Ein Fara Spring



Location: West Bank


Ein Fara literally mans "a bat" is named after thousands of these creatures that live in numerous caves in the canyon. This seemingly barren valley in the Judean desert is said to be a home of a prophet Ezekiel and Jesus Christ before he went on a public preaching. The monastery started with Saint Chariton who came to the region in the 330's. The legend goes that he settled in the cave where criminals captured and held him for a ransom. A snake crawled into the cave and took a sip of wine quickly regurgitating it back with its poison. The bandits drank the poisoned wine and Chariton was finally free. He stayed in his former prison and started living as a monk with many more to follow his example thereafter. Currently Chariton's cave is at a spot where the main church once stood. It was destroyed during Persian invasion in the 8th century. Although remains of retaining walls and floor mosaic is still visible.


Destinations in Ein Fara

The whole valley of Ein Fara once was home to a monastic community. Monks lived in caves and gathered in the main church for prayer. It revived after numerous invasions of Persians, Arabs, Crusaders and Turks. As you walk through the canyon you can find remains of human presence here. Graves cut in stone and numerous artefacts left by generations of monks and armies that marched here. Rectangle niches you can see on the sides of the canyon once contained icons.

Watch out for water cisterns. They are often deep and are hard to see. One is located just by the South door of the monastery. You can spot it by deep veins cut in the rock to collect water during rainy season and guide them to one location. Few ruined houses that stand by the Ezekiel's Spring just below the monastery walls were build in the 19th century by Greek monks. A small aqueduct built at the time of Herod the Great starts at the spring and runs to a town ruins that are located just on the left side just outside the canyon. A structure that is build on top of that aqueduct is a water mill from Byzantium period.

Today much of the central monastery is rebuilt by a monk Chariton with help of volunteers and his dog Laika. A mix of German shepherd  and some other kind this dog actually carries stones in her mouth from the bottom of the canyon up. If you want to visit monastery you should wear long pants, skirts and preferably sleeved shirt. The best time to visit is around noon then monk as well as other people in the desert stop working.