When the Romans ruled, Israel was a province of the huge Roman Empire. This province was called Judea.
King Herod was appointed by the Romans as king of Judea for more than 30 years. He died in Jericho where he had built a beautiful desert fortress.
Herod was a smart but cruel king.
During his reign he built many palaces, a new harbour, a city, and he enlarged and embellished the Jewish Temple and the Temple Mount.
The size and shape of the Temple Mount today goes back to the works of King Herod and there are several remains the can be seen until today, that date back to Herod.
Recently I made a long hike in Wadi Qelt, also known under the name Nahal Pratt.
This is a canyon with a river flushing through all year round.
The canyon is located in the Judean desert that is east of Jerusalem, just 20 minutes away from the center of the city.
The hike starts with several pools with very clean and fresh water where Jerusalem families come and bath regularly.
The hike is about 15 kilometres but you can do parts of the hike only if that is too long for you.
You cross the river several times and there is some climbing and descending involved, but the scenery is just so beautiful that the effort is worth while.
During the hike you come across ruins of ancient churches that date back to 1700 years ago, and you come across the remnants of an aqueduct that was installed to channel the water to the desert palaces of King Herod.
This aqueduct was so efficient that it worked until the 1940-s. Even when Herod disappeared, the inhabitants of Judea used his water system for nearly 2000 years.
The channels, pipes and water bridges can be seen on severak places during the hike. For me, the most impressive view was this huge wall, of 40 meters high that was partly still intact and that carried the water over a deep valley.
When you come to Israel, I will be happy to take you on this unforgettable hike, or if you are not that sportive, we can just walk around the natural pools, bath, and enjoy the views.
And I will have lots of juicy stories for you to tell about the adventurous, murderous and complicated life of King Herod.