North of the city of Jericho in the Jordan Valley are the ruins of Mafjar, antiquities from the Byzantine and Roman period, today an important early Islamic archaeological site. Built in 734 AD the ruins of Hisham's Palace are renowned for it's mosaics, it's stuccos, stone sculptures and for being one of the last remaining highly sophisticated desert palaces.
10. Khirbat Al Mafjar
Founded in 480 AD in the Wadi Qelt Valley south west of the city of Jericho is the impressive cliff hanging St. George Orthodox Monastery. Abandoned in the 12th century,it was later restored by a Greek monk at the end of the 1800's to it's current condition. As with many locations in the region, the bridge that leads across the Wadi Qelt Valley is believed to be the 'Walk Through The Valley Of The Shadow' as referenced in the Bible. Visitors have the choice to either take a 3 hour hike through the Wadi, or visit the parking lot lookout point adjacent to the monastery.
9. St. George Orthodox Monastery
At the heart of the old city of Hebron in the Hebron Hills in the south of the Palestinian territory is the Cave Of The Double Tombs, also known as the Cave Of The Patriarchs, referred to by Muslims as the Sanctuary of Abraham. Located beneath the Saladin-era Mosque are a series of subterranean chambers, supposedly the burial site of patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob along with their wives. Dating back over 2,000 years the compound is thought to be the oldest still intact continuously used prayer structure in the world as well as the oldest major building still used for it's original design.
8. Cave Of The Patriarchs
In the east of Palestine near the northern shores of the Dead Sea is an area known as Qumran. Although it seems to fall within Palestinian territory it is managed as Israel's Qumran National Park, an open archaeological site. Located on a dry plateau the area is rich in the ruins of historical settlements, ancient caves and steep desert cliffs. One of the most important finds within the site was the Qumran Cave Scrolls, otherwise known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
7. Qumran National Park
Overlooking the city of Jericho is the 6th century cliff hanging Monastery Of The Temptation, built on the slopes of the traditionally named Mount of Temptation, said to be where Jesus spent forty days and nights fasting from the temptation of Satan. Whether visitors believe in the ancient tales or not, the area makes for a most incredible sight.
6. Monastery Of The Temptation
In the Kidron Valley between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea is The Holy Lavra of St. Sabbas The Sanctified, known in Arabic as Mar Saba. Founded in the year 483 AD it is considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited monasteries in the world. Visitors should be aware that the monastery is closed on Wednesday's and Friday, and that women visitors are only permitted to enter the Women's Tower. Time moves on, God's sexism seems to remain pretty constant.
5. Mar Saba Monastery
South of Jerusalem in the central West Bank is the city of Bethlehem. Rich in history and ancient tales it is the city where David, slayer of Goliath was crowned the King of Israel as well as the Biblical birthplace of Jesus Christ. One of the most visited sites in the region is the Church of The Nativity, originally built in the year 327 AD at the request of Constantine The Great to mark the birth site of Jesus, it was later burnt down in the Samaritan Revolts, what stands there today was restored in 565 AD. The Church Of The Nativity is one of the most important sites within the Christian religion and considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site in danger.
Built by Herod The great around 15 BC just south of the city of Bethlehem in the Judaean Desert is the 'Mountain Of Little Paradise', otherwise known as Herodion or versions thereof. At 753 metres (2,487 ft) above sea level it is the highest point in the Judaean Desert, at it's peak within a hollowed out cone are the archaeological remains of the small town and palace fortress known as the Acropolis of Herodion.
Lying within the Jordan Rift Valley, bordering Jordan to the east and Israel & Palestine to the west, sitting 430 metres (1,412 ft) below sea level the Dead Sea has the lowest land elevation on Earth and is the saltiest body of water in the world. Attracting visitors from across the globe, the Dead Sea is revered for it's therapeutic qualities and by those who simply wish to feel the unusual sensation of floating on it's surface.
2. Dead Sea
On the border of Israel and Palestine, claimed by both the Israeli's and the Palestinian's, one of the oldest cities in the world, sometimes referred to as the Eternal City, the City Of David or the Holy City, it is simply better known as Jerusalem. Destroyed at least twice, attacked, besieged, captured and recaptured over the centuries, the city has been a place of volatility for millennia. Traditionally split into Armenian, Christian, Jewish and Muslim quarters the old walled city of Jerusalem is a hot bed of religious history, religious symbolism and historical monuments at every turn. The entire old city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in danger.