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Mars Elyas Hill

Mars Elyas Hill is about 9 km north west of Ajoun Castle in a woodland surrounded by widl trees one each side. the site is a small hiss which is about 900m above sea level. However the naming is thought to have a relation with a prophet mentioned in both the Qur'an (Elias) and the Old Testament (Elijah). Further the finding of a Greek inscriptions on the mosaic mentioning Elijah adds support to this idea. In addition, this church and the mosaic was presented in honor of him. It is also thought that the village of Lesteb, which is about half a kilometer to the west of this site is in fact Tshebi, mentioned in the Old Testament. If this is true, then this is the birth place of Elijah. However, to date there have been few archeological digs so it is not known if that site belongs to the Iron Age, in which Elijah lived.

The site of Mar Elyas has born this name for many centuries. The excavation of this site was begun in 1999. A large church was found (about 1340 m that belongs to the end of the 6th century and the beginning of the 7th century AD in which its floor was paved with a mosaic. In addition, another smaller church was found in 2001 to the west of the large church. It is thought that this church belongs to an earlier period.
Above: Rolling hills as one drives west towards Mars Elyas Hill, which looks west towards the Jordan Valley.

 Below: View from Mars Elyas hill looking west.

Below: Large Church


 Below: The small church