St. George Monastery

Useful Information

Location: At the road between Jericho and Mitzpe Yeriho. Wadi al Qilt.
(31.844456, 35.414166)
Open: All year Sun-Fri 8-11, 15-17, Sat 9-12.
Classification: SubterraneaCave Temple
Guided tours:  
Address: St. George Monastery, Wadi El Qelt, Jericho, Tel: +972 50259949
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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4th century some monks looking for the desert experience from the bible settled around the cave.
5th century monastery built by John of Thebes.
1179 restored by the Crusaders, but soon abanonded.
1878 restored by he Greek monk Kalinikos.
1901 restoration completed.


The Greek orthodox monastery St. George is located in the eastern West Bank It is a cave monastery, built into the overhanging cliff face of the northern wall of Wadi Qelt. This cave is believed to be the place where Elijah was fed by ravens (1 Kings 17:5-6). Wadi Qelt is sometimes thought to be the Valley of the Shadow from Psalm 23, and where shepherds still watch over their flocks, from Ezekiel 34 and John 10:1-16. The monastery was built at the end of the 5th century by John of Thebes. Gorgias of Coziba lived for some time here, so the monastery was named after him.

In 614 AD the monastery was destroyed by the Persians, they also swept through the valley and massacred the fourteen monks who dwelt there. The monastery was abandoned until in 1179 the Crusaders made some attempts to restore it, but after they left it was abandoned again. In its current state it was restored by the Greek monk Kalinikos, who settled here in 1878. He completed his work in 1901 and since that time the monastery is inhabited by a few Greek orthodox monks.

The monastery may be visited, but it is accessible only on a side road between Jerusalem and Jericho, to get to the monastery requires a 4WD. Or a long walk in the heat. Trips to the monastery are offered by tour operators. There is a strict dress code, all visitors must be fully covered. No shorts for men (okay, on most men shorts are assault and battery) and long skirt and long sleeves for women. Also the monks have a reputation for being unfriendly to visitors. On the other hand, they went to a place hours away from civilization and still they are regularly harassed by tourists.