Nivi's Adventures

Monday, June 04, 2007

Maslul, Massada and the Dead Sea

We left Jerusalem on the sunday night to drive to Maslul, the little town where Asaf grew up. As was our style we arrived later than we'd planned and by the time we'd eaten and were ready for bed it was midnight. "Surely midnight isn't late for these harded travellers/partiers?" I hear you ask... Well no, not usually, but we were planning driving to Masada and then an hours climb up a mountain for sunrise - meaning we had to leave at 2am...

Despite Avi's masterly attempts to dissuade us from this ;) we soldiered on (excuse the pun). To those of you who don't get the pun - Masada was a Jewish fortress built by Herod the Great which was later laid siege to by the Romans for 3 years. It was such an effective fortress that in the end the Romans only got to the top by building a ramp made of earth and stones. However when the Romans got to the top they discovered the 936 inhabitants had committed suicide. It is suggested that as it's against Judaism to commit suicide the inhabitants drew lots and killed each other in turn so only one person had to take their own life...


Sunrise! The body of water is the Dead Sea

Asaf doing his contemplative, model thing...




Looking west




The ramp the Romans eventually built to finish the siege.


A columbarium tower or dovecot or place where doves were raised, most probably to provide meat and fertiliser...





Rick checking out the view



A model of the water supply system. Basically water from streams that flooded with the rains would be collected and stored - there was at least 40,000 cubic metres of storage. And of course drinking water wasn't enough for Herod the Great - there were even bath houses and swimming holes (although probably not used during the siege).

You can see the framed stones indicating Herods work!


The bath house, looking down... The colums supported the floor, under which was heated water to provide steam baths.

View out again with the sun a bit more awake this time

With the facade looking in this good nick today (the fortness was built approx 37BC) you can imagine what splendour it must have been more than 2000 years ago. Really quite mind blowing!


THE DEAD SEA!
Well lucky me, twice in less than a year. The Dead Sea was loads of fun and this time I managed to get that classic shot of reading a book in the water.


Rick, Tom, Asaf & me

I'm reading the Economist - check out the cover. Coincidental timing eh?

We returned to Maslul where Avi set about preparing some more delectable treats for us :)

And after such a hard day, what better than some Pimms? (BTW it tastes soooo yummy with mango juice and a splash of cranberry)

2 Comments:

  • Nivi - this is incredible. You have really made me want to go to Israel now! My brother is heading there soon on his round the world trip. Amazing photos, you are having such an incredible time!

    By Blogger Annie B, at 9:05 PM  

  • Yeah, it was totally amazing. I'm sure you'll manage to get there sometime and I hope your bro has an awesome time!

    And from what I hear you're not having such a bad time yourself - loving the sun in Union Square eh? :)

    By Blogger Nivi, at 5:32 AM  

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