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  • Writer's pictureRaz Tsafrir

Christian monasteries in Judea

Updated: Apr 14, 2020

Judea and Samaria are the cradle of Judaism. Tel Shiloh  was the first spiritual city of the 12 Jewish tribes, and the location of the Tabernacle - the first temple, which was brought from Egypt by the 12 tribes, and where it remains for 369 years during the eras of Joshua and the Judges. Judea desert is the birthplace of early christian monks - Hariton, Avtimmus, Sabbas and others and home to several beautiful monasteries that still remain in their glory. In Sebastia, King Ahab built a palace in the 8th century BC, and King Herod built a temple for the Roman Caesar Augustus Sebastius in the 1st century BC. Mount Grizim is the holiest place of the Samaritans, who consider themselves to be the true offspring of the 10 lost Israeli tribes.

Qumran, the ancient town of the Essenes (Isiyim), who practiced solitude and celibacy 400 years before the christian Hermits came to life, and the place where John the Baptist spent his life. The ancient caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls where found - the most important archaeological findings of our times.

Masada, the symbol of Jewish faith, determination and sacrifice, and of the resurrection of Zionisim after 2000 years of living in exile. Here you can see first hand the richness of King Herods' palace, the cleverness of storing water in the desert, the way the rebels lived for 3 years between 70-73 AD, how the Roman legions surrounded them and eventually conquered the fortress and the sad ending of mass suicide.

Many points of interest in Judea & Samaria:

The Judea Monasteries of Hariton, Mar Saba, Avtimus, Gregorius, Gerasimus, St. George and others are withing 20 minutes ride from each other. Marsaba (in the picture) is 1500 years old.

King Herods' palace and grave in Herodion.

Sebastia, a Roman city, basilica, King Ahab palace and King Herod temple for Augustus.

The Good Samaritan, a museum with some of the best mosaics in Israel.

Hermits cave in the desert.

2000 years old sun clock in Qumran.

Masada and its heroic story of Jewish bravery, faith and honor.

Enjoying the dry desert air :-)

40 Indian motorcycles touring the Judea desert

Other sites include Tel Shiloh with its ancient archaeological excavation that are still going on; Grizim mountain, the Samaritan spiritual center and octagon synagogue.​

In our weekend, 7 and 14 day tours we visit Masada. Additional sites are visited in the 7 and 14 days tours.

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