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Background on Sebaste

Located in Samaria, the capital in the ancient northern Kingdom of Israel, Sebaste National Park is located about seven and a half miles north of Nablus. The Old Testament site of Samaria (it is mentioned 109 times in the Old Testament) was founded by the Ephramite ruler Omri (ruled 885-874 BC) and was once the capital city of the Northern Kingdom of Israel . Like most of other Herod buildings Sebaste was originally built by Ahab, the son of Omri and husband of Jezbeel. The Assyrians captured in in 723B.C, thereby ending the Israelite rule.

 

ampitheatre at sebaste

 

Sebaste contains a fortress and palace dating from the ninth-eighth centuries BCE when prophets such as Elijah warned people of what would happen if they did not follow the word of God. But Sebaste flourished during the Roman period as well. The Roman Emperor Augustus gave the city of Sebaste to Herod and he then rebuilt it in typically grand Herod style complete with an impressive, kilometer long cardo containing 600 columns to an impressive gate. He also built a forum, a Roman basilica, stadium, temple, hippodrome, houses, storeshouses and a theater surrounded by a wall and gates. Situated in the Samarian mountains, the site enjoys gentle mountain breezes. The ancient Roman theater and stadium were both built in honor of Augustus Caesar and the remains of a mosque that were built over a byzantine era church dedicated to John the Baptist.

 

Visiting Sebaste

 

Sebaste is located about 7 kilometers north of Nablus off of Route 60 in the West Bank. Some of the alternative travel companies offer regularly scheduled day tours, such as Green Olive Tours. These programs do appear to be political in nature and therefore we do not recommend them. Our suggestion is to visit the site with a private tour guide. We recommend that Sebaste be visited with a private tour guide. Visits do need to be prearranged in advance through the parks authority director, Moti Fee, at 057-7762053 or by phoning 09-8841623. (Note Sebastiye is located within the Palestinian Authority areas)

 

Surrounding Places of Interest

 

Nablus
Jacobs Well
Mt. Gerazim

 

 

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