Standing like a fortress on a ridge whence both Jerusalem and Bethlehem can be seen, Mar Elias deserves a visit. The Monastery was founded in the 6th century and was rebuilt by the Emperor Manuel Commenus in 1160, after a destructive earthquake, under the title of St. Elias (Elijah) the Prophet. Legend would have it that the building stands on the site where Elijah rested on his flight from the vengeance of Jezebel (1 kings 19).
Opposite the Mar Elias Monastery is a stone seat, erected by Edith, wife of William Holman Hunt, the great pre-Raphaelite painter who spent many years in Palestine, and near this spot painted his great religious pictures "the light of the world" and "the scapegoat". Inscribed on the seat are verses from the bible in Hebrew, Greek, English and Arabic.
From the Convent visitors can see Bethlehem to the south, the Mount of the Franks to the south-east, and sometimes a glimpse of the Dead Sea across the valley to the east.