Home / Individual one-day excursions from Jerusalem and other cities of Israel 2023 (34 routes) / 19. Archaeological Parks of the Judean Desert: Herodium, Mosaic Museum, Qumran, Masada
Excursion number 19
Archaeological Parks of the Judean Desert: Herodium, Mosaic Museum, Qumran, Masada
Ruins of the fortress Masada
© Photo by Tour Guide Paul, April 29, 2010
Herodium (al-Greek Ἡρώδειον, Latin Herodium, Hebrew הרודיון) is a national archaeological park located 15 kilometers south of Jerusalem and 5 kilometers to the south-east of Bethlehem. A unique fortress was built approximately in 20-23 years BC. and its name is dedicated to the historical character of Herod the Great. At this place Herod defeated the army of Matthias Antigone II, the last king of the Hasmonean dynasty. Herodion fortress is divided into upper and lower parts, at the time of construction it was a building with a height of 8 floors and a house on a manmade hill. Herod's palace was in the Upper Herodion. During the excavations in different periods, underground water tanks, buildings with towers, a bathhouse were discovered. From 1972 to 1888, there was also discovered a whole system of secret fortifications during the Kochba Bar revolt period with tunnels and hammers for sudden attacks. In 2007, the grave of King Herod was found in Herodion.
The museum of mosaics called the Museum of the Good Samaritan is unique and one of the largest museums in the world with a collection of unique mosaics of different periods found in the Holy Land. The museum opened relatively recently on June 4, 2009, but since then it has become very popular in tourist and pilgrimage routes. The exposition of the museum is filled with unique artifacts of mosaics found in the ruins of ancient synagogues, churches and monasteries in the territory of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. In the Byzantine period, this place was an inn, which is mentioned in the "Parable of the Good Samaritan" (Luke 10: 25-37). The museum is in a convenient location near the highway on the way from Jerusalem on its way to the site of the Epiphany on the Jordan River.
Qumran is a unique archaeological park one and a half kilometers from the northwest coast of the Dead Sea on the west bank of the Jordan River, not far from the Israeli kibbutz Kalia. The first settlements during the time of the Hasmonean reign of John Hyrcanus were known as early as the period 134-104 BC. Qumran became world famous after finding a cache with scrolls in caves in steep cliffs and in lower marl benches. Scrolls of the Dead Sea or the Qumran scrolls are the subject of close study of scientists. Between 1947 and 1956, around 900 scrolls of varying degrees of preservation were found here, mostly written on parchment, as well as on papyrus, as well as elements of kilns for ceramics and a tower. Some scholars associate the ruins of the Qumran archaeological complex with the Jewish sect of the villages that lived here in the 2nd century BC.
Masada (Hebrew מצדה, metsada - "fortress") - an ancient fortress, located on the south-west coast of the Dead Sea, in the State of Israel. It is located near the modern city of Arad, by the Ein Gedi highway - Ein Bokek. This unique fortress, overlooking the majestic cliffs of the Judean Desert, about 450 meters above sea level, was founded in 25 BC by King Herod I the Great, an Edomite and the founder of the Jewish dynasty of Herodias, on the basis of the fortress of the Hasmonean period of 31-37 BC. e. The fortress was equipped with a unique water supply system, warehouses and weapons stores were built there. It contained the gold of King Jordan. The strategic importance of the fortress was underscored by the unique geographic position, when rocks were surrounded by Masada on all sides. In 66 CE, the fortress was captured by rebellious Zealots - representatives of the socio-political and religious eschatological trend in Judea, which arose in the era of the Maccabees in the second half of the 1st century BC. e. and finally formed in the middle of the 1st century AD. The main goal of the Zealots was the abolition of the Hellenistic influence and the overthrow of the Roman domination, for the achievement of which any means were considered suitable. By the middle of the 1st century AD. e. The Zealots were formed into a political party to fight the legacy of the king of Judea, Herod the Great. From the facade of the Jerusalem temple, rebuilt by Herod, they knocked down the golden eagle as inducing to idolatry and hinting at Roman domination. The Zealots, being irreconcilable opponents of the Romans, decided to fight to the end, justifying this also by the fact that only the Messiah, a descendant of David, can manage Israel. The most brave warriors stood out in a separate wing and received from the Romans the nickname of "sikaria" ("assassins", "daggers"). Their radical warlike actions led to a war with the Romans. Thus, one of the sycaries, Menachem, son of Judas, having captured the fortress of Masada, was interrupted by a Roman garrison. Captured the Ambush, held it for three years, until the last of the 960 besieged defenders of the fortress committed suicide. In the modern archaeological park on top of a flat trapezoid plateau, surrounded by powerful walls of 1400 meters in length, there are ruins of public buildings, palaces of King Jorda with unique mosaics, a synagogue, a water tank, the ruins of a Byzantine monastery from the 5th century. The fortress can be reached by cable car - cable car, or by mountain trails on the east and west sides.
The excursion begins at the place of accommodation of the tourists in Jerusalem (the address and time of the excursion beginning is indicated in advance by the guide). On the tour you need to have comfortable shoes, drinking water and a hat from the sun. Clothes should be like when visiting temples (men should not visit temples in shorts, women should have clothes with closed shoulders, do not have a neckline, short skirts and shorts, you can wear trousers). At the request of tourists to the tour, you can add a visit to the city of Bethlehem, subject to departure from Jerusalem. To cross the border post between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, tourists need to have a passport with them.
The price for all participants of the excursion on our car with departure from Jerusalem is $ 650 (with the number of up to 6 people in the car), and $ 850 (with the number of participants from 7 to 15 people).
When you leave for a tour from Tel Aviv and its environs on our car, the price for up to 6 people is $ 800, and from 7 to 15 people - $ 1000.
If the tourists have a rented car, the price is $ 400 for all participants of the excursion, provided that the excursion begins in Jerusalem.
We wish you a pleasant stay and an exciting journey and pilgrimage!
Prices are quoted in USD
The price does not include the cost of paid entries along the route.
The tour starts from Jerusalem.
In case of accommodation of participants of excursion in Tel Aviv and its vicinities or in other cities of Israel, we can help to get to Jerusalem by public transport.
There is a possibility of delivery on excursions and back on our transport from the area of Tel Aviv and its environs and the Dead Sea for an additional fee.
The program provides an overview of the main attractions.
The program takes into account the wishes of the excursion.
A detailed program, taking into account the wishes of the excursionist, is made after consent to the cost of the services.
(License of a certified guide in English from the Ministry of Tourism of the State of Israel No. 10103)
You can order the tour by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
And also by calling: + 972-545-336-297 (Wats up / Viber / Telegram), (in Israel: 054-5336-297)
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