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Posts Tagged ‘Herod the Great’

On a hill overlooking the Dead Sea, Herod the Great built a palace. It is not really a site of any religious significance for Christians, but it is an important site to Jews, especially Israeli Jews. The story of Masada as the final stand for a band of zealots became a focal point for later generations.

For the student of history and culture, the ruins of Masada are a wellspring of information about Herod the Great, both his engineering genius and his paranoia. He built several palaces across the Holy Land, but Masada offers some very special things such as the extensive system for catching and keeping water, as well as the 3 tiered palace structure. Masada is also a site of interest to those fascinated by battle strategies and/or the Roman war machine.

The stories of Masada make for great drama. It is definitely worth visiting the site if you are in the south of Israel. Luckily, it is no longer necessary to hike to get to the top. A tram will take you in a matter of minutes from the bottom to the summit.

The following is a slide show from Masada:

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Bethlehem is a city with well-documented Biblical history. It is not only the birthplace of Jesus Christ, but it was also the home town of King David and the hometown of Naomi, who returned with her daughter-in-love, Ruth, who later married Boaz, another Bethlehem native.

Bethlehem and the surrounding areas were also very strategically located. Given its location and proximity to Jerusalem and Jericho, Bethlehem attracted the attention of master builder, Herod the Great.

In another post we’ll take a look at the magnificent palace he built nearby and which bore his name, but for now, we will consider the Pools of Solomon, another building project likely initiated or completed by Herod the Great.

This series of 3 pools has nothing to do with King Solomon but everything to do with moving water from the generous springs of Bethlehem via aqueduct to fill the pools of Herod’s palaces around the area including the palace in Jerusalem.

Solomon’s Pools (upper), Bethlehem
Solomon’s Poos (lower), Bethlehem
Solomon’s Pools (lower), Bethlehem

As a testament to his architectural prowess, the pools are largely intact today.

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