Ancient Shomron – Sabastiya

Ancient Shomron – Sabastiya

The ruins of Shomron are located about 12 kilometers north of Shekhem, on the way to Jenin, beside the Arab village of Sabastiya. Shomron was the capital of the kingdom of Israel in the 9th and 8th centuries BCE, and continued to be an important city even after the destruction of the kingdom. The excavated remains from the Israelite period include walls, a fortress, royal palaces, homes and storehouses.

In the late 1st century BCE Herod built a temple here in honor of Caesar Augustus. The most impressive remains from that period are the columns that lined the main street, which was about one kilometer long. Archaeologists unearthed nearly 600 columns that adorned this street, ending at a magnificent gate.

Shomron regained the height of its glory during the late Roman period (2nd and 3rd centuries CE). Most of the ruins visible today belong to that period, and include the impressive forum (commercial square), the stadium and the theater.

The mosque in the village of Sabastiya stands on the ruins of a Crusader church that was built on the foundations of a Byzantine church. Beside the mosque are tombs from the Roman period.

Sabastiya is one of two sites in Shomron that has won recognition as a national park. The site is spread over an area of nearly 200 acres and features the remains of a large city that was founded in the Roman Period and abandoned in the Byzantine period.

Special instructions: The road to this site is open to the private vehicles only on the intermediate days of Pesach and Sukkot. Throughout the rest of the year visits to Sabastiya national park site are by tour bus only, by special arrangement with the IDF at least two weeks in advance.

How to get there: From Shavei Shomron drive north on Route 60 for about 4 kilometers and turn right onto the road leading up to the city gates.

Phone number for coordinating a visit: 09-8841359, ext. 3

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