Masada, Israel - November 4th 2016: Exterio of  Ruins of the grand residence or the commandant's residence of Masada of Israel. The picture was taken at free spot.

Getty Images

Masada Museum

Top choice in Dead Sea

An outstanding and remarkably vivid introduction to Masada’s archaeology and history, this museum combines 500 evocative artefacts unearthed by archaeologists (one coin and four papyri are replicas). There are presentations on key Masada personalities – Herod the Great, who built a palace here in the 1st century BCE, turncoat historian Josephus Flavius and Jewish commander Eliezer ben Yair – to make the dramatic events of 73 CE seem close enough to touch. Visitors receive an audio headset, available in eight languages.

Objects on display include Roman arrowheads; a leather sandal once worn by a woman rebel; the remains of Roman-era dates, wheat, barley and olives; and 11 pot shards, each inscribed with a name, that – as the Romans were about to breach the ramparts – may have been used to choose the 10 men assigned the task of killing everyone else.

Unless you're doing a sunrise climb, this museum makes an excellent first stop at Masada.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Dead Sea attractions

1. Masada National Park

0.61 MILES

The plateau atop Masada, which measures about 550m by 270m, is some 60m above sea level – that is, about 490m above the surface of the Dead Sea. The…

2. Ein Bokek Beach


Running the length of Ein Bokek's hotel zone, this broad, clean beach – refurbished as a free, fully public amenity – is gloriously sandy. Arguably, the…

3. Ein Gedi Botanical Garden

9.62 MILES

These famous botanic gardens, near the entrance to the kibbutz, are home to about a thousand species of indigenous and exotic plants, from near…

4. Wadi Arugot

9.93 MILES

Generally less crowded but no less lovely than Wadi David, Wadi Arugot has a couple of streamside trails, rich in vegetation, that afford hikers an…

5. Ancient Synagogue

10.4 MILES

Situated about midway between the Wadi David and Wadi Arugot ticket offices, this 5th-century-CE synagogue sports a superb mosaic floor decorated with the…

6. Ein Gedi Nature Reserve

10.77 MILES

This reserve consists of two roughly parallel canyons, Wadi David and Wadi Arugot, each of which has its own entrance complex and ticket office. It is…

7. Wadi David

10.86 MILES

Ein Gedi Nature Reserve’s most accessible – and popular – pools and waterfalls are situated along Lower Wadi David (Nahal David Tachton), ie the area…

8. Tel Arad National Park

14.22 MILES

In the Early Bronze Age (3100–2650 BCE), Tel Arad was the site of an Early Canaanite walled city whose remains can still be seen. After being uninhabited…