The Way of the Patriarchs, the ancient route linking Hebron to Jerusalem, is believed to be the one that the Biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob used when traveling between Hebron and Mount Moriah, which would eventually become the spiritual heart of Jerusalem.
The Way of the Patriarchs
When the Patriarch Abraham first entered ancient Canaan, he settled in Hebron. King David was anointed there and ruled from Hebron for seven years, before moving his capital to Jerusalem.
Views of Jerusalem and the Judea from Newe Daniel
Travel between Hebron and Jerusalem first became important on a mass scale during the time when the First and Second Temples stood in Jerusalem. The Roman milestone marker marks a distance of 12 Roman miles (approximately 10 present-day miles) from the Damascus Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem. It is believed that the Romans who ruled in Israel after the destruction of the Second Temple used this same road.
Near the road runs is the Biyar Aqueduct, which was used to transport water to Jerusalem, also during Second Temple times. The water used to flow along the underground tunnels and was collected at the famous Solomon Pools at Bethlehem. Most of this unique over 2,000 year's old system still exists, including its water source, Biyar Spring.
The road twists between the mountains, and its every turn exposes more and more breathtaking views. From the observation terrace at the Newe Daniel settlement sitting atop one of the highest points in the area - close to 1,000 meters above sea level, one should enjoy a fascinating view of the Herodian – King Herods Tomb artificial mountain, with the mountains of Jordan stand at the background.
Herodion, Mount of Olives and Jerusalem
A short detour to the small Jewish town Efrat permits to pick into the deep ancient shafts of the Biyar Aqueducts and to enjoy the views of the neighboring Bethlehem and the great King Salomon Pools.
And yet, one of the most famous pieces of real estate on earth is the Cave of the Patriarchs (Machpela in Hebrew) in Hebron.The large imposing stone building that stands today above the cave was built over 2,000 years ago.
Six great Biblical couples are believed to be buried there: Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah. The cave wherein lie our Patriarchs and Matriarchs is just beneath this structure. Around the 1490s, access to the cave was closed, and remains closed to this very day. An opening still visible under the entrance to the structure is believed to lead to the historical tombs.
Tomb of the Patriarchs - Machpela Cave Structure
Zohar, the great ancient book of the Jewish Mystics, Kabballah, states that the Cave of Machpela is the entrance to the Garden of Eden, a secret Adam discovered when he smelled the fragrance of the Garden emanating from the Cave. After this revelation, Adam buried his wife Eve in the cave, later joining her after his death. The special holiness of the Machpela Cave was also revealed to Avraham, leading him to seek it out as a burial place for Sarah.
This explains why Avraham refused the proposal to bury Sarah at any other place, and insisted to buy the Machpela for the enormous sum of 400 silver shekels. According to Jewish tradition, prayers ascend to the Garden of Eden through the Cave of Machpela.
Inside the Machpela Cave
The monumental structure atop the cave is about 2,000 years old and it is the world's oldest public building which continues to serve the same purpose as at the time of its construction.
Today' Hebron is the largest Palestinian City of over 220.000 people. The oldest part of Hebron, around Machpela Cave. is under the Israeli control, with only 700 inhabitans ond close to 1,000,000 visitors yearly.
Modern Palestinian Hebron
Ancient Jewish Neighborhood of Hebron
Altogether a day spent travelling this short Patriarchs route leves an unprecedential impression of trevelling 4,000 years old history in one day. And this to say nothing of the breathtaking views of the great Judea Mountains, endless vinyards,modern Jewish settlements with thier red roofs and white minarets of the Arab vilages.