Masada is a rugged natural fortress, of majestic beauty, in the Judaean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea. It is a symbol of the ancient kingdom of Israel, its violent destruction and the last stand of Jewish patriots in the face of the Roman army, in 73 A.D. It was built as a palace complex, in the classic style of the early Roman Empire, by Herod the Great, King of Judaea, (reigned 37 – 4 B.C.). The camps, fortifications and attack ramp that encircle the monument constitute the most complete Roman siege works surviving to the present day.
Masada is a dramatically located site of great natural beauty overlooking the Dead Sea, a rugged natural fortress on which the Judaean king Herod the Great constructed a sumptuous palace complex in classical Roman style. After Judaea became a province of the Roman Empire, it was the refuge of the last survivors of the Jewish revolt, who chose death rather than slavery when the Roman besiegers broke through their defences. As such it has an emblematic value for the Jewish people.
It is also an archaeological site of great significance. The remains of Herod’s palaces are outstanding and very intact examples of this type of architecture, whilst the untouched siegeworks are the finest and most complete anywhere in the Roman world.
The Masada complex, built by Herod the Great, King of Judaea, who reigned between 37 BCE and 4 CE, and particularly the “hanging” palace with its three terraces, is an outstanding example of opulent architectural design, elaborately engineered and constructed in extreme conditions. The palace on the northern face of the dramatic mountain site consists of an exceptional group of classical Roman Imperial buildings. The water system was particularly sophisticated, collecting run-off water from a single day’s rain to sustain life for a thousand people over a period of two to three years. This achievement allowed the transformation of a barren, isolated, arid hilltop into a lavish royal retreat.
When this natural defensive site, further strengthened by massive walls, was occupied by survivors of the Jewish Revolt against Roman rule, it was successfully besieged by a massive Roman army. The military camps, siegeworks and an attack ramp that encircle the site, and a network of legionary fortresses of quadrilateral plan, are the most complete anywhere in the Roman world. Masada is a poignant symbol of the continuing human struggle between oppression and liberty.
Criterion (iii): Masada is a symbol of the ancient Jewish Kingdom of Israel, of its violent destruction in the later 1st century CE, and of the subsequent Diaspora.
Criterion (iv): The Palace of Herod the Great at Masada is an outstanding example of a luxurious villa of the Early Roman Empire, whilst the camps and other fortifications that encircle the monument constitute the finest and most complete Roman siege works to have survived to the present day.
Criterion (vi): The tragic events during the last days of the Jewish refugees who occupied the fortress and palace of Masada make it a symbol both of Jewish cultural identity and, more universally, of the continuing human struggle between oppression and liberty.
Dimona is an Israeli city in the Negev desert, 30 kilometres (19 mi) to the south-east of Beersheba and 35 kilometres (22 mi) west of the Dead Sea above the Arava valley in the Southern District of Israel. In 2019 its population was 34,500. The Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center, colloquially known as the Dimona Reactor, is located 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) southeast of the city. Dimona was one of the development towns created in the 1950s under the leadership of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion. Dimona itself was conceived in 1953. The location chosen was close to the Dead Sea Works. It was established in 1955. The first residents were Jewish immigrants from North Africa, with an initial 36 families being the first to settle there. Its population in 1955 was about 300. The North African immigrants also constructed the city’s houses. The population was composed mainly of North African, particularly Moroccan immigrants, though immigrants from Yemen and Eastern Europe also arrived, as did Bene Israel immigrants from India [read more].
Jerusalem is the capital and largest city of Israel, though most other countries and the United Nations do not recognize it as Israel’s capital. The ancient city in the Judean Hills has a fascinating history spanning thousands of years. The city is holy to the three monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and serves as a spiritual, religious, and cultural center. Due to the religious significance of the city, and in particular the many sites of the Old City area, Jerusalem is one of the main tourist destinations in Israel. Jerusalem has many historic, archeological and cultural sites, along with vibrant and crowded shopping centers, cafés, and restaurants. Jerusalem of Gold, as it has come to be known in Hebrew, is a fascinatingly unique place where the first century rubs shoulders with the twenty-first century, each jostling for legitimacy and space, and where picturesque “old” neighborhoods nestle against glistening office towers and high-rise apartments [read more].
Tel Aviv is the second largest city in Israel (after Jerusalem), and the largest metropolitan area. It is on the Mediterranean coast, about 60 km northwest of Jerusalem and 100 km south of Haifa. The official name is Tel Aviv-Yafo, and reflects the fact that the city has grown beside (and absorbed) the ancient port city of Yafo (English: Jaffa), to the south of the new city center. Tel Aviv is home to most embassies in Israel. Tel Aviv is a rapidly growing city in the midst of an exciting transition from medium-sized urban center to bustling international metropolis. Its booming population, energy, edginess and 24-hour lifestyle give the city a cosmopolitan flair comparable to few other cities in this part of the world. Tel Aviv is not really divided into districts, but rather into over 50 different neighborhoods. Some neighborhoods are really distinctive areas with different cultures (e.g. Neve Tzedek, Florentin, Ramat-HaHayal), while others indicate a geographical area [read more].