Mar Saba Monastery, Bethlehem

#3 of 10 in Historic Sites in Bethlehem
Religious Site · Tourist Spot
Reputedly the oldest continuously inhabited monastery in the world, Mar Saba Monastery hangs over a ravine from a cliff edge. The desert monastery started out in the 5th century as a series of hermits' caves; later, the Greek Orthodox Church built the monastery here, dedicated to those early monks' leader, St. Sabas. Current churches, chapels, and cells date back to 1834, when the monastery was restored after an earthquake. Compare the austerity of the living quarters to the splendor of golden icons adorning the walls of the churches. In keeping with an old tradition, only men may enter the monastery, while women can view it from a tower, allegedly built by the saint's mother. Make Mar Saba Monastery a centerpiece of your Bethlehem vacation itinerary, and find what else is worth visiting using our Bethlehem road trip planning tool.
Create an itinerary including Mar Saba Monastery
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors

Mar Saba Monastery reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
181 reviews
  • PLEASE BE AWARE MAR SABA DOES NOT ADMIT FEMALES .There's not much else to say but this fact is not always made clear by tour guides/groups. Women have to wait outside whilst the men go in  more »
  • This is a must-see, even if you cannot get inside. The surrounding Judean Hills and the Kidron Valley are an amazingly beautiful place to hike, with breathtaking views. The monastery is set amid...  more »
  • Amazing orthodox monastery in the middle of the Judean Desert. Inside, you feel like the first monks a thousand years ago. Women are forbidden to enter, but they can walk around and enjoy fantastic views of the monastery.
  • Mar Saba monastery is a must visit site while travelling in Bethlehem area, the ancient monastery and the unique landscape brings you back in a time centuries ago when the desert hermits crowded the Judean desert. it's a greek-orthodox monastery and entrance is allowed only for men. I suggest to cross the valley and climb up the cave where St. Saba first settled from there you will have amazing view of the monastery complex.
  • Build a trip
    Tell us where and when you
    want to go, we will build
    the best sightseeing itinerary
  • Refine it
    You have complete flexibility on your destinations and itinerary
  • Book as a package
    Use our travel agents to get
    package savings and hassle free booking
  • Enjoy your trip!
    Enjoy our 24x7
    on-trip assistance