One of King Herod’s imposing palaces-fortresses – Herodion / Herodium – is located just south of Jerusalem. It was built on the table top of a hill about 758 meters above sea level to commemorate a victory over Herod's Hasmonean and Parthian enemies in 40 BCE. This was the site he chose for his tomb. Herod constructed a similar palace-fortress in Masada. The design of these palace-fortresses were Herod's own invention. They included storage space, water cisterns, quarters for soldiers and servants and elaborate rooms for the royal party. Both Herodion and Masada, together with Machaerus (in Jordan) were the last three fortresses held by Jewish fighters after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. Herodion was also put to use by the Jews during the time of the Bar Kokhba Revolt against the Romans.
The palace-fortress, from its situation at the top of the hill, overlooks the Judean Desert, the Dead Sea, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
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