Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Road to Masada

The one stunning fact we learnt on the way to Masada was how far the water level had plummeted. We passed a mark on the rock that was above the height of our bus and the road itself was several feet above the current level of the water. The mark had been made in 1917 by a British soldier in a boat!

We saw sink holes. Huge gashes in the landscape that fill with flood water and eventually that turns salty.

Masada almost defies words. Extremely dry. Unbelievably hot. Just above sea level - so given you start at a couple of hundred feet below it towers way above the surrounding land. Its a feat of architectural and mechanical brilliance and - I suspect - endurance. Josephus Flavius in his book War of the Jews tells the story of the zealots who chose death over being captured by the Romans. Hollywood glamorised it even more to the point that it begins to possibly distort it all. But according to Josephus only two women and five children survived the massacre and told the tale to the Romans.

We saw some intersting 'creative' archeology. Where stones have been added onto the remaining structures to better define them. Yes, they were there so did obviously come from some building but I'm not sure I agree with that much restoration. On the other hand we saw some fantastic frescos, their original colours still strong and vibrant.

Everywhere at Masada there were the most beautiful bird. Black with tan edges to their wings. They had a melodic song and loved to pose for the camera!

From there to lunch at the Lot Hotel and afterwards a float in the Dead Sea. Though I'd been in before I decided to give it a go. The texture of the water is silky smooth, like satin. But its hard to conquer the bouyancy and requires different skills and approaches to normally simple tasks like standing up!

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