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Masada and Dead Sea Private Tour from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem

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Stop At: Masada National Park, Some 18 km south of Ein Gedi or 12 km from Ein Bokek to the cable car on the east side., Masada 8698000 Israel

MASSADA AND DEAD SEA

Herod & Fortress and palaces; Swim in the Dead Sea

Descend 1,200 meters from Jerusalem through the wilderness to the Dead Sea and, with Jericho in the distance, we recall its conquest by the Israelite tribes, led by Joshua, who had just crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land. 

We continue along the shores of the Dead Sea to Masada. As we ascend in the cable car, we look down at the Snake path which was used two thousand years ago when King Herod built this fortress cum palace. In fact, there were two palaces, as well as a swimming pool and a well-preserved beautiful bath-house.

Maintained by a small Roman legion after the death of Herod, it was seized by Jewish zealots at the beginning of the Jewish revolt against the Romans which culminated in the destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70 CE. We stand over the ramp, built for the Romans by their Jewish slaves, which facilitated the breaching of the wall after three years of siege.

The synagogue, which was built by Herod, proved conclusively to those who doubted that there were synagogues even while the Second Temple stood. We see where the first piece of parchment to be discovered in an Israeli archaeological excavation was found. And on it, legible to the naked eye were the words of the prophet Ezekiel, the “dry bones” prophecy, ending with the promise “I will take the children of Israel from among the nations … and bring them in to their own land … and the nations shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel …” 

On our return journey we pass the oasis of Ein Gedi where David hid from the wrath of King Saul and stop to see the caves at Qumran where the two thousand year old Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.

At a Dead Sea resort we take the opportunity to cover ourselves with black mud, even our faces and bald spots! As long as two thousand years ago, Queen Cleopatra realised that it was the mud which kept her young and alluring for Mark Anthony! We wash the mud off in the sulphur pool, fed by the nearby springs.

Finally we enjoy a therapeutic swim in the Dead Sea. The water is almost 35% salt and even those who cannot swim can float.

Tired but feeling and looking years younger we end the day!! .

Duration: 10 hours
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