This fortress of Herod is impressively situated on a tablet-shaped mountain on the edge of the Jordan Rift Valley. Canals directing flash floods from the wadis into large underground cisterns made life in the desert possible. What makes the site so symbolic, however, are the events during the Jewish Revolt against Rome. Even today, the forts of the legions that besieged the insurgents can be seen all around. On the side of the mountain, a huge ramp was heaped up to storm the fortress. This day seems to have just frozen solid in the ruins. Inside, however, the Romans found only corpses, since the insurgents had preferred mass suicide to slavery.
A little to the north is the oasis of En Gedi. The water in the two gorges and the hot climate allow tropical plants to flourish here in the middle of the desert. The pools and waterfalls, however, are a highly frequented excursion destination.
Backpacking trip Middle East and Caucasus 2008
Dead Sea and Madaba
Hebron and Bethlehem