Masada and the Dead Sea
We are on our way to the lowest place on earth. Our journey to the Dead Sea via Highway 1 is actually a journey from the highest spiritual location to the lowest physical one. A very beautiful road that actually connects us to the eastern desert of Israel, which is the Judean Desert. On our way, we will go through the most ancient city in the world, which is called the “City of Palm Trees” – this is, of course, Jericho, the lowest-located city in the world.
Our first station will be at the northern area of the Dead Sea called Qumran. At this site, eleven caves were found, in which the Dead Seas Scrolls were discovered. The scrolls date back to the Second Temple period, i.e. 2000 years ago, and are considered one of the most important archaeological artefacts of Israel. We will tell the story of discovering the scrolls and their journey until they made it to the Shrine of the Book. We will try to figure out who wrote these scrolls and will become acquainted with a mysterious Jewish sect that lived here during the Second Temple period.
Afterwards, we will continue our journey to the next site, which is the Masada, the most visited site in Israel, which attracts tourists from all over the world, who come here to discover the story of the last stronghold of the Jewish revolt against the Romans, the Roman siege, and of course, the story about the suicide of the last of the rebels. We will go up to Masada by a cable car (there is also an option to go by foot) and tour the site recognized by UNESCO as the World Heritage Site due to its architectural value and impressive structures. We will tell the story of Herod the Great, King of Judah, who created this architecture. We will try to understand the reasons for building such desert fortresses as the Masada and observe the breathtaking landscape of the Dead Sea, as well as the Ammon and Moab mountains of Jordan.
We will proceed to one of the Dead Sea beaches and bath in the Dead Sea itself, which has the highest salt concentration in the world. Bathing in the Dead Sea is an extraordinary experience, since water texture is completely different from what people are used to. Dead Sea water contains a large amount of vitamins and minerals beneficial for the skin – a true natural spa at the lowest location in the world.
We can also visit the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve located along our way and includes a national park and an oasis in the heart of the Judean Desert. This unique site entails walking the trails alongside water brooks, watching the waterfalls, an option of bathing during the journey and we might even meet ibexes and hyraxes. While visiting the nature reserve, we will get a chance to visit an ancient synagogue that preserved one of the most impressive mosaic floors that can be seen in Israel and sheds the light on the Jewish community that lived in the ancient settlement of Ein Gedi.