Herodium - A Visit to the Mountain Palace of King Herod near Bethlehem and Jerusalem


Video from Zahi Shaked. Israeli tour guide צחי שקד. מורה דרך


"At Herodium, King Herod challenged the forces of nature. In the first century BCE, the great builder created one of the most daring structures of the ancient world. In 40 BCE, Herod was forced to flee Jerusalem from Antigonus Mattathias, the last of the Hasmonean kings. Antigonus had entered into an alliance with the Parthians (the empire that blocked the Romans from the east), against the Romans – Herod's patrons. At that time, the Parthians controlled the region of Syria, which also included Jerusalem, and appointed Antigonus as ruler of Judah, and so Herod was forced to flee from Jerusalem. Antigonus and his allies pursued him, catching up with him east of Bethlehem. Herod escaped with great difficulty. He left his family behind at Masada and set out for Rome, where the Romans appointed him king of Judah. Herod returned to Judah, defeated Antigonus Mattathias, and became king of Judah. The memory of this desperate battle stayed with him, and in around 28 BCE he began to build Herodium, naming it after himself. Herod moved the Beth Tzur district administration to Herodium, and brought water to the site from Solomon's Pools in Jerusalem, a distance of some 6 km. At Herodium he built himself a tomb estate where, according to Joseph ben Matityahu (Josephus Flavius), he was in fact buried. In the Great Revolt (66 CE) the rebels seized Herodium and entrenched themselves there. Some six months after the destruction of the Temple, the Romans set out to capture the peripheral areas of Judah from the Zealots. Apparently due to its proximity to Jerusalem, Herodium was their first target. According to Josephus Flavius, the Roman historian, Herodium surrendered, but the finds in the field indicate otherwise. For example, we know that the entry gate to the upper palace was burned, and that the fire spread to underground areas, causing considerable damage. During the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132 – 135/6 CE) Mt Herod also served as a base for the rebels, and they left behind them, among other things, secret tunnels and caves carved in the rock. During the Byzantine period (4th – 7th centuries CE), a large village with three churches was built in Lower Herodium, over the remains from Herod's time, and a chapel was built in the fortress at the top of the mountain. Zahi Shaked A tour guide in Israel and his camera zahigo25@walla.com +972-54-6905522 tel סיור עם מורה הדרך ומדריך הטיולים צחי שקד 0546905522 My name is Zahi Shaked In 2000 I became a registered licensed tourist guide. My dedication in life is to pass on the ancient history of the Holy Land. Following upon many years of travel around the world, which was highlighted by a very exciting emotional and soul-searching meeting with the Dalai Lama, I realized that I had a mission. To pass on the history of the Holy Land, its religions, and in particular, the birth and development of Christianity. In order to fulfill this "calling" in the best way possible, I studied in depth, visited, and personally experienced each and every important site of the ancient Christians. I studied for and received my first bachelors degree in the ancient history of the Holy Land, and am presently completing my studies for my second degree.(Masters) Parralel to my studies, and in order to earn a living, I was employed for many years in advertising. What I learned there was how to attract the publics attention, generate and, increase interest, and assimilate information. All this I use as tools to describe, explain and deepen the interest in the sites that we visit. From my experience, I have learned that in this way, the Holy Land becomes more than just history, and that the large stones that we see scattered about in dissaray, join together one by one until they become - a Byzantine Church. This also happens when I lead a group of Pilgrims in the Steps of Jesus. We climb to the peak of Mount Precipice, "glide" over the land to the Sea of Galilee, land on the water, and "see" the miracle which enfolds before us. This is a many-faceted experience. Not only history which you will remember and cherish, but an experience which I hope will be implanted in your hearts and minds, and will accompany you all the days of your life." from video introduction.