Masada (Hebrew: מצדה metsada, “fortress”) is an ancient fortification in the Southern District of Israel situated on top of an isolated rock plateau, akin to a mesa. It is located on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea 20 km (12 mi) east of Arad.
Herod the Great built two palaces for himself on the mountain and fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE.
Masada is one of Israel’s most popular tourist attractions. During 2005 to 2007 and 2009 to 2012, it was the second-most popular, behind the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. The site attracts around 750,000 visitors a year.