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Mount and Monastery of Temptation

(Jordan Valley above Jericho)

The Mount of Temptation is the traditional spot where the devil came to tempt Jesus, offering Him “all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them” if Jesus would worship him. Jesus responded, “Get thee Hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (See Matthew 4:8–10 KJV, NASB, NIV, ESV.)

Satellite Map

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USGS Landsat 7 Satellite Data from my collection of images with a 3-D perspective.

Historical Photos

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Wiki: “Jebel Quruntul overlooking the Plain of Jericho, 1931.”

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Wiki: Mount of Temptation detail, 1931.

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Detail: Monastery of Temptation (upper left), 1910.

Monastery of the Temptation

The Greek Orthodox Church built the monastery in 1895 around a cave that marked the stone where Jesus sat fasting for forty days and nights (see photos of cave and stone below). The monastery overlooks Jericho and the Jordan Valley. The Dead Sea is visible to the south on clear days.

View West: The Monastery of Temptation with the Mount of Temptation (Jebel Quruntul) behind.

View West: This photo was taken from Tel es-Sultan (Old Testament Jericho). Look closely and you can see the Monastery of Temptation (middle left), the cable car (middle) ascending to the Temptation Restaurant, the Temptation Restaurant, and the Dok fortress (top).

Detail: The Monastery of Temptation.

Detail: The ascending cable car.

Detail: The Temptation Restaurant.

View West: The Mount of Temptation with the Dok fortress (upper right) and the Monastery of Temptation (middle left).

View Southeast: The steps lead to the entrance of the monastery. The Plain of Jericho is visible in the background with the Dead Sea (top left).

Video, looking down from the Monastery of Temptation over the Jericho Plain. The video swings from north to south, ending at the Dead Sea in the distant haze.

View Southwest: The entrance to the monastery is on the north end through the square building (top right). You can see the gate and steps that lead to the entrance in the next two photos.

Ethiopian Pilgrims (day one)

I spoke with the father of one of the families, asking where he was from. He said he was from Israel now and that his family had converted to Christianity after immigrating. They came today to worship at the monastery. It was supposed to be open, but the monks didn’t let us in. The people in this group didn’t let that stop them from worshiping at the gate, as you will see in the following photos.

The father I spoke to is in the black shirt.

I regret not getting a photo with the father his son.

The colors and decorations on the people’s clothing were beautiful.

Detail: The mother and daughter from the previous photo worshiping at the gate.

Video: The small group of Ethiopians worshiped at the gate that leads to the monastery. They had to leave without getting into the monastery.

Ethiopian Pilgrims (day two)

I entered the monastery the second day with a large group of people, also from Ethiopia. I didn’t get their story, which I felt bad about. It was apparent, however, that this was an important day of worship for them.

View East: This photo looks down at the parking lot and start of the trail below the monastery.

View Southeast: There were lots of families with small children. It seemed like a special day for everyone.

The climb up from the parking lot was not easy. My heart went out to this woman.

The man on the left was the group’s leader. He led them in prayer and worship inside the monastery.

View north, looking toward the Plain of Jericho from the steps leading to the monastery’s entrance.

The Ethiopian women wore beautiful dresses with multiple colors and designs.

Inside the Monastery

The main corridor leading to the monastery’s church.

A Greek Orthodox monk entering his quarters.

Two Ethiopian worshipers praying before the church’s iconostasis.

Side view of the iconostasis with a Greek Orthodox monk escorting people (left).

Detail: Icons and religious paintings on the left side of the iconostasis.

Detail: Icons and religious paintings on the right side of the iconostasis.

The monastery has two domes. This photo is of the inside of the larger north dome, which is over the monastery’s church. The outside of the domes are visible in this monastery photo and below.

The woman in this photo is praying in front of the Holy Grotto of Christ’s temptation, located under the smaller south dome. Tradition claims that Christ sat here during His forty-day fast. Through the window behind the Holy Grotto you can see the “kingdom’s of the world, and the glory of them.” (See Matthew 4:8–10 KJV, NASB, NIV, ESV.)

View West: The two domes of the Monastery of Temption. The taller dome on the left is above the Holy Grotto of Christ’s temptation. The one on the right is over the monastery’s church.

The entrance to the monastery’s cave chapel.

A religious icon placed inside the cave chapel.

The monk’s quarters near the entrance.

The corridor leading out of the monastery.

A Personal Note

On my first visit to the monastery, I took the cable car to the restaurant to take photos I couldn’t get otherwise (it’s against the law to fly my drone on the West Bank). After arriving at the top, I discovered the gate outside the restaurant was locked. Hassan was on the other side and told me what to do. After getting through, the two of us became fast friends.

For some reason, the monks didn’t open the entrance gate to the monastery. Standing outside for an hour gave Hassan and me time to chat. On the second day, I walked to the monastery from where I was staying in Jericho. Hassan was there to sell his wares, so I bought a kaffiyeh (Arab headdress) and the best-tasting nuts I’ve ever had (I cannot remember their name). It was days like this, talking with other visitors, learning where they’re from, watching how people worship, and meeting locals like Hassan that made my time in Israel especially rewarding.

April 1, 2022: Here I am taking the cable car from Tel es-Sultan to the Mount of Temptation. Most of my Jericho photos will go on a separate Jericho page.

This is the site of Old Testament Jericho (Tel es-Sultan), with the mountains of Jordan in the background. I took the photo from the cable car.

Without a doubt, the yummiest nuts in the world.

Hassan and I chatting outside the restaurant gate.

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Wiki: “Jebel Quruntul overlooking the Plain of Jericho, 1931.”

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Detail: Monastery of Temptation (upper left), 1910.