Herodion

Set on a high hilltop in the Judean wilderness is the strange, truncated cone of Herodion, built by Herod the great in 37 B.C. and described in detail by Josephus Flavius in his wars of the Jews. Archaeological diggings have confirmed that in this remarkable construction Herod “built around towards all about the top, and filled the remaining space with costly palaces, He brought a mighty quantity of water from a great distance, and raised an ascent of two hundred marble steps of the whitest marble”. Within the enclosure are remnants of Herod’s Fresco-painted halls and chambers, a bath-house and one of the earliest underground synagogues ever discovered. Herod, Josephus writes, died in Jericho in 4 A.D. and was placed on a bier of all gold, embroidered with precious stones, and a crown of gold on his head, and the body was carried to Herodion, “his grave has not yet been brought to light”.