General History

   King Herod built Masada in 31-37 BCE to be a refuge for him and his family. It was located in the southern district of Israel, on the edge of the Judaen Desert. Even though Masada was 300-400 meters high, it was completely surrounded by walls to ensure the safety of its residents. The Jews found sanctuary in it for 3 years starting in  73 AD before their mass suicide. Masada was a legend for 13 centuries until it's discovery in 1828.

Overview of the Model

Herod's Palace|| The palace consisted of three levels: the upper terrace, the middle terrace, and the lower terrace. Amazing views of the desert, adjacent mountains, and the Dead Sea can be seen from here. The floors were decorated with intricate mosaics that can still be seen today.

The Baths|| At Masada there was a bath house. Inside the baths archeologists have found little holes in the walls used to store the clothes of it's users. They were heated by warm air circulating underneath the baths. To provide water for the baths, pools, and wells an intricate system of tunnels and reservoirs were built to siphon water two-thirds of the way up the cliff. This design explains how the rebels managed to conserve enough water for such a long time.

The Synagogue|| The synagogue inside Masada is probably one of the oldest in Israel, and was built for Herod's family to worship in. When the Jews came to Masada, they altered the structure of the synagogue. They added several columns, combined the entrance with the prayer hall, and added stone benches.

The Library & Columbarium|| In any palace a library was a necessity. There were little cubbies for books, scrolls, and any other important documents. The definition of a Columbarium is a housing structure for pigeons. In Masada the Columbarium served many purposes. It was a place to raise pigeons for meat, a place to collect droppings for fertilizer, and used as an observation tower.

The Roman Camp