Masada is one of Israel's most popular tourist attractions.As the cliffs on the east edge of Masada are about 400 m (1,300 ft) high, and the cliffs on the west are about 90 m (300 ft) high, the natural approaches to the cliff top are very difficult to navigate.Josephus mentions only one of the two palaces that have been excavated, refers only to one fire, while many buildings show fire damage, and claims that 960 people were killed, while the remains of only 28 bodies have been found.The Aramaic common noun marda, "fortress", corresponds in meaning to the Greek name of another desert monastery of the time, Kastellion, and is used to describe that site in the vita (biography) of St Sabbas, but it is only used as a proper name for the monastery at Masada, as can be seen from the vita of St Euthymius.The remains of a male 20–22 years of age, a female 17–18, and a child about 12 years old were found in the palace.
According to Josephus, the siege of Masada by troops of the Roman Empire at the end of the First Jewish–Roman War ended in the mass suicide of 960 people, the Sicarii rebels and their families hiding there.
Josephus said that the Sicarii raided nearby Jewish villages including Ein Gedi, where they massacred 700 women and children.
geological investigations in the early 1990s confirmed earlier observations that the 114 m (375 ft) high assault ramp consisted mostly of a natural spur of bedrock.
Many of the ancient buildings have been restored from their remains, as have the wall paintings of Herod's two main palaces, and the Roman-style bathhouses that he built.
The synagogue, storehouses, and houses of the Jewish rebels have also been identified and restored.
The top of the mesa-like plateau is flat and rhomboid-shaped, about 550 m (1,800 ft) by 270 m (890 ft).