I first visited Masada in 1984, arriving as most visitors did by the modern Israeli-built road on its eastern side which follows the edge of the Dead Sea. Access to the top of the Masada stronghold was only via either the cable car up from the eastern side or the steep footpath. The Roman army who under General Silva vanquished the Jewish zealots at Masada came in from the western side and built their famous ramp and mounted their final assault over this western edge.
By 1990, when this photograph was taken, it was extremely unusual for travelers to be in a position to see and photograph Masada's western side from the Judaean Desert. It's an inhospitable landscape, and close to the border with what was then called the Occupied West Bank (now Palestinian Territories). It's a national park and for obvious reasons protected - which means casual visitors and tourists are discouraged from anything other than organised tours along main routes - which even today takes them inevitably along the main road along the Dead Sea and to the eastern side of Masada and the convenience of a cable car ride.Read More