Masada Feb 2011

Masada is an ancient fortification situated on top of an isolated rock plateau on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea.  Herod the Great built Masada between 37 and 31 BC as his winter retreat and also as a refuge for himself in case his Jewish subjects rebelled or the Romans attacked.  The fortress has palaces, storehouses, an armoury, barracks, and a large network of cisterns to collect rainwater.

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Jerusalem Feb 2011

Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world and it is considered the holy city to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  For Jews, King David established Jerusalem as the capital and his son, King Solomon, commissioned the building of the First Temple.  For Christians, the New Testament accounted of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion here.  And for Muslims, Jerusalem is the third-holiest city, after Mecca and Medina.  According to the Quran, it is here in Jerusalem where Muhammad ascended to heaven and spoke to God.  As a result, this small area of less than 1 sq km became of religious importance to the different religions.

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