Herodium National Park is a designated national park established to protect and preserve the ancient site of Herodium. The park encompasses a massive complex that was built by Herod the Great between 23 and 20 BCE and was one of his most ambitious building projects. Situated nine miles south of Jerusalem and three miles south-east of Bethlehem, the vast complex of Herodium National Park features two sections and is believed to be one of the most daring structures of the ancient world.
Herodium National Park: History and Archeology
Constructed by the Judean “builder-king,” the complex is divided into two sections: Upper Herodium and Lower Herodium. In fact, both of which feature an array of ancient remains. Including a summer palace and fortress; a bathhouse, a small theater; several cisterns; caves; escape tunnels, and the remains of Herod’s tomb.
In fact, Herod created a cone-shaped artificial mountain he called Mount Herod and built a royal ‘country club’ at its base which featured several swimming pools and a splendid bathhouse. Furthermore, the complex was surrounded by magnificent gardens that were irrigated by the pools; forming a lush oasis in the heart of the desert.
So the Upper part of Herodium National Park was the site of Herod’s splendid fortress and palace which offered breathtaking views of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the arid Judean Desert. Furthermore, the seven-story palace featured several courtyards, an opulent bathhouse; banquet rooms; and a 400-seat Roman theatre; as well as extravagant living quarters.
The Last Days of Herodium
Once Herod died at 4 BCE and eventually, the Great Revolt started very little of the palace remained. Still, it was used as a base by the Jews during the Great Revolt of the Jews against the Romans can still be seen. Also, the synagogue has stone benches and several supporting columns, and wonderful views. The remains of Herod’s tomb are situated on the outer slope of the hill with views over Jerusalem.
Lastly, the lower part of Herodium National Park features several cisterns; caves; and escape tunnels that were carved out by Jewish fighters during the Bar Kokhba Revolt and can be explored by visitors on one of my guided tours of Herodium. In fact, on my guided tours I discuss in great detail the different excavations that took place here. I like to talk about the different excavations and how the tomb of Herod was found. It is quite an interesting story! And even more tragic what happened to the one that discovered the tomb! All this and much more I share with the guest that joins me on a private tour! So don’t think about it too much! and get in touch.
Opening Hours of Herodium National Park
Entrance to the park closes one hour before closing time!
Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 17:00 – 08:00
Friday and holiday eves: 16:00 – 08:00
Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 16:00 – 08:00
Friday and holiday eves: 15:00 – 08:00
Holiday eves: 13:00 – 08:00
Yom Kippur eve: 13:00 – 08:00