Mar Elias Monastery Bethlehem


About
Mar Elias Monastery is a 12th century Greek Orthodox Monastery that is located about 5 kilometers to the north of Bethlehem. The site was established in the 6th century during the Byzantine period but was destroyed after the Persian invasion in 614AD. The monastery was restored later but was severely damaged again when two earthquakes hit the area at separate times, one around the year 1033 and another in 1160 which completely shattered the structure. 

Shortly after the quake in 1160, Mar Elias Monastery was rebuilt by a Byzantine Emperor named Manuel I Comnenus during the period of the Crusaders. The monastery was named after the Prophet Elijah (Saint Elias), who according to biblical accounts, rested on this exact area on his way to Mount Horeb as he was fleeing from the vengeance of Jezebel after he slaughtered the Baal prophets.

The monastery is also said to be the burial sites of Saint Elias, a well known Egyptian monk who eventually became Patriarch of Jerusalem in 494AD and Bishop Elias, a 14th century Greek bishop of Bethlehem. From the monastery, one can see a magnificent view of Bethlehem, Herodium and the Judean Desert. In some areas one can also have a view of the mountains of Moab and the Dead Sea.

Facilities
Accessible to handicapped and senior guests
Kids friendly
Free parking
Free entrance

Opening Hours
8:00 to 11:00 AM and 1:30 to 5:00 PM