Day one: Sea Level to Kherbet Al-Merd
This section of the trail begins at the desert sanctuary of Nabi Musa, dating back to the 13th century. According to Islamic tradition the site is the final resting place of the prophet Moses; the site consists of the tomb and a mosque and a spacious compound built around them.
The journey continues through open, uninhabited areas with beautiful, panoramic vistas. The trail ascends from a deep valley along old pilgrimige routes to a mountain which overlooks Jericho and the Dead Sea. Along the route hikers will meet Bedouins tending their livestock, normally camels and sheep. At the end of this section awaits Khirbet al-Mird (Hyrcania in Greek), the mysterious fortress commonly attributed to the Hasmonean leader John Hyrcanus, who is said to have built it towards the end of the second century BC.
Day 2: Kherbet Al-Merd to Tel al-Qamar
The winding trail takes hikers down into the Kidron Valley, a valley full of caves that, in the Byzantine times, were inhabited by monks. The spectacular Mar Saba Monastery and a few Byzantine monasteries are found here: the cluster was named after Saint Saba (439-532 CE), who settled in a cave opposite the site to live in complete seclusion. The area is a perfect spot to take a break and enjoy the view and atmosphere before continuing on the Masar through hills and valleys to the Tal al-Qamar area.
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