Μοναστήρι του Πειρασμού

Monastery of the Temptation - דיר אל-קרנטל - Deir al Krntl


Useful Information

Location: Jericho. 15-30 min walk or take cable car.
(31.874722, 35.432222)
Open: All year Mon-Fri 8-16, Sat 8-14.
[2021]
Fee: free, donations welcome.
[2021]
Classification:  
Light: SubterraneaCave Temple
Dimension:  
Guided tours:  
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Monastery of the Temptation, Jericho, Tel: 02-2322827.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History

326 identified as the place of Jesus' temptation of Satan by Augusta Helena of Constantinople.
614 Persian invasion.
630s conquered by the Arabs under the Islamic Caliphate of Umar ibn al-Khattab.
1099 conquered by the Crusaders.
1874 land purchased by the Orthodox Church.
1895 monastery constructed around the small crusader cave chapel which contains the stone where Jesus sat during his fast.
1998-2000 cable car from Jericho's Tell es-Sultan to the level of the monastery built by an Austrian-Swiss company.

Description

The Μοναστήρι του Πειρασμού (Monastery of the Temptation) is a Greek Orthodox cave monastery. It is located in a cliff face in the eastern side of the Mount of Temptation (350 m asl) overlooking the city of Jericho, Palestine. The monastery is owned and managed by the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, but it currently serves as a tourist attraction.

Since the early centuries of Christianity the natural caves were inhabited by hermits. The monastery was constructed by the Byzantines in the 6th century inside the cave, which they used as cells, chapels and storage rooms. The reason was, that one cave was considered the place where Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights fasting and meditating during the temptation of Satan. Both the mountain and the monastery were named after this Christian legend. For more info see Matthew (4:1-11), Luke (4:1-13), and Mark (1:12-13). The identification of this place as the location of the legend was made by Augusta Helena of Constantinople during her pilgrimage in 326. But the monks abandoned the site after the Persian invasion of 614. Palestine, including Jericho, was conquered by the Arabs under the Islamic Caliphate of Umar ibn al-Khattab in the 630s. It was conquered by the Crusaders in 1099, who built two churches on the site, one cave chapel contains the stone where Jesus sat during his fast. During the first half of the 12th century they called it Mons Quarantana, from Quaranta meaning forty days. This name stuck, it is today locally known as Quruntul mountain.

The monastery of today is rather young, the ground was purchased by the Orthodox Church in 1874, in the following year they started constructing the monastery. It was constructed around a crude cave chapel, which was constructed by the Crusaders to mark the stone where Jesus sat during his fast. The monastery uses a horizontal ledge below a cliff face, the shelter was widened, and the buildings also partly protrude outwards.

The monastery became less important at the end of the 20th century, the number of monks shrank. Finally it was discovered as a tourist destination. Its development started with the construction of a cable car from Jericho's Tell es-Sultan to the level of the monastery by an Austrian-Swiss company. It was opened in 2000, and there are a restaurant, a café and a souvenir shop in front of the monastery. From there its a level walk to the actual monastery which is inhabited by three Orthodox monks who are guiding visitors to the site. Unlike other Greek Orthodox monasteries, female visitors are allowed.