Filed under : Adventure Travel, Middle East

Masada is Popular Senior Visitor Site

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Masada (Hebrew for fortress) is the most popular senior tourist attraction in Israel. Tourism in Israel is one of the country’s major sources of income, with over 3 million tourists annually. Israel offers a plethora of historical and religious sites, beach resorts, archaeological tourism, heritage tourism and ecotourism.

Israel has 6 world heritage sites and a tentative list of 19 that are awaiting approval. In 2009, the two most visited sites were the Western Wall and the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai; the most popular paid tourist attraction is Masada. My mother and father-in law visited Masada and it was one of their most memorable visits in Israel.

A Rugged Fortress

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Masada is a rugged natural fortress, of majestic beauty, in the Judaean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea. It is a symbol of the ancient kingdom of Israel, its violent destruction and the last stand of Jewish patriots in the face of the Roman army, in 73 A.D.

It was built as a palace complex, in the classic style of the early Roman Empire, by Herod the Great, King of Judaea, (reigned 37 – 4 B.C.). The camps, fortifications and attack ramp that encircle the monument constitute the most complete Roman siege works surviving to the present day.

Masada was Herod‘s royal citadel and later the last outpost of Zealots during the Jewish Revolt. The citadel was a site of the most dramatic and symbolic act in Jewish history, where rebels chose mass suicide rather than submit to Roman capture. Today it is where every single new Israeli soldier, man and woman alike, is sworn into the army.

Seniors Visit a Palace High On a CliffImage 17

The cliffs on the east edge of Masada are about 1,300 feet high and the cliffs on the west are about 300 feet high; the natural approaches to the cliff top are very difficult.

Masada is an archaeological site of great significance. The remains of Herod’s palaces are outstanding and very intact examples of this type of architecture, while the untouched siege works are the finest and most complete anywhere in the Roman world.

Masada remained untouched for more than thirteen centuries. The buildings and other evidence of human settlement gradually collapsed and were covered over until they were revealed in the 1960s.

Senior visitors take a cable car to the summit of this dramatically located site to enjoy the great natural beauty overlooking the Dead Sea.  On any visit to Israel, seniors will want  to include Masada into their itinerary.  jeb


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