, they found nothing but dead people, who chose to take their own lives rather than surrender and become Roman slaves. According to Josephus, two women and five children were found alive, hiding in cisterns.
This was the most physically difficult day we had. Not only was it very hot, but all the climbing up and down was a strain on our knees, feet and back. Actually, I would say none of their “tourist sites” are for sissies. I thought this would take us 30 or 45 minutes. We were there 2 1/2 or 3 hours and could have stayed longer if we hadn’t been so worn out. You’ll see I had a hat and long sleeves on (to protect from the sun) and very thankful to have my sturdy (not cute shoes on). I did see a lot of gals in short shorts and flip flops. I suspect they didn’t stay long or explore much of the area. If so, they were much tougher than me. My knees will either be tough as stone (like everything here) when I get back, or I will need two knee replacements:)