Mountaintop and Valley Low

Today we headed south to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on Earth.  But before the compulsory float in the sea we headed for the to of a mountain, Masada.


The fortress is an amazing place with an amazing history and an even more amazing temperature.  It was 45C!!!

It was one of my favourite places we visited, full of echoes of the past, stunning views and remarkable architecture.

Masada was the scene of a strange battle where a small group of Judean rebels held out against the Romans for 2 years.  The Romans built an earth ramp to the top of the mountain and pushed a siege engine to the top!

The account of the siege of Masada was related to Josephus by two women who survived the suicide by hiding inside a cistern along with five children, and repeated Eleazar ben Ya’ir‘s exhortations to his followers, prior to the mass suicide, verbatim to the Romans. Because Judaism strongly discourages suicide, Josephus reported that the defenders had drawn lots and killed each other in turn, down to the last man, who would be the only one to actually take his own life.

After the scorching mountain we headed down to the Dead Sea for a float and lunch.  Odd sensation.  Not unpleasant, just odd.

Qumran was our final destination to see where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  By now we were just too hot.  The blistering sun reflecting on the white rocks was taking its toll.  The site is fascinating but we spent most of the time looking for shade!


From here it was off to Bethlehem…  A journey made by someone else a while ago.