Machaerus was one of the desert fortresses built by Herod the Great. Located on a steep hilltop, it has a dramatic view of the Dead Sea.
The Hasmonean ruler Alexander Jannaeus (103-67 B.C.) had built a fortress there, but that was destroyed by the Romans in 63 B.C. Herod the Great later rebuilt this fortress. According to the historian Flavius Josephus, John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded in this fortress, because he berated Herod Antipas for having married Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife (Math. 14.3; Mark 6.17; Luke 3.19).