Let’s Go and Private Tour Masada! No doubt is one of my favorite private tours of Israel. What has Masada National Park that attracts so many visitors each year? Well first is the scenery. Masada is located on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea; Furthermore, it is an ancient fortress and a winter palace, built by Herod the Great. You’ll find Masada National Park on top of an isolated rock plateau, akin to a mesa. I guess that why Herod chose this location which is very isolated and safe from any potential assault.
In fact, Masada is one of Herod the Great architectural achievements. Especially the Northern Palace which is a three-level stepped palace lavishly decorated and fully equipped even with Roman Baths. But there is another important event why Masada is so important in Jewish history. It was where the last ending note of the 2nd Jewish Revolt took place. Up at the top of Masada, there were about 960 Jewish rebels that hid and confronted the Roman Tenth Legion. And according to Josephus Flavius eventually committed suicide.
One of the Most Ancient Synagogues in Israel
On my private tour of Masada, I like to mention that during the first season of excavations at Masada in 1963, Yigael Yadin and his crew discovered a strange structure forming part of the casemate wall on the northwest. It contained clay-plastered benches along all the walls and two rows of pillars in the center of the room. A second, smaller room was found next to it. On the floor were coins of the period of the Great Revolt.
Because the entrance faced east and the building as a whole was oriented toward Jerusalem and because one ostracon found on the was inscribed Hezekiah. So Yadin decided that this structure must have been a synagogue. This find was extremely important! Because, till that time; no synagogue earlier than the end of the second century CE had been discovered in Israel. For sure none that date to the time of the Second Temple period. This in spite of the fact the New Testament and Josephus Flavius’ words contain numerous literary attestations of the presence of synagogues during that period.
On my private tours of Masada, I will tell you all about the ancient scrolls they found at Masada. Including one right here at the synagogue. It was a portion of the Book of Ezekiel. Parts of chapter thirty-seven (which is the chapter with the vision of the dry bones). Since these scrolls were probably buried there before the destruction of Masada by the Romans; it most is dated no later than CE 73. You should also check out one of the best tours of Masada that I offer which is the Masada Sunrise Tour!