See the magnificent Herodium, the ancient desert fortress, built by Herod the Great, known as the best architect of the old days.
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Herodium: an incredible desert palace.

The impressive Herodium is one of the most beautiful historical sites in Israel, putting Herod’s building and designing skills on full display. The Herodium’s design, history, and amazing location, all make it a great visit, for history, architecture and nature lovers alike.

The Herodium, located in the West Bank, not far from Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, is one of the most important and impressive archeological sites in Israel. Also known as the Herodion National Park or Mount Herod, the site features beautiful architecture and captivating history, alongside the magnificent desert landscape.

The Story of the Herodium

In 28 BC, right after Herod’s marriage to his third wife Mariamne, the daughter of the High Priest, he laid the cornerstone for the city and fort of Herodion. The palace was built in the form of a fortress by Herod between 22 BC and 15 BC. He deliberately chose to build Herodium exactly where he won a battle in 40 BC against the Euphrates and the Jews who cooperated with them.

The fortress had two main intentions for Herod: he wanted to use it as a mausoleum for himself and to have a place to escape to in case of another rebellion by the Jews. For that reason, the Herodium is surrounded by a double wall that is about 20 meters/65.6 high and about 63/207 meters in diameter.

Between the walls, Herod built a magnificent palace that included many rooms, a lounge, and a bathhouse. The main part of the palace was built North of the Herodiumn, in the form of a small city called the Lower Herodium, where remains of water pools and many buildings were found. The Lower Rodion continued to exist intermittently until the Byzantine period, after which it was abandoned.

With the construction of Herodium, the city became the capital of the district where it was located and was regularly inhabited by the king’s courtiers. Herod himself, according to the researchers, used the palace mainly as a summer home. Herod was buried there in a magnificent ceremony in 4 BC.

During the Great Revolt of 66, the Herodium fell to the Jewish rebels, who fortified it against the Roman forces. Four years later, after the destruction of the temple, the Roman governor of Judea, and the commander of the Tenth Roman Legion, took control of the fortress.

The Romans, in whose eyes the importance of the region of Judeah decreased after the suppression of most of the Jewish rebellion, soon abandoned the Herodium and it stood in ruins for years, until it was recaptured by the Jews during the Bar Kochba Revolt of 132-136. They carved a system of tunnels here and prepared it as a site for guerilla warfare in the future. When the rebellion was suppressed in 135, the Herodium was completely abandoned.

Visiting the Herodium

During your visit to Herodion National Park, you’ll get to experience four fascinating periods in the history of the Land of Israel. You’ll tour the palace and the tomb of King Herod. Then, you’ll get to Sit in a living room that was converted into a synagogue during the Great Revolt against the Romans. Afterward, you will walk through the tunnels built by the Bar Kochba warriors against the Romans in the second century AD, and eventually, you’ll see the Byzantine crosses which were engraved on the wall of Herod’s bathhouse, during the Byzantine period, from the fourth to the sixth century.

Entrance fee:

Adults: 29 ILS

Kids: 15 ILS

Best sites to see in Herodium

Mount Herod

a partially man-made mountain with the remains of Herod’s palace, a bathhouse, and a set of fortifications, surrounded by a double wall and tall towers. In addition to the impressive architecture, From here you will get to see the incredible landscape of the Judean Desert.

Herod’s Tomb

The remains of Herod’s tomb, which was built on the outer slope of Mount Herod. From here, you’ll get magnificent views of Jerusalem.

Lower Herodium

Lower Herodion was designed with great precision, on a relatively small area under the mountain. Here, you will get to see sites like the Great Palace building, a bathhouse, and buildings that were used for the residences of guests and district administration personnel. Here is also the funeral site of Herod, which was carefully planned way ahead of his death.

Herodium Theater

A small theater that could host about 400 people, used mostly for the entertainment of guests. At the top of the theater, you can see the magnificently decorated private chamber of Herod.

Opening hours

October-March: 08:00 - 16:00

April - September: 08:00 - 17:00

Parking and transportation

There is a free parking lot inside the park.

Accessibility arrangements

  • Currently, the Herodium is not wheelchair-accessible.

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