Masada is a citadel located on top of a rocky plateau which overlooks the Dead Sea. Harold the Great built his palace here between 37 BCE and 31 BCE.
During the first Jewish-Roman War, many Jews were hiding on Masada. According to Josephus, when the Romans finally arrived at Masada, the Jews who had been living there decided that instead of dying in the hands of the romans, they would choose their own fate. A group of 960 Jews threw themselves off the cliff as a defiant act against the Romans. This story is often associated with courage and has become a symbol in Israeli society today.
In order to reach the top of Masada, you have a choice of 3 narrow and somewhat steep paths. There is also an option to ride in a cable car, once at the top, you will see the remains of a Byzantine church, storeroom, army barracks, and swimming pool.
Masada is sometimes used as concert venue or location for ceremonies such as weddings and Bar Mitzvahs. Marking the end of their training, some Israeli army units have a tradition of walking from their base to the top of Masada.
In 2001, Masada was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.