Deir Qala

Deir Qala

To reach Deir Qala, enter the community of Peduel and drive till you reach a T junction. Deir Qala is down the road to the right. Drive to the parking lot of pre-army preparatory institute, near the fence around the community (visitors who need to use a washroom can turn left at the junction and drive to the main synagogue, just up the road).

Walk west from the parking lot, toward the fence, and continue to your left until you see the gate in the fence. This site is known as Israel’s Balcony. Follow the path with the green trail markings, for about 150 meters to the southwest, until you reach a lookout with a swing and a bench. From there continue down the hill to the south, to the fortress. The path continues south beyond the fortress, and after 20 meters there is an interesting cave that was once inhabited by monks. From there the path leads to Deir Balut Junction, on the road to Bet Arye.

The Deir Qala monastery was described by the British survey expedition as “perhaps the most beautiful and best preserved of the ruined monasteries in Israel.” This description is based on the preservation of the walls to a height of up to seven meters, including some windows in the southern wall. A cross is engraved on the lintel above the entrance.

The ground near the entrance is strewn with broken capitals and sections of columns. In the center of the monastery are the remains of a basilica-style church (aisles, narthex and apse). North of the church are the remains of a chapel. There are several rooms among the ruins of the monastery, and in one of these – near the southeastern corner – is a large winepress from the period that predated the monastery. Several pools that held water used by the monks are also visible in the monastery compound. Along the path is a arcosolium (arched recess) tomb that was used by the monks, and nearby is a cave with two levels. The upper level has a small seasonal spring and the remains of a small apse, hewn into the rock, that was used for prayer and solitude.

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