Mar Saba is a Greek Orthodox monastery overlooking the Kidron Valley, established by Saint Sabbas the Sanctified (Mar Saba in Arabic) and named after him in 5th century AD. It is considered to be one of the oldest inhabited monasteries in the world and still maintains many of its ancient traditions. One in particular is the restriction on women entering the main compound, but they can watch from the Women’s Tower. The complex is built on the southern cliffs of the Kidron Valley and is protected inside a walled area with dozens of structures. The monastery started as a place of seclusion for a few monks in the caves, led by Mar Saba. Over the years it was built, expanded, and fortified. During its peak, the monastery housed approximately 500 monks.
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