Mar Saba Monastery, Bethlehem

4.8
#3 of 9 in Historic Sites in Bethlehem
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. Make Mar Saba Monastery a centerpiece of your Bethlehem vacation itinerary, and find what else is worth visiting using our Bethlehem road trip planning tool .
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Mar Saba Monastery Reviews
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178 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • What an unexpected marvel in a spectacular setting! Truly one of the most fabulous sights I saw in Israel...up there with some of the world's more well-known landmarks. Set in an isolated hillside in....  more »
  • Stunning monastery set in the wonderful Palestinian desert, and well worth the steep climb involved to reach the top! Magnificent architecture and views.  more »
Google
  • Amazing orthodox monastery in the middle of the Judean Desert. Inside, you feel like the first monks a thousand years ago. Women are forbidden to enter, but they can walk around and enjoy fantastic views of the monastery.
  • Mar Saba monastery is a must visit site while travelling in Bethlehem area, the ancient monastery and the unique landscape brings you back in a time centuries ago when the desert hermits crowded the Judean desert. it's a greek-orthodox monastery and entrance is allowed only for men. I suggest to cross the valley and climb up the cave where St. Saba first settled from there you will have amazing view of the monastery complex.
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