Where to go Guide
This Greek Orthodox Monastery, Mar Saba Monastery, located only 15 km from Bethlehem, is named after Saint Saba (439-532 CE) who settled in a cave opposite the actual site of the Monastery, in complete seclusion that lasted 5 years.
Few of the Byzantine desert monasteries can match the serenity and beauty of this place. Clinging to the cliff face of the Kidron Valley, this immense and spectacular Church evokes a thrilling shock when it first comes into view in the midst of a desert landscape. The Monastery was built in 484 AD by 5000 monks, followers of St. Saba (Mar Saba in Arabic). The Monastery contains two churches - the first is dedicated to St. Nicolas and was built in 491 AD, and the second main church is dedicated to honor the Annunciation of the Mother of God in 502 AD.
The body of Saint Saba can be seen in the main church, while his tomb is paved in the courtyard outside.
Although Mar Saba is reputed for its hospitality to strangers, women have never been allowed to enter. Hence they can enjoy a glimpse of the chapel and building from a nearby two storey tower known as the Women’s Tower.
There are memorable hiking opportunities in the area surrounding Mar Saba.