Friday, May 09, 2008

Herodion 5: Upper Herodion

Well, it's been a busy two days. Spent yesterday, Thursday celebrating Yom Ha'Atzmaut (Independence Day) with Machon Meir, visiting sites of interest from 1948, and then visiting Mevo Dotan, a settlement in northern Samaria currently on the front lines. Today, I went with MOSAIC, an Anglophonic hiking group, through the forrested hills between Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh on a hike/photography lesson. But now I'm totally sunburned, shabbat starts in a few minutes, and I don't have time to edit the pics, so we'll continue the Herodion tour photos until I get around to posting the other photos. Shabbat shalom!

Previous posts in this series:

Herodion 1: Givat HaArba
Herodion 2: Who was Herod?
Herodion 3: Lower Herodion
Herodion 4: Cisterns and Tunnels

The palace above was where the true work of Roman rule was accomplished. Only invited guests could reach its gate. One steep ramp provided access.

Arches over what was once the front gate, now being excavated.

Herod himself would be carried up the steep slope in a chair by his obliging slaves.

The upper palace, looking west.

The open courtyard, surrounded from the outside world by high walls, must have been a sight to behold.

On the east and west ends, columns supported a roof for shade. In the center was a garden.

Columns supporting shade structures. You can almost picture the ancient couches on which Herod must have rested his tired, megalomaniacal head.

As the sun rose in the morning, Herod could enjoy shade on the eastern side, then move to the west after midday as the sun began to set.

Herod's living room (behind the wall.)

In the northeast corner stood the bath house. This was actually, probably the most important part of the palace.

The domed ceiling of the cold room still stands.

Any proper Roman Aristocrat had a bath house of his own. Probably sitting for several hours at a time in his sauna, this is where Herod invited guests, planned his moves, and made his deals.

Looking back over the ruins.

The view from the top

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