The parable of the Good Samaritan - the visit begins first and foremost with the origin of the name: this is an echo of the New Testament story of the Samaritan who helped out a fellow man. In brief, the parable tells of a man who was robbed and left injured by the wayside. A Cohen and a Levite passing by did not offer their help, but a Samaritan, considered in Judaism to be of lesser status, proved that he was more humane than them, and helped the injured man, brought him to the inn, and even paid for his board and lodging there. In Christianity, this parable became a symbol of helping others at times of need without expecting anything in return, and in Byzantine times this site was identified with the inn mentioned in the parable.
The finds on display at the site have been selected to suit the spirit of the well-known parable, and offer historical evidence of members of the Jewish, Christian and Samaritan faiths. They have been assembled over many years from Judea, Samaria and Gaza, in order to protect them from damage and exhibit them to the general public.
The mosaic collection – the mosaics at the site were made during the Byzantine period (4th – 7th century CE), when the craft of mosaic work flourished and was very common in the land of Israel and the neighboring countries.
In the open area of the Good Samaritan Museum are many interesting items, including mosaics from Dir Kal'a, Horvat Brechot, Shoham, Na'aran, from Samaritan synagogues, churches in Shilo, and other sites. The "Gaza mosaic" - the large mosaic floor at the entrance to the site - is one of the most fascinating: it was found in the 1960s in a Jewish synagogue uncovered in Gaza, and brought here in a complex undertaking. A detailed study of the mosaic reveals medallions made up of different plants and animals, including a tiger, lioness, giraffe, peacock, and zebra, and other decorations.
The museum, inaugurated in 2009 by the Staff Archaeology Officer in the Judaea and Samaria Civil Administration and handed over to the Nature and Parks Authority in July 2010, was established in an existing Ottoman period building. The original building, which had six halls, served as a caravanserai. One wing of the museum is devoted to the story of the Samaritan community, its history and customs.
Oher interesting finds on display in the museum include the tombstone inscription of one of the heads of the nearby Martyrius Monastery, a marble table found in the monastery, a carved stone pulpit, a marble chest resembling a sarcophagus from the church at Horvat Bet Sila, and more.
The ancient church and archeological courtyard - a church was found here in 1934, and excavated. After the excavation, many of the mosaic stones decorating the church floor were looted. For this reason, the floor has been restored and repaved with around 1.7 million tesserae. In this covered church, which today has rows of wooden benches, masses are held from time to time by different streams of Christianity.
The finds on display in the archaeological courtyard are both local and items that have been brought here: water cisterns, Samaritan sarcophagi, decorated capitals, ancient rollers (for tamping down the plaster used for construction), and others.
The courtyard itself is no less fascinating than the items on display in it: archaeologists excavating at the site uncovered finds dating from the 1st century BCE - evidence of the lively activity that took place here. In the 4th and 5th centuries CE there was apparently a fortress here, and in the 6th century a hostel was built for the pilgrims thronging this well-known route. The hostel occupied a square building in which there was a central courtyard with a large cistern in the middle, residential rooms, and a spacious church.
Best season: All year round
Other attractions: It is recommended to round out a visit to the area with a visit to the museum of the painter Moshe Kastel in Ma'ale Adumim.
Last entry to the museum is one hour before closing time
Sunday - Thursday and Saturday – 8 am – 5 pm
Fridays and the eve of holidays – 8 am – 4 pm
Sunday - Thursday and Saturday – 8 am – 4 pm
Fridays and the eve of holidays – 8 am – 3 pm
On the eve of New Year, the eve of the Day of Atonement, and Passover eve: 8 am – 1 pm
The Martyrius and Euthymius sites:
Entry for groups only, by prior arrangement
Adult – NIS 22
Child – NIS 10
Groups (over 30) : Adult – NIS 19
Child – NIS 8
Samaria Education Center
In the The Good Samaritan Museum adaptations to make the site accessible to people with disabilities are being made. Adaptations currently in place include: