If I had been a Roman ruler, I think I would have chosen the same place for a palace that Herod the Great did. It’s called Machaerus, and it’s located on an isolated hilltop overlooking the Dead Sea and Jerusalem beyond.

After a scenic drive through small villages on windy, under construction, and sometimes incomplete roads, you park in a small parking lot some distance from the palace ruins. It’s a 20-minute hike down one hill and up another to the ruins, but there is a nice gravel path the whole way.

There’s not much left of the palace, and the most complete remains have been obviously reconstructed (the columns in the above picture, for example). But the feeling you get standing on that windswept hilltop overlooking the Dead Sea is absolutely singular. If you are a believer, there is the added element of being at the location where Salome danced for Herod and was given John the Baptist’s head on a platter. Absolutely singular.
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Taxi ride from...well, you know where

Street salesmen