Samaria was established in 878 BCE as the Capital of the Israelite tribes (1 Kings 16:24), and functioned as such untill its conquest and destruction by the Assyrians (2 Kings 10). In between figures like king Ahab and Elijah lived and acted in this city. In the first century BCE Samaria was re-founded as “Sebaste” by Herod the Great, and functioned as regional center. In the Byzantine times a local tradition identified the burial of John the Baptist in Samaria-Sebaste, a tradition kept to this day. Excavations at the site in the 1910’s and again in the 1930’s uncovered vast evidence of site’s past. The site is of great historical significance, and very rich in finds, but unfortunately it is in the heart of Samaria, where there is much tension between the Palestinians and the Jewish settlers.
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Points of Interest in the Area