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Mar Saba Monastery, Bethlehem

Categories: Sacred & Religious Sites, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4.9/5 based on 95 reviews on the web
Reputedly the oldest continuously inhabited monastery in the world, Mar Saba Monastery hangs over a ravine from a cliff edge. The desert monastery started out in the 5th century as a series of hermits' caves; later, the Greek Orthodox Church built the monastery here, dedicated to those early monks' leader, St. Sabas. Current churches, chapels, and cells date back to 1834, when the monastery was restored after an earthquake. Compare the austerity of the living quarters to the splendor of golden icons adorning the walls of the churches. In keeping with an old tradition, only men may enter the monastery, while women can view it from a tower, allegedly built by the saint's mother. Using our world travel planner, Bethlehem attractions like Mar Saba Monastery can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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  • Super! But reichen...allemal should it's come on Super this wonderful a highlight to see!
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  • From the parking lot there is a path that begins to the left of the Monastery and takes you down stairs...if your up for a lovely walk (though it can be full sun) I encourage you to take this trail. I...  read more »
  • The monastery is secluded in the desert between Jerusalem and the dead sea and belongs to Bethlehem. It can be reached only by car, via a winding and steep route. The facility is beautiful and if you climb on the opposite Hill, you have a great prospect. Only men may enter it, it costs no admission (but donations are very welcome at the exit) and you should make no pictures inside, with the exception of the terrace with view on the opposite wall, where even some of the old monk cells can be seen. The monastery has about 15 monks, who between them speak Greek, and belongs to the Greek Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The monk who brought us was very friendly and told some of the life in the monastery ("you stay here all his life, but only, if one has strong enough"). The Church is very beautiful, full of interesting icons. At the end, there were still Greek coffee and biscuits. Hard to imagine how life must have been here earlier, and beautiful, what made the monks here. Very much recommended.
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