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Mar Saba Monastery, Bethlehem

(4.9/5 based on 100+ 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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • You can easily get there by taxi from Bethlehem in 30 minutes approximately. The price is 100 shekels ROUND-TRIP including waiting on-site (after 30-40 min to visit unless you want to go hiking around the site). The landscape is breathtaking! Do not forget your camera ;-) Reminder to go to Bethlehem from Jerusalem: 6,80 shekels with bus 231 since the door bus station in Damascus. This bus takes you directly to Bethlehem which is its terminus. The welcome of the monks is warm (a coffee and water will be offered at the end of the visit). Feel free to ask them questions, they will answer with pleasure. Think adequately cover you (pants and long sleeves). Women are unfortunately not allowed inside the monastery :-(
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  • The location of the Monastery is just amazing ! Very friendly monks, but women are not allowed to enter, have to stay outside. But they get something to drink.  more »
  • As a part of a pilgrims of Russian Ecclesiastical mission we visited that unique place. Only way to get is by minibus as it in a middle desert on edge of a cliff with a little spring flowing at bottom...  more »