Inn of the Good Samaritan

Inn of the Good Samaritan

In the heart of the Judean desert, on the route from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, is a Christian archaeological site and museum of mosaics. Archaeologists surmise that the location served as an inn for travelers, and that it may have been the inn that Jesus referenced in the parable of the Good Samaritan. The site of the ancient inn continues to draw Holy Land travelers to this day.

Jesus would have been familiar with the road that passes by the inn, since he would have traveled from the Galilee to Jerusalem via the Jordan Valley. When travelers reached the inn, they could catch their first glimpse of Jerusalem's peaks at the Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus.

A walk around the outdoor section of the site reveals the excavations of a small palace (perhaps King Herod's), cave dwellings and cisterns. Remains of a sixth century inn are also on display. A Byzantine church, which was once decorated with mosaic floors, served as the inspiration for the museum of mosaics.

The display of mosaics is located in a pleasant air-conditioned (restored) Turkish inn. These mosaics were brought in from Jewish and Samaritan synagogues as well as Christian churches all over Israel. Some date as far back as the fourth century. Designs include rich geometric patterns, birds and flowers. Some have Greek, Hebrew or Samaritan inscriptions. One of the mosaics depicts King David playing the harp.

Other artifacts on display include pottery, coins and stone coffins from the first century, a carved pulpit, a case for holy relics and a dining table from the Byzantine era.

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