Despite its small size, Palestinian village of Aboud has a lot of interesting sights to offer. From its beautiful natural countryside views full of olive and citrus trees, through various archaeological findings of great importance to the local legends and traditions.
People from Aboud state that the name of their village is given after the Biblical Prophet Obadiah (who is also said to be buried in Sebastiya). Aboud is also often called “city of flowers” for its rich nature. A document written by L.E.P. Lombarti in 1959 states that a priest Elias Al-Aboudi initiated this nickname.
How to get there?
Aboud is placed 30 km northwest from Jerusalem, in the Palestinian Territories. The village is located along the road #465, which can be reached by following the main road #60 towards north.
Significant Archaeological Findings
The remains of Roman, Byzantine, Crusader, Ayyubid, Mameluke and Ottoman occupations are evident in several sites of the village.
Just 2 km from the core of the village is located al-Maqata, which is an impressive site of ancient Roman quarry and burial place. The regular rectangular cuts in the dark stone are clearly visible. Ornaments of flowers and fruits decorate entrances to the tombs, which interiors are covered with (now faded) frescoes.
Ancient Churches of Aboud
There are ruins of nine ancient churches scattered around the area of Aboud.
In the middle of the village are located hardly seen ruins of its oldest church called by the locals Messieh, which name derives from the Arabic word meaning Christ. According to the local tradition, Aboud received the Christian faith from Christ himself that preached on that spot. The village lies on the principal Roman road via Gophna (Jifna) to Antipatris (Ras el-Ain) that Jesus and the Holy Family could have used when travelling between the Galilee and Jerusalem.
A colored byzantine mosaic floor of Simon’s Church was found on the site of the modern Roman Catholic Convent built in 1912/3.
The Orthodox church of St. Mary, which is also know under the name al-Abudiyah, is located in the center of the village. The first church was built during the 5th century A.D. Byzantine remains are incorporated in the later construction, which according to the inscription in the Aramaic language took place in the middle of the 11th century. Outside the present structure we can also see excavated Byzantine mosaic floor. The entire northern wall, most of the windows and the west door were added in the 18th century.
St. Barbara from Aboud
There were also found ruins of ancient churches dedicated to St. Tadros and St. Barbara. The local tradition keeps that the Saints were from the same village. Thus it is believed that both of them were from Aboud and it is not a coincidence that the churches named after them were found so close to each other.
Acoording to the Palestinian legend, St. Barbara was born in Aboud to a Roman landlord Dioscorus. The woman fell in love with a Christian man and was baptized, what made her pagan father extremely furious. He punished and imprisoned her. The next morning St. Barbara’s body was recovered and she managed to escape. Dioscorus send his soldiers to look for his daughter, but she hid in the fields of grain, which completely covered her. Unfortunately, finally her father found her and sentenced her to death in martyrdom.
The Byzantine ruins of Saint Barbara’s church are located on a hill west of the village. The Saint is venerated by both Christian and Muslim villagers. Palestinians celebrate the feast of St. Barbara (Eid Burbara) on the 17th of December and on that day numerously pilgrimage to the site. Traditionally, probably because it was grain that saved Barbara, a sweet dish burbara made from wheat seasoned with sugar, cinnamon, fennel and anise, is prepared by women allover the country.
Hike in Aboud
It could be a great idea to visit the village on foot and even hike in its environs, especially during the spring time when a walker could enjoy the rich nature and plenty of spring flowers. ‘Walking Palestine’ book by Stefan Szepsi describes tree hiking trails around the village.
Canaan is a boutique winery that was established by Ibrahim Hmaid in his home village Aboud in 2005 as “a natural continuation of centuries-old wine making tradition in Palestine”. For production of his dry natural red wine Mr. Ibrahim uses the best quality baladi grapes that are grown in the area of Hebron hills, which is know for its vine abundance since the Biblical times.
If you would like to taste Canaan homemade wine so contact Mr. Ibrahim at 0599728078. He is also a very knowledgable person, who could tour you around Aboud.
Beata Andonia blogs regularly for Travelujah, the leading faith-based social network in the Holy Land. She is originally from Poland and moved to Bethlehem in 2010.