Although you need more than a passing interest in archaeology to understand the many layers on the tell (settlement mound), for most tourists, just standing on the top and attempting to comprehend the enormous history is an inspirational highlight.
The route from Jerusalem to Jericho has served as a significant thoroughfare for many years, and the region is dotted with notable tourist destinations from the Jewish, Byzantine, and Muslim eras. Those who enjoy road trips will find a lot to do here.
Our selection of the greatest tourist destinations in Jericho will help you plan your time.
4. Wadi Qelt
In the midst of the stony hills, this quiet valley is a tranquil slice of green. It’s a stunning location with gushing freshwater springs and palm palms, and the serene ambiance has long drawn ascetics.
Over the years, a number of monastic communities have established themselves here, and Herod the Great constructed an aqueduct that was later renovated during the British Mandate. Along this old route between Jerusalem and Jericho, the Romans also constructed a road.
Hermits used to dwell in caves in this untamed mountainous region throughout the early centuries of Christianity, which is how St. George’s Monastery came to be established here. It’s a fantastic location for a day trek or for bringing a picnic.
5. St. George’s Monastery
The cliff-like north face of Wadi Qelt valley is where the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. George perches perilously.
The monastery was established in AD 480 and was first devoted to the Virgin Mary. Up until the Persians destroyed it in AD 614 and left it in ruins, it had a thriving monk community.
The current structures were built in the late 19th century, and they contain some intriguing works of religious art.
To reach the monastery’s main entrance, one must ascend a gravel route. The interior of the church honoring the Virgin Mary is filled with exquisite icons and paintings, while the Church of St. John and St. George still has a sixth-century mosaic floor.
6. Qasr el Yahud
Qasr el Yahud, one of the locations contending for the name of Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, is located right next to the Jordan River.
The other Jordanian site is located across the muddy, constrained, and shallow Jordan River, and it has a considerably stronger claim to the title following recent archaeological discoveries.
However, if you don’t want to travel to Jordan, this location serves its purpose well. The practice of pilgrims submerging themselves in the water is common.
Please keep in mind that you are not permitted to wade the three meters to the opposite shore if you do decide to join the river. On either side, the militaries of Jordan and Israel maintain guard.
7. Nabi Musa
In the desert south of Jericho is the Islamic shrine dedicated to the Prophet Moses, Nabi Musa.
Although there is no evidence that the Prophet Moses is truly interred here (Mount Nebo in Jordan also contends for the honor), a long-standing belief that dates back to the Middle Ages asserts that here is where Moses is buried.
In the 12th century, Saladin was aware of this location, and the Mameluke Sultan Baibars constructed a mosque in its stead to honor Moses. The mosque is imposingly positioned on a hill, and nearby is a sizable cemetery for Muslims who want to remain close to the prophet, even in death.
8. Inn of the Good Samaritan
The Inn of the Good Samaritan, located between Jericho and Jerusalem, honors the New Testament tale of a robbed traveler who is taken under the wing of a passing Samaritan and brought to a wayside inn to get medical attention for his injuries.
A Jewish temple and a Byzantine church have been found here thanks to excavations, and the museum next to the ruins is jam-packed with additional artifacts from the site including well-preserved mosaics.
It is a nice place to halt en route to or from Jerusalem.
9. Hasmonean Palace
Here, excavations uncovered a sizable palace with significant Hellenistic influences. It is believed to have been constructed by the Hasmonean king Alexander Jannaeus (103–76 BC), inhabited by the final Hasmonean emperors, and subsequently enhanced and extended by Herod.
This palace was created for formal and state occasions, whereas the palace at Masada was meant to be a private abode.
The palace was symmetrically planned around a large courtyard and located amid a park with terraces and water canals.
A vast audience chamber, fresco-adorned chambers, Roman baths, and Jewish ritual baths are just a few of the structures found.
10. Jericho Mosaic Center
A visit to Jericho’s Mosaic Center is essential for anybody with an interest in the craftsmanship of mosaic work and the preservation of its cultural heritage.
The mission of this institution is to preserve Palestinian mosaic legacy while also passing on the traditions and techniques of this art form to a new generation of mosaic artists.
You may observe mosaic artisans working on both new and conserved mosaics within the center, as well as buy their latest works. If you’re searching for a mosaic to take home as a memento, it’s a deserving nonprofit to support.
Jerusalem Street, in Jericho
11. Russian Museum and Tree of Zacchaeus
The Russian Museum has several intriguing displays of artifacts and mosaic fragments retrieved from on-property archaeological digs.
A fantastic collection of vintage black-and-white images from the 19th and early 20th century depicts Russian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land.
The grounds surrounding the museum are beautifully manicured and include the famous Tree of Zacchaeus, a sycamore tree that local legend holds is the same tree from the New Testament tale of Zacchaeus who climbed up into its branches in order to see Jesus.
Street Address: Ein es-Sultan
12. Deir Hijleh (Monastery of St. Gerassimos)
St. Gerassimos of the Jordan, an ascetic who lived in the neighboring solitary cells carved into the rock face in the fifth century, is honored by this modest Greek Orthodox monastery, located 400 meters below sea level in the dry plains southeast of Jericho.
It is also believed that the Holy Family stopped here for the night when fleeing into Egypt from Herod.
Although the monastery was constructed in 1875, it was built on the site of older monasteries that were maybe founded during the Byzantine period.
The monastery’s serene grounds offer a pleasant retreat from the arid desert lands outside the monastery gates, yet the chapel nearby houses some intriguing icons.
15 kilometers to the southeast of Jericho stands the monastery.