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The Monastery of Saint George is a striking cliff-hanging monastic complex in the northern Judean Desert. Set along the Prat stream (Wadi Qelt), its viewpoint offers breathtaking vistas of the Judean Desert, and an exciting site to visit.

History of Saint George Monastery

The monastery is a living example of the Christian monastic movement that flourished in Byzantine times, especially in the Judean Desert. Six monks established it in the 5th century, near the road connecting Jerusalem with Jericho, and Jesus’ baptism site. By local tradition, Elijah hid in a cave in this monastery fearing Queen Jezebel and ravens fed him (1 Kings 7). In the 6th century AD, a monk from Cyprus named Georgius joined the monastery. He was so known for his strong faith and miraculous powers that the monastery was named after him. In 614 AD, the Persian attacked the monastery and massacred all its 14 monks. The Crusaders rebuilt it only centuries later, but once they were expelled, it fell again into ruins. Only in the late 19th century the Greek-Orthodox church rebuild the monastery and maintain it to this day.

Touring Saint George Monastery

Only a handful of Greek monks who welcome visitors maintain the site today—by local tradition, Saint Anne, Mary’s mother, resided in one of the caves of the monastery. Being so, Saint George Monastery is one of the few that allows women to visit its grounds. It is open daily from 9:00 to 13:00. A steep and winding path from the closest parking lot reaches the monastery. It is a beautiful 15-minute hike each way. It is also possible to hire a donkey for the ride back. If you do not plan to make this memorable excursion, you should not miss the viewpoint of the monastery! It is one of the most striking sights in the Holy Land.

A tour of Saint George Monastery can be combined with a guided day tour of the Dead Sea.

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