Journey down from Jerusalem descending below sea level through the Biblical wilderness towards the Dead Sea. On the way, we can see the Inn of the Good Samaritan and stop on route to look out across the desert as we pass the point marking "sea level". The ancient city of Jericho can be seen in the distance where Joshua's troops caused the walls to fall (Joshua 6) and where Jesus healed the blind (Mark 10:46-52).
We reach the shores of the Dead Sea encrusted with white salt and follow the shoreline towards Masada. Although it's possible to climb the ancient Snake Path up Masada as the Romans did 2000 years ago, we take the convenient cable car up to the mountain top plateau. It was here that King Herod built a fortified palace complete with every convenience, a swimming pool, water cisterns, two palaces, storerooms and even a synagogue. Following Herod's death, the mountain top was the last outpost of Jewish zealots when the Romans tried to rid the land of Jews in the First Jewish-Roman War of 66-73AD.
It was on Masada that the first parchment from this era was discovered in an Israeli archaeological excavation. On the parchment was the prophecy of Ezekiel "I will take the children of Israeli from among the nationsand bring them into their own land" (Ezekiel 37). Heading back to the Dead Sea we pass the desert oasis of Ein Gedi where there are lush foliage and gorgeous waterfalls and where David hid from angry King Saul. We also pass by Qumran were the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in a number of hillside caves. To end off a perfect day we stop at the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth and a contender for the title of one of the Seven Wonders of the World. People come from across the globe to enjoy therapeutic mineral-rich waters. And don't worry if you don't know how to swim, the high salt content will keep you afloat.
Tour Start Time: 08:45hrs
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