Despite a difficult geopolitical situation, the West Bank remains quite accessible to travelers. Here, the cradle of religions offers visitors a multitude of historical and cultural sites to explore. From the monastery of Mar Saba to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, here are 5 sublime places to visit in Palestine and the West Bank.
1 – The Monastery of Mar Saba
About 30 kilometers from the city of Bethlehem, in the Judean desert in the West Bank, is the Christian monastery of Mar Saba. Built on the side of a cliff towards the end of the 5th century, the building is still active and hosts about fifteen monks. A gorgeous place out of time, which, for ancestral customs, is accessible only to men. The lucky men will be able to contemplate a breathtaking panorama and admire religious paintings that have remained almost intact.
2 – The Mount of Temptation in Jericho
Another sublime place to see in the West Bank is the Mount of Temptation in Jericho. Culminating at 360 meters above sea level, it is known as the place where Jesus fasted for 40 days while resisting the temptations of the Devil. On this arid mountain, the Greek Orthodox monastery of the Quarantine reigns supreme. A cable car, built in 1998, makes the climb easier and offers a breathtaking view of the old city of Jericho.
3 – The Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem
If there is one place to visit in Palestine, it is the Basilica of Nativity in Bethlehem. Highly symbolic, it preciously shelters, in the basement, a space equipped with a crib and a manger where Jesus was born. The precise location is symbolized by a silver star with 14 branches, a number that evokes the Stations of the Cross. A place with a sacred and mysterious aura that leaves no one indifferent (whether you are Christian or not!). Listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2012, the basilica is full of remains dating from the 4th century.
4 – The Dome of the Rock of Jerusalem
Many mysteries surround the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Why was it built? How to explain its presence? These questions remain unanswered, as the building is neither a mosque nor a mausoleum. What is certain is that it mixes several styles: an Eastern Christian architecture and decorations with Corinthian, Byzantine, Persian and Jewish influences. Covered with a golden alloy and visible from everywhere in the city, the Dome of the Rock is a sublime place to visit in Palestine.
5 – The Tomb of the Patriarchs in the Old City of Hebron
The spiritual center of the old city of Hebron, in the far south of Palestine, the Tomb of the Patriarchs is revered by Jews, Muslims and Christians alike. It is where the prophet Abraham and his family are buried. The building looks like a fortress and is divided into two rooms: one is a synagogue, the other a mosque. A holy place which is subject to very strict security measures.