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Located 12 miles east of Tel Aviv, the Mazor Mausoleum is the best-preserved building in Israel from Roman times. Having two burial coffins (sarcophagi), some archaeologists suggest it was a Roman burial complex, yet it also has room for growing pigeons (Columbarium). Later, the Muslims added a prayer niche (mihrab) in its southern wall, turning the site into a Holy Muslim tomb mark (Maqam) of Neby Yahyah, the Muslimized figure of John the Baptist. The building also functioned as a mosque until 1948.

John the Baptist Elusive Burial Site

The New Testament documents the gruesome execution of John the Baptist in Machaerus (Mark 6:14-27) and being buried, but the location of his burial is not given. Christian Byzantine tradition identified his burial in Samaria, yet the head was placed on the Mount of Olives and later taken to Constantinople. Nevertheless, several additional churches and monasteries claim to have parts of his body: Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Damascus Amiens (northern France), Munich, San Sebastian church in Rome, and churches in Rhodes, Malta, and Montenegro. In summary, John the Baptist rests in pieces.

Touring Mazor Mausoleum

The Mazor mausoleum is on the side of Israel’s main highway, Road 6. It can be reached from the Nachshonim interchange or through Road 444. In the springtime, beautiful carpets of wildflowers blossom around the monument.

A tour of the Mazor Mausoleum can be combined with a day tour in the north.

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