The Herodion is one of the great constructions that have partially survived to our days from Herod the Great (73 B.C. – 4 AD), king of Judea, Galilee and other territories of today's Holy Land. A character who knew how to relate to the most powerful men ofRomeof his time, includingMark AntonyorCaesar Augustus, to rule even as a vassal king of Rome. And he did it with an iron hand, with various episodes of great cruelty, although possibly the most famous of all of them is the biblical chapter of the Massacre of the Innocents.
However, along with his lust for power and lack of scruples, he also had a remarkable vision of what it meant to build a legacy through great buildings. And he promoted several of them, although all of them are currently or in a partial state, such as the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem which was part of the so-called Temple of Herod or Second Temple of Jerusalem.
While other of his constructions today are archaeological sites, and among them this Herodion stands out, which was his fortress and also his palace, in fact he almost conceived it as a gigantic mausoleum to be buried there.
The site is located on a hill that rises above the desert and is about 800 meters above sea level. in turn dividedin two parts. A lower one, with various buildings. And the upper one where the fortress and the palace itself were. It is a fortified circular space, all walled in two concentric sections and with four towers oriented towards the cardinal points.
The set was of a more than outstanding size, since it would reach 30 meters in height to distribute seven floors, two of them located in the underground foundations of the structure. And in the center was a large palatial courtyard. Everything was monumental, and the king spared no expense in terms of construction. In fact, the hill itself, once the fortress and the palace on the top were finished, was smoothed, emphasizing its conical profile and even covering its surface with stones. And also covering the access ladder to the top. In addition, cisterns and canals were built for the distribution of water.
On the other hand, the chronicles speak of the luxurious decoration of the palatial rooms, where mosaics or paintings were not lacking, and there was even a garden in the upper part. And of course the typical hot spring baths of this culture were not lacking. All this is known from the historical chronicles and also from the infinity of archaeological remains that have been extracted from the place. Something that, like so many things in this part of the world, is a point of conflict and confrontation, since the remains of the Herodion are found in the occupied West Bank, about 12 kilometers from the city ofJerusalem. That is, in occupied Muslim Palestine territoryby the army of the Jewish state of Israel.