After our first long day of tour stops we stayed at a hotel at the Dead Sea. It is the lowest place on earth at 1400 feet below sea level. The next day we got up early to start our second day of stops deep into the Negev, the southern desert of Israel.
To see photos from Day 2 of our trip you can view them here:
These were the main stops we made along the tour on our 2nd day:
Masada: Masada is an ancient stronghold that is located on top of a large mesa. Initially, it was used for defense from southern invading armies. Later, Herod built a three-tiered palace at the top and used it as a warehouse for goods moving from Africa and Middle East to Europe. Finally, most People learn of Masada as the last free location of a group of zealots who take a last stand before Rome fully conquered them in AD 73.
Bedouin Experience: We went on a camel ride learning about travel in the desert and the rules for Bedouin hospitality. While learning, we ate freshly baked bread and drank hot, sweet tea.
Tel Arad: Our next stop was Tel Arad, one of the southern most fortresses of Judea. King Solomon reinforced Tel Arad to protect the southern boarder of Israel against intruders. Modern archeologists determined that this structure has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over the years. They also discovered that it was set up to replicate the temple in Jerusalem.
Dead Sea: Lastly, our whole group took a dip in the Dead Sea. We got to experience the 34% salt concentration first hand!