VIC Bethlehem visits Sebastiya & Nablus

The Visitor Information Center – Bethlehem planned to organize the VIC trip to Sebastiya & Nablus actually since a long time 🙂 And it finally worked out and was a great experience! We would like to send a special thanks to the Sebastiya Guest House for the delicious Palestinian-style lunch prepared especially for us!

Having our Palestinian-style lunch at the Guest House in Sebastiya 🙂

On the last Sunday of April 2012, we gathered in front of the Visitor Information Center in Bethlehem and waited for our bus driver to take us to Sebastiya, the ancient city with its history taking us centuries of years back! It took us around two hours to reach the site of Sebastiya and we picked up also one participant on the Hizmah Junction, she was joining us from Ramallah 🙂

Few facts about Sebastiya:

The modern village of Sebastiya gets its name from Sebaste, the city founded in 25 B.C. by Herod the Great on the site of ancient Samaria. The city on the hill was built several times. The first settlements dating to the Early Bronze Age were dedicated to the agricultural production, and an extensive wine and oil production area was located here since Iron Age.

Omri, King of ancient Israel (885 – 874 B.C.), who bought the hill from Shemer and moved there his capital, calling it Samaria, after the name of the owner. In 331 B.C. Alexander the Great settled at Samaria and transformed it into a Hellenistic town. After the conquest of Jerusalem in 63 B.C. by Pompey, the city was annexed to the Roman province of Syria.

In 30 B.C. the Emperor Augustus awarded the city to Herod the Great who renamed it in his honor Sebaste (=Augusta in Greek) and soon set about magnificent buildings.

In the first centuries, the Christianity spread all over the region and a tradition developed that the body of John the Baptist was burred in Sebastiya.

Some snapshots from our time in Sebastiya:

On the way to the Roman theater we met a group of pupils visiting the site 🙂

On the ruins of a temple to Roman Emperor, built by the Herod the Great 🙂

Inside the tomb of John the Baptist – probably 🙂

After spending a great and interesting day in Sebastiya, we went to Nablus to check the town briefly, because we really took our time in Sebastiya 🙂 We need to organize a special trip only for Nablus!! After arriving in the bustling town of Nablus we went to make a round in its Old Town:

Cutting a traditional sweet from Nablus – Knafeh 🙂

VIC visits Spice Factory in Nablus 🙂

Visitor Information Center – Bethlehem would like to invite you to join us in the different interesting tours and activities. Culture of Palestine is our Passion! If you have an idea for a next trip – suggest it 🙂


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