Ruins of Samaritan Temple on Mount Gherisim, Israel.

© scrucis/Shutterstock

Samaritan Ruins

West Bank

The ancient site of the Samaritan Temple is a 10-minute walk uphill from the village, via a locked gate: ring the intercom and a guard will let you through.

Once you pay at the desk, you are free to wander around the site at your leisure. You’ll see the lowered floor that Samaritans say was the foundation of their temple, which was built in the 5th century BCE and only survived 200 years before being destroyed by the Maccabees (a Jewish rebel army) in 128 BCE.

Also on the site is the rock that Samaritans believe was where Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, Isaac, and dozens of temple buildings connected via shaded wooden pathways. The remains of a church, first constructed in 475 CE, have also been found on the mountain. You can rent binoculars for an extra 10NIS.

From the centre of Nablus, Mt Gerizim can be reached by taxi in around 10 minutes. It’s a 50NIS to 70NIS journey including wait time.

If driving from Ramallah, turn left at Tapuah Junction to avoid driving through Nablus; the site is well signposted. Taxis have to wait outside the village at a military checkpoint, so be prepared to pay your driver in advance.

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