In 1999 I travelled Israel with my religious class for ten days. It is a stunning country, crowded with historic, cruel, thoughtful and beautiful sites. The National Park of Masada was one of the sights, which overwhelmed my imagination.
The day before we climbed Masada, we slept under millions of sparkling stars in the desert Negev and started our hike at around 4 am to reach the top of the mountain with the rising sun. Masada is a fortification, built by Herod the Great around 30-40 BCE on top of an isolated rock plateau in the Judaean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea.
It was built in a way, that even in case of a siege for several years, the jewish residents could survive on top of this mountain. It was equipped with water cisterns for 40 000 cubic meter of water and large storages for food like olives, dats and nuts supplying one thousand people for three years during the Roman siege of Massada.
The cruelty of the story is, that after three years of building a ramp, the Romans were able to enter the fortification 400m above sea level. Yet, 960 of the Jewish residents of the place had decided to rather commit suicide, than being captured by the Romans. Only two kids and four women hid in the ruins and were able to tell this cruel story.