King Herod the Great lived in constant fear of being overthrown by his subjects, which explains the many fortresses he built for himself in Israel. His paranoia was matched by his extravagant lifestyle. Each fortress included lavish entertainment venues and a luxurious royal palace. Even Masada, built high on a remote mountaintop overlooking the Judean Desert and the Dead Sea, was no exception.
Herod’s complex at Masada included a synagogue, storehouses for provisions, deep cisterns to collect precious rainwater, and an elaborate bath house. He even had a swimming pool! At one end of the complex was his private, residential palace that included two terraces for hosting parties and feasts. At the other end was Herod’s immense ceremonial palace where his throne room was located. Archaeologists have carefully restored sections of the complex so that visitors can experience the grandeur and massive scale of Herod’s mountain fortress. Learn more about Masada here.