Masada is an ancient fortification in the Southern District of Israel, on top of an isolated rock plateau on the eastern edge of the Judean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea. Apart from the archaeology, the site’s iconic setting has made it a popular place for concerts and events throughout the year.
In the past few years Masada has been an attraction for many artists who perform on top of this beautiful mountain. One of the most amazing shows is the Masada Sound and Light Show. This spectacular show tells the story of the Jewish rebels and their last few days at the apex of this large cliff-top fortress. Presented against the dramatic backdrop of the western side of Masada, it tells the story of the rebels’ last days. The show takes place throughout the summer months.
Most of the shows start at dawn just as the sun touches the ancient stone ruins. It’s a magical appearance. I had the chance to see one of the most famous singers in Israel, Ehud Banai. For me it was an outstanding experience; the sun was coming out and the music was amazing. I just didn’t want it to end. Apart from concerts, there are lots of ways to experience this extraordinary place.
Many tours of Masada leave from Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. Public transportation is not easy to find, so these tours provide visitors with the opportunity to access the site. Most Masada tours also include visits to the Dead Sea.
The Masada Sunrise Group Tour allows you to climb Masada at sunrise, continue to hike at Ein Gedi and float in the Dead Sea. This is a tour designed for people interested in hiking. It leaves from Jerusalem.
The Masada, Ein Gedi and Dead Sea Group Tour offers a similar experience, with the difference that it doesn’t begin at sunrise. This tour also originates in Jerusalem. The Masada and Dead Sea Group Tour is a bus tour that ascends Masada via cable car and goes on to the Dead Sea. This tour is available from either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Masada Private Day Tours are also available. These custom tours are usually day tours that go to Masada, Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea, plus a couple of other sites as desired. These private tours leave from wherever you like. You can learn more about the trips to Masada on the national park’s official website, masada.org.il/masada-national-park. The site is in English, so it’s very easy to read about all the tours offered and book a tour before you go.
For those of you who are staying in hotels in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and want to visit Masada and/or the Dead Sea, go down to your hotel’s front desk and they will help you find a trip that will pick you up from the hotel and bring you back there.
Interesting Facts: Some historians believe that the Zealots did not fight because Jewish captives might have been forced to build the rampart and fight on the Roman side.
Some of the most exciting sites that can be seen at Masada today include two mikvahs that have been found to perfectly meet all halachic standards, as well as the only synagogue preserved from the time of the Second Temple. In order to provide water in the middle of a desert where rainwater is woefully scarce – barely one inch of rain falls annually – Herod built an intricate system of aqueducts to drain every drop of rainwater from the nearby wadis into the Masada cisterns.
Natalie Nahome is the Israeli Shlicha (emissary) to the Jewish community of Portland