Masada and the Dead Sea
The fortress mountain stronghold of Masada, still
controversial after nearly 2000 years.  Nearly a thousand
extreme zealot Jewish resisters to the Romans committed
suicide here rather than surrender.  With suicide against
Jewish law, limited historical confirmation of the event,
and the fact that Jerusalem had already fallen, the
meaning of Masada remains a topic for debate.    
Archaeologists have restored portions of the summit
fortress, which is a treasure trove for them.
Having already defeated the Jewish revolt and destroyed
the Temple in Jerusalem (70 AD), the Romans ultimately
chose to wipe out the last rebels at Masada.  Thousands
of Roman soldiers in 8 camps surrounded the fortress.  
Above is the Roman siege ramp, which meant Masada's
walls would be breached, leading to the mass suicide.
The Dead Sea can be viewed from Masada.  It is the
lowest point on earth.  The Dead Sea's extremely
high salt content meant that normal marine life could
not live in it, hence the name.
With its high salt content, the Dead Sea's water is so
thick that anyone can float on it without sinking.  
There are Israeli Dead Sea spas, featuring mud
baths, and the scene can best be appreciated on video.
If you have a high speed internet connection, watch the
Intrepid Berkeley Explorer's free video of this trip by
clicking on:
Land of Milk and Chutzpah