Mamre is located on a hill on the ancient route between Hebron and Jerusalem. According to the Biblical account, Abraham pitched his tent there, under an oak tree (Gen. 13:18). There also God spoke to the Patriarch (Gen. 18:1).
Encircling the site is an impressive Herodian-style wall of well-fitted stone blocks that probably dates to the time of Herod the Great. Some of the blocks were re-used in building a temple for Hermes around 130 AD, during the Roman rule in Palestine.
n the fourth century, the pagan cult on the site was terminated and a Christian sanctuary with three naves was constructed in its place. The Byzantine church of Mamre is represented on the famous mosaic map of Madaba in Jordan that dates to the sixth century. The monastery was probably destroyed in 614, during the Persian invasion.
One of the Arab traditions calls Mamre “the House of Abraham.” However, there is also another tradition that places Abraham’s encampment at the site of the present Russian Orthodox Church (Mosqobiyyeh) in Hebron.
Today, ancient Mamre is located in the middle of Hebron’s Nimra neighborhood, surrounded by the contrasting sprawl of modern buildings. The archaeological site is open every day, except Fridays, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The Hebron-France Association for Cultural Exchange (AECHF), in coordination with the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, recently organized a ten-day work camp at the site for Palestinian and international youth. The participants cleaned up the site to make it more enjoyable for future visitors. On October 24, 2015, the AECHF will host a festival at Mamre to introduce people to the site.
We at VisitPalestine.ps invite you to visit Mamre and take the time to appreciate the efforts of the youth who have contributed to preserving the archaeological and historical heritage of Palestine. We would also like to encourage you to check our website: www.visitpalestine.ps for more suggestions of places to see in Hebron.
Photos courtesy of Hebron-France Association for Cultural Exchange.