Albatross/Duby Tal

“A citadel of commanding strength” named after its builder, Herodium was built into this man-made mountain around 23 B.C.E., according to the first-century historian Flavius Josephus. Four massive towers and a double wall protected the intimate palace nestled into the hill. Planted bushes and colorful flowers once filled the colonnaded courtyard in the palace’s eastern end (at left in the drawing). The living quarters, in the western end, included a complete Roman bath and a spacious 45- by 30-foot reception hall. At the foot of the mountain, a 135- by 210-foot basin, surrounded by a colonnade, served as reservoir, swimming pool and lake for small sailboats; picnickers may have enjoyed the circular pavilion at the center of this desert “oasis.”

Between the pool and the mountain lie the remains of a second palace and a monumental building that may have served as Herod’s tomb.