Tel Aviv, Israel 68168
Masada and The Dead Sea Tour (31)
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Pass the Inn of the Good Samaritan on the descent through the Judean Desert to the Dead Sea. Ascend Masada by cable car and see the remains of the Herodian fortress where the Zealots were overcome by the Romans in 73 CE. Enjoy the therapeutic benefits of a mud bath and a swim in the Dead Sea. On the return journey view the oasis of Ein Gedi, the caves at Qumran in which the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and Jericho, the oldest city in the world.
As we descend 1,200 meters from Jerusalem through the wilderness of the Judean Desert to the Dead Sea, we pass the Inn of the Good Samaritan and stop briefly at the “sea level” marker. In the distance we see Jericho, the oldest city in the world, perhaps due to its luxuriant oasis and its proximity to the Dead Sea, an ancient source of salt and we recall the conquest of Jericho by the Israelite tribes, led by Joshua, who had just crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land. (Josh 6).
We continue along the shores of the Dead Sea to Masada. As we ascend in the cable car, we look down at the Snake path which was used two thousand years ago when King Herod built this fortress like palace. In fact, there were two palaces, as well as a swimming pool and a well-preserved beautiful bath-house.
Maintained by a small Roman legion after the death of Herod, it was seized by Jewish zealots at the beginning of the Jewish revolt against the Romans which culminated in the destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70 CE. We stand over the ramp, built for the Romans by their Jewish slaves, which facilitated the breaching of the wall after three years of siege.
The synagogue, which was built by Herod, proved conclusively to those who doubted that there were synagogues even while the Second Temple stood. We see where the first piece of parchment to be discovered in an Israeli archaeological excavation was found. And on it, legible to the naked eye were the words of the prophet Ezekiel, the “dry bones” prophecy, ending with the promise “I will take the children of Israel from among the nations … and bring them in to their own land … and the nations shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel …” (Ezek 37)
On our return journey we pass the oasis of Ein Gedi where David hid from the wrath of King Saul (I Sam 24:1ff) and Qumran where the two thousand year old Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.
Finally we enjoy a therapeutic swim in the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, where the water is almost 35% salt and even those who cannot swim can float.
Change of vehicle required for transfers of pick up / drop off destinations to save time,
avoid traffic and delay!
Airport drop off is available for additional 65$ per person
Recommended hats, bathing suits, towels, comfortable shoes and beach thongs.
Business class - small groups in luxury van / minibus.
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Inn of the Good Samaritan
The Masada and Dead Sea tour begins by passing the Inn of the Good Samaritan the setting for the parable told by Jesus about a good man who helped a stranger. The tour continues south into the Judean Desert.
This harsh desert landscape doesn't offer rolling sand dunes but harsh wilderness of ever descending escarpments. There are exquisite views as we take the hairpin bends in the mountainous roads. The Judean Desert is where Jesus was led by the spirit into the wilderness as mentioned in Matthew 4:1.
From the heights of the Judean Desert we get our first glimpse of the Dead Sea with it's brilliant blue water and white salt deposits. Floating in the Dead Sea is a once in a lifetime experiences and a not to be missed photo-op! Buy some Dead Sea skin products, lather yourself in black mineral mud and relax in the safest sun on earth. Because of the Dead Sea being 423 meters below sea level there is low ultra-violet radiation from the sun. There is also a beneficially high concentration of oxygen in the air and minerals in the water. In the Bible King David took refuge here and it is mentioned in Chronicles 2:20. Also known as the "Sea of Lot" see if you can spot the Pillar of Lot's wife as you drive away from the Dead Sea towards Masada!
Lucky for you there is a cable car that will take you up to the top of Mount Masada so there is no need to climb the Snake Path or Roman Ramp. On the plateau of Masada we see the remains of Herod's fortified Palace built in the 1st century BC and later used by Jewish Zealots as the last Jewish stronghold in the Holy land. The Jews were eventually defeated by the Romans in the 1st century AD but instead of surrendering they committed suicide. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has well preserved mosaics, bathhouses and synagogues. The breathtaking view of the Judean Desert and Dead Sea are unbeatable.
This peaceful stop next to the Dead Sea is verdant green in comparison with the stark desert surroundings. Ein Gedi is an oasis with abundant desert wildlife, small streams, natural springs and waterfalls as well as ancient remains. Ein Gedi is a successful Kibbutz and one of the places where you can swim in the Dead Sea. In the Bible Ein Gedi is mentioned several times as a city of the tribe of Judah and a hiding place for King David but it features in the "Song of Songs".
Our tour continues to the caves where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. 122 Old Testament scrolls were found in the 11 caves in the Qumran cliff face. Today the scrolls are on display in Jerusalem in the Museum Shrine of the Book.
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