Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Israel Odyssey Day 5/6

After the Independence Day celebrations in Jerusalem, I traveled to Rehovot to visit the Ayalon Institute. It's a very interesting story and a testament to the ingenuity of the Israelis who were resisting the British occupation and preparing for the War of Independence. The story of the institute can be found here, here, and here.

Driving south from Jerusalem past the Dead Sea to Masada seemed like a very touristy thing to do, but there I was - a tourist in the land of my forefathers. The scenic photos can't possibly do the view justice. There's no way to capture the vast expanse of the Negev and the view of the Dead Sea. the top of Masada itself is about 190 feet above sea level, which doesn't seem very high, but the base of the mountain is at the level of the Dead Sea, the lowest place on land of the entire Earth, so from it's base to its peak the mountain is about 1500 feet. The story of the city built on the peak is quite engaging. The best source was written by Josephus, a hebrew scholar/historian of the first century BCE.

For a change, the photos are in color and not particularly people oriented. This is the view from the tourist center at the base of the mountain from inside the tram car, with a view of the tram terminal at the top of the mountain:

Near the top of the mountain looking down at the tourist center. The rectangular excavation to the left of the tram cables is the outline of one of the Roman camps surrounding the mountain:

At the top of the mountain entrance to the ruins, IDF security forces to secure the area:

Part of the excavations of the camp. The size of the encampment was so large that the inhabitants maintained themselves with crop fields for their own food and for their flocks of animals. Water for the encampment was provided by huge cisterns all around the sides of the mountain:

Looking out from the northeast corner of the mountain with the Dead Sea in the background: