Gordon Tours Israel Blog

Sunrise At Masada – A Truly Spiritual Trip

Icon September 17, 2018
Icon By Shai Navon
Icon 0 comments

Ready to reach new heights – physically and spiritually? Climbing Masada is an exciting feat for anyone and at any time, but heading to the top of the ancient fortress at sunrise is an experience like no other. The sunrise, as seen from the top of Masada is truly spectacular; well worth getting up way before dawn to make the trek up the mountain. And once you reach the summit, the striking beauty of sun, sand and thousands of years of history intertwine, creating a truly spiritual event you simply cannot skip out on.

Masada at sunrise, here we go.

The hike up

Masada sunrise

Whoever said vacation meant sleeping in until noon? Set your alarm for before dawn and get ready for the experience of a lifetime. This early, the cable car that travels up the mountain from the Masada visitor center isn’t running, so you’re going to have to lace up your sports shoes, sling a bottle of water over your back and get ready to hike. Choose to navigate the snake path, or walk (relatively) straight up the Roman Staircase. The moderate hike can take anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours, so be sure to start off at the bottom at least 1 hour before the sun begins to rise. That way, you’ll reach the top just in time to be engulfed in the most wonderful, warm sunrise from every possible vantage point.

While you can visit Masada at any time of day, there’s something unique and special about driving up to the foot of a desert mountain in the darkness of the night and climbing up its side as sunlight begins to emerge and spread across the desert and Dead Sea, which you can dip in once you’ve climbed back down (or cable car back down, as by then it will likely be running). An absolutely priceless mountaintop experience.

Why Masada?

Hike Up

Built by Herod the Great in the year 30 BCE, Masada is an ancient Roman-style fortress that harbors a somber sadness within its marvelous ruins. Obtain unique perspective into the lives of Second Temple-era Jewish freedom fighters, who lived in what was once a series of luxurious castles forming their final stronghold and ultimately chose to end their own lives, rather than fall prey to their Roman adversaries.

Stroll through the castle ruins and discover archaeological findings highlighting life on Masada during the Roman siege. Enter the Northern Castle, the ruins of King Herod’s private fortress palace and explore the site, yourself and spirituality. Whisper a prayer in the ancient synagogue while the sun ascends, standing where Jews once congregated as the sun rose, stood and set, to pray for redemption. Or, chant hymns in what is left of a Byzantine-era church and marvel at its mosaic artwork, possibly used for roughly 600 years by escaped Christian monks, as early as the 1st Century.

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Tips for a successful sunrise hike

Why Masada

Experience the radiant history and beauty of Masada, one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, without falling prey to the weather, the trail, or the tourist traps below! Always wear closed shoes, a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen, even when beginning your trek in the dark. The sun will shine brightly by the time you reach the top. It is also recommended to bring at least one large bottle of water, and some energy-boosting snacks. While there are sweets and treats for sale at the bottom of the mountain, the prices are astronomical, even in comparison to the same items sold just a few meters away inside the Visitors’ Center.

Hack The Hike

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