the land down under-dead sea and below

Masada

Scott Sitner-Dead Sea-December 2018

OK, so no we did not migrate to Australia, but we did in fact take a two hour bus ride to the lowest point on earth, 1400 feet below sea level:  the dead sea. The sea, composed of a ridiculous amount of salt, is slowly evaporating, look at the pictures where water used to be years ago which is now just dry lake bed.   It is a fascinating thing to be driving from the city here in two hours, and even more fascinating that there are resorts here, like six of them, all on the beach.  It is very pretty but we are all having a hard time figuring out why they are so popular.  You cannot really swim in the sea for more than a few minutes as novelty, and there is not a golf course to be found for probably 150 miles.  Nonetheless it is a cool site to see knowing you are in fact at the lowest point on earth.  Russians flock here I guess.What we saw next was far more interesting and something that anyone who loves history, jewish or not, should see.  We went to Masada.. Most people know the story, 2000 years who Herod built this fortress on top of Masada 2000 plus years ago.  There homes, temples, baths, community centers and the like, all built on top of this mountain in the desert south Israel, with NOTHING anywhere near by.  It sort of begs the question of what was being secured?  But the story goes that the romans attacked Masada, and the 960 jewish people on the mountain. The story goes that rather than being taken into slavery the people decided to not commit suicide as this violates jewish law, but choose ten soldiers to kill the citizens, then those ten left would kill each other, leaving only one to violate jewish law by killing himself.]It is a testament to not wanting to live as slaves and that death is preferred and to find a way not to violate jewish law.  What we see now is a National Park, and people hike up the mountain( I did not, really cool cable car my kids did)commemorating this event.  Digs have uncovered the very complex way of life, and how they managed to create a whole community on the top of this very large mountain 2000 years ago.  The views are amazing as you can see miles in the distance, although as pretty as it is, it is just sand and rock and sea..  Today, as second to last was one of those days of things “you have to do”  no trip would be complete without seeing masada and floating briefly in the dead sea.  And no day like this would be complete without dinner at yet another pretend Bedouin site run but a man pretending to be an old Bedouin farmer who had the strangest british accent.  I guess on a tour you suspend belief……One more day then a long ride home.

lowest point on earth….

Top of Masada
Fort on top of Massada

As you finish the walk to the top

more cats, just more cats…..at a roadside stop in the desert


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