Sunday, January 18, 2009

Visiting Sabastiya

Sabastiya is a small village located fifteen kilometers north west of Nablus, and is most known for its ancient Roman ruins that it holds, as well as Byzantine artifacts also. By taking a ten minute ride in a service taxi, along with my camera, I managed to take a few photos as well as learn about the historic place.

We first visited a mosque, which used to be a church at the times of the crusaders, but was later converted in the Islamic battles.

The place itself is interesting, due to its large walls made of huge slabs of stone, still intact to this day. Aside the mosque is a recently discovered church, still under reconstruction.

In the center of the town is a large site in which were discovered many artifacts, carvings and statues that date back from the times of Romans.

Unfortunately, the government and the ministry of tourism haven't taken much care of the ruins and left them to commercial companies to come and offer.

Close to the mosque is the most important part of Sabastiya's history, the prison and grave of our Prophet Yahya. These stairs lead down to the cell below ground.

There are six holes in the far side of the cell. Inside each one is a grave to someone important at that time, and it is believed one of these belongs to the Prophet.

At the far end of the village, we come to a mostly Israeli controlled area, known as Area C. Here you can find many Roman columns in the landscape.

Each column is around thirty meters high, similar to the ones you could find in Jerash. These date back up to 3000 to 4000 years ago.

And lastly, we past by a Roman stadium at the edge of the village. This is frequently used by the Israelis, according to the villagers, for police graduation parties.

Next to the stadium is a tower, possibly the remains of an old castle at the times of the crusaders. And this concludes our visit to the village of Sabastiya.

Thank you for reading.

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