St. George’s Monastery (West Bank, Palestine)

St. George’s Monastery (West Bank, Palestine)

Clinging to a cliff on the edge of the Wadi Qelt gorge is a Greek Orthodox monastery that’s endured many centuries of turmoil and destruction.

The original monastery was founded in the 5th century by a group of cave-dwelling hermits. They chose the site because it was located next to the cave where the prophet Elijah is said to have been fed by ravens during the 9th century BCE.

A Persian invasion in the 7th century drove out the hermits and left the monastery in ruins. Around 500 years later, Crusaders rebuilt St. George’s, only to be driven from the site following the Islamic re-conquest of Jerusalem.

The late 19th century saw St. George’s restored once again. The monastery is now home to two churches, a small group of Greek Orthodox monks, and the tombs of the five hermits who got the whole thing started.

A 15-minute drive from St. George’s is the Mount of Temptation—so named because, according to the Bible, it is the place where Jesus was tempted by the devil. This mountain has its own cliffside monastery, established in the 6th century, which has only a single permanent resident. There is also a nearby collection of hermit caves—some of which are said to still occasionally be inhabited by ascetic monks.

Source: Atlas Obscura

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