Situated on a mountain in the Negev desert, on the south-western coast of the Dead Sea, Masada contains the ruins of the last stronghold of the Jews in their revolt against Roman domination (AD 66-73). In the first century BC, the fortress was the palace of Herod the Great, who had it fortified between 37 and 31 BC. The town climbed on three different levels toward an overhanging area on the northern side of the cliff, where there were baths with a central furnace, underground storage halls and cisterns for collecting rainwater. The fortress became famous for the Roman army’s siege during the First Jewish War and its tragic conclusion.
The site has been listed since 2001 on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Masada has one of the most complete and marvelous examples of Roman baths discovered in Israel: consisting of four areas, Herod’s Great Baths give the visitor a sense of the architecture and wall or floor coverings of the time. Frescoes, mosaics and opus sectile are among the building’s decorations.
Given the poor condition of the structures and facings, the CCA was asked to perform a complex treatment of recovery, on-site conservation and public presentation of the entire building.
The educational program involved training course for technicians of the National Parks of Israel, opening of the worksite to the public, international conferences, training of the tourist guides.