The three northern teams made a fourth and final visit to the historic town of Sabastiya. This village is located north of Nablus in the West Bank, and has over 4,000 residents.
Six cultures have lived in this place for over 10,000 years: Canaanite, Israelite, Hellenistic, Herodian, Roman and Byzantine. The crusaders installed a bishop here during their time in the Near East. Unfortunately, the Israeli occupation of Palestine does not allow any restoration of the various sites.
Sabastiya is built on a prominent hill, surrounded by beautiful valleys all around, with mountains circling the valleys. From this vantage point, one can see and easily defend the site. This is likely the reason that it has been occupied for such a long time.
As you drive through the village to the top, you are greeted by these columns of the Forum.
Locals say that the columns will sway, but not fall, if you push against them. We tried, the column seemed to move back and forth.
Continuing up the hill, the next site is the Amphitheatre. In the summer, there are performances in this place, packed by young Palestinians and internationals.
Nearby is the remnant of a tower adjacent to the amphiteatre.
On the descending stairwell to the grotto, this carved stone is on your right.
And in the grotto itself, behind a locked gate, is an icon for John the Baptist.
From the hilltop, one can see the Road of Columns, remaining since the time of the Roman occupation.
One finds other interesting things other than ancient ruins in Sabastiya. This four-legged was available for riding, but it was too hot to lope around the block.
Here endeth the road trip to the northern West Bank.