Restoring the glory of Herod the Great

From Restoring the glory of Herod the Great.

"This is the pinnacle of my career in restoration." This was how Italian expert renovator Maurizio Tagliapietra defined his work on the preservation project of the palace of Herod the Great in Massada, near the Dead Sea, before returning to Italy. The complex project, headed by the Israel Nature and National Parks Protections Authority (INNPPA), was completed last week after three years of preparations and two weeks of work.

The Massada palaces, planned and built in the days of Herod the Great, featured the best of Roman design, including spectacularly colorful and beautiful frescoes on the walls.

"A fresco, as in fresh, is a colorful painting drawn on the plaster while it is still moist, so after it dries it retains its original hue for thousands of years," explains Ze’ev Margalit, an architect for the INNPPA.

"The frescoes on the Northern Massada Palace were discovered during extensive archaeological excavations headed by Prof. Ygael Yadin in the sixties. It was a very exciting find at the time, because these frescoes were cutting edge in Roman design, same as in Rome itself or in Pompeii."

Margalit continued, "For 40 years, the frescoes had [continue]