Warning: there have been incidences of robbery and assault against walkers in the area around Khirbet Al-Mard. For the time being, we do not recommend walking in this area without a Bedouin guide.
You will start this stage from the Sea Level Community and make your way through the wilderness of Jerusalem towards Khirbet Al Mard where you will have to ascend gentle hills to reach your destination.
Clans from five tribes of the Naqab Bedouin including the Sea Level Community (Jahalin Tribe) sought refugee status with UNRWA following the Nakba in 1948. As with all refugee communities, each tribe has its own historical account of the steps which led to its expulsion and its subsequent plight. Little by little, they were forced into the vicinity of the Jerusalem‐Jericho road. There, until the 1980s, the Jahalin Bedouins established semi-permanent encampments, as well as at least two permanent structures. Today, the Jahalin Tribe is the largest refugee tribe in Palestine.
Khirbet Al Mard is a ruins place of a Byzantine monastery that is 5 kilometers in the north-east of Mar Saba Monastery located on the top of a mountain that looks like a headless cone. It has several hermit caves, water tanks, canals, tombs and some remnants of a mosaic floor and walls of a church. A scientific expedition took place at the site by two Belgians in 1953 and they revealed some manuscripts of the Bible written in Aramaic and a pottery jar.
Walking Distance: Approximately 14 km
Walking Time: Approximately 5 - 6 hours
• Lightweight walking boots
• Walking poles
• At least 3 - 4 liters of water and snacks for the hike
• Sunscreen and a hat
• Your camera
1- Khirbet Al Mard Grotto