Sabastiya, hospitality and tourism

The aim of the project “Hospitality in Sabastiya, between past and present” is the enhancement and development of the cultural heritage of the town of Sabastiya (in Palestinian territories).

We would do so through the involvement of young people, women and disables in creating a local sustainable economy to improve the families’ financial status. The project focuses on the distinctive features of the area such as biodiversity, plentiful orchards and olive trees and the extraordinary historical and archeological wealth, emphasizing the qualities of the local population, starting from the hospitality for tourists.

The unknown cultural heritage

The ancient town of Sabastiya (Sebaste), was rebuilt by Herod the Great in the 1st century BC: still visible today, atop the ancient acropolis, are the remains of the old Roman city which include the forum, the basilica, the theatre, the temple in honour of Emperor Augustus, a colonnaded street and parts of the wall.

A church in memory of the body of Saint John the Baptist was built during the Byzantine period, outside the walls on the Eastern side, where today stands a Mosque. We find references to the Church in some Christian sources dating back to the 4th Century AD. The current construction was built by the Crusaders during the second half of the 12th century and was the second biggest church after the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.

Activities of the Sabastiya project

  • Increasing the value of the extraordinary cultural heritage of the village, by refurbishing and restoring buildings and remains with high historical and archaeological value;
  • Promotion and development of responsible tourism at Sabastiya, a treasure to be discovered by those looking for a holiday in connection with the local population;
  • In the hilly landscape of Samaria sorrounding Sabastiya it is actually possible to visit archaeological sites with rich cultural value, trek along magnificent routes, taste typical products made in the area and breathe in Palestinian traditions in a welcoming atmosphere, with overnight stay at the Mosaic Guesthouse Sebastiya;
  • Empowerment of the local population in collaboration with the Palestinian NGOMosaic Centre, through active involvement of locals.

Achievements

A mosaic workshop and a shop of typical products (olive oil soap, seasonable jam etc.), have been set up downtown. Renovation and repair of the structures have been entrusted to a local architect and his team. Locals also run the Mosaic Guesthouse Sabastiya, having been provided special training. While other women and disabled people are being trained for the pottery industry and for the management of touristic services.

Many thanks to all our friends and supporters, especially the Italian Cooperation.

Visit and support Sabastiya

Write to visit@proterrasancta.org: book for a visit or a weekend!

DONATE NOW

Read our free Sabastiya tourist guide

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