The memory of the Baptist, enhancement of cultural heritage and the promotion of exepriential travel

Palestine /Sebastia and Nisf Jubeil


Sebastia is a Palestinian village of 4500 inhabitants. The town owes its importance to the tomb of St. John the Baptist which is found here toghether with Pilgrims visited the place in large numbers in the past, but due to the political situation, the flow stopped and Sebastia was erased from the pilgrim routes.

Since 2008 ATS pro Terra Sancta has been working in Sebastia and Nisf Jubeil (a small village nearby) to reestablish the place’s memory, through the preservation of the cultural heritage and for the development of the local community. Over the years we have created job opportunities for unemployed young people, women and people with physical or mental distress, as well as encouraging the improvement of the quality of local products to enhance sales. Thanks to the training courses, we were able to recover the tradition and support young people in developing their artistic skills. In the center of the village there is a ceramic laboratory and a shop selling typical products (olive oil soap, seasonal jams, etc.). Also the works for restoration and maintainance of the archeological heritage of the place were carried out by locals, trained by the Mosaic Centre Jericho (a local NGO) and under the supervision of foreign professionals and experts.

Another important part of the project was the establishment of the Mosaic Guesthouse Sabastya that was built in an old building we recovered and is now managed by local staff from the village. We regularly carry out training activities for women, young people and disabled children (ceramics processing and management of tourism services).


  • Recovery of historical heritage and definition of cultural itineraries
  • Craftsmen training (mosaic, ceramics), and workers
  • Promotional and experiential travel and training courses in the tourism sector (management, marketing etc.)
  • Cultural activities offered to the local community, with particular care for young people and women.

Rami’s story

Since June 2016, Rami, a 28-year-old boy from Nisf Jubeil is in charge of the Mosaic Guesthouse in Nisf Jubeil. In addition to the Guesthouse, a workshop was also started where ceramics are handcrafted according to local tradition. “Initially I was involved as a worker in the restoration work of some ancient Palestinian homes, which we transformed into the rooms of the Nisf Jubeil Guesthouse – he says – now I run the Guesthouse toghether with some families of the village, for the washing of the sheets and towels, breakfast preparation”. This project is really an important occasion for many in the village that do not have many means to support themselves other than the cultivation of olives and some pastoral activities. Rami owns seven sheep and olive trees in the family lands. “That is not little”, he says enthusiastically, “but in this work I learn a method and a new horizon opens up. Now I’m learning English; it’s the first time I feel involved in building something big!”


  • Local population
  • visitors of the site
  • Women, workers and artisans

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    pro Terra Sancta Association