Wednesday , 16 October 2019
Home » History » Tel Itstaba

Tel Itstaba

Many remains of a settlement from the Hellenistic period were uncovered in Tel Itstaba, near Beit Shan, including a residential section and a large public building. Tel Itstaba is not open to the public. This is as close as you will get. So see here what you missed!

Archaeologist unearthed about 300 meters of the remains of the Byzantine wall  – this is the most prominent finding on the tel (mound).

Byzantine wall (10:00 from broken bridge in center of photo)
Byzantine wall (10:00 from broken bridge in center of photo)

The Kirie Maria (Lady Mary) monastery from the Byzantine period was also found, with beautiful mosaic floors including one with the signs of the zodiac. The mosaic floor is under the rusty roof, across the street from the Hacienda Congress Center, in the photo below.

Site of Kirie Maria (Lady Mary) monastery
Site of Kirie Maria (Lady Mary) monastery

The Andreas Church which was established in memory of an anonymous martyr is also there.

Tel Itstaba
Tel Itstaba

The remains of an ancient synagogue were found outside the Byzantine city wall. Its mosaic floor included depictions of the Ark of the Covenant with candelabras, shofars (ram’s horns) and censers on either side. The inscription appearing on the mosaic is Samaritan. For this reason, some researchers believe that this was a Samaritan synagogue. In the Byzantine period (fourth century CE), “Beit She’an became an important Samaritan center under the leadership of Baba Rabbah, (an ancient Samaritan leader and reformer) at which time the Samaritans were granted national sovereignty until the end of the reign of Emperor Justinian. Another site, “Bet Leontis”, in classical Beit She’an, is considered by some archaeologist to also be a Samaritan synagogue.

About Israel and You

Cameling in the holy land since forever