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Mount of Prophet Elijah (Tell Mar Elias)

 Mount of Prophet Elijah (Tell Mar Elias)

 

 

Location: Ajlun Governorate  Map

 

Entrance Fee: Free

 

Open: 8am- 7pm Apr- Oct

8am- 4pm Nov- March

 

 

 

Description of Mount of Prophet Elijah

 

Mount of Prophet Elijah or Tell Mar Elias is a historic and religious site in the Madaba Governorate in Jordan. It is a famous site where ancient Jewish prophet Elijah lived for several years. According to a Bible he was fed by ravens who brought him bread. Mount of Prophet Elijah (Elias/ Eliya in Arabic) or Tell Mar Elias is a hill in the Ajlun region of North Jordan. Mount of Prophet Elijah is an alleged site where he lived during his life on Earth. In fact there is still a small cave at the base of the mountain or a small hill to be exact. It is widely believed that this is a former home of Elijah. There is no physical or archeological proof, but judging by oral tradition and written records it was tied to the historical prophet.  In the Bible (1 Kings 17:1-7) this region is mentioned as Tishbe. According to an Old Testament Elijah didn't die here, instead he ascended to Heaven in a chariot of fire in the Wadi- Harrar or Valley Harrar that is located near the mount.

 

"1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word." 2 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: 3 "Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there." 5 So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook." (1 Kings 17:1-7)

 

Mount of Prophet Elijah became a site of pilgrimage for centuries. Many Jews came here to pray and pay their respect to the famous prophet. Centuries later another famous Jewish prophet John the Baptist also lived here in a small cave nearby. With appearance of teaching of Jesus Christ pilgrimage here didn't subside. On the contrary increased and became more organized. Presence of Christians on this site date back to the first centuries AD when first Christian buildings were constructed on this site. In fact the Mount of Prophet Elijah contains some of the oldest Christian prayer buildings in the World.

 

Original ancient church was replaced by a Byzantine Church that was built on this site in 622. The church didn't fully survive. Today only parts of the original structure are visible. This includes floor mosaics, rock tombs, a small chapel and a water tank adjacent to the central building.

 

Writer Theodosius mentioned Mount of Prophet Elijah around 530 AD: "Where my Lord was baptized there is, on the far side of the , the 'little hill' called Hermon, where Saint Elijah was taken up".

 

Antonius Marty from Pienza who visited the Mount of Prophet Elijah  around 570 AD described this place thusly: "This is the place wher Elijah was taken up (to heaven). In that place is the 'little hill of Hermon' mentioned in the Psalm. At the foot of the mountain at seven o'clock in the morning, a cloud forms over the river, arriving over Jerusalem at sunrise, above the basilica on Zion, the basilica at Christ's Tomb and basilica of Saint Mary and Saint Sophia. Above these places the dew comes down like showers, and sick people collect it. In the hospices all the dishes are cooked in it, and in the places where this dew falls many diseases are cured. For this is the dew of which the Psalmist signs, 'it is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion ' (Psalm 133.3)"

 

Mount of Prophet Elijah was visited by a Russian abbot Daniel during his trip to the Holy Land in 1106. He wrote: "Not far away from the river, at a distance of two arrow throws, is the place where the Prophet Elijah was taken into Heaven in a chariot of fire. There is also the grotto of Saint John the Baptist. A beautiful strong fast stream (torrential rain) full of water flows over the stones towards the ; the water is very cold and has a very good taste; it is the water that John drank while he lived in the holy grotto".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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