Samaria (ancient city)

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Samaria ruins

Samaria ( Hebrew שומרון Shomron , ancient Greek Σαμάρεια Samareia , later Σεβάστη Sebaste , Arabic سبسطية, Sebastia ) was the capital of the Kingdom of Israel from about 876 BC. It is located in central Palestine , not far from the modern city of Nablus , the ancient Shechem , on a hill about 90 m high.

Other names are Sebaste, Sebastia, Sebastiya, Sebastiyeh, Sebastos, Sebustiyeh, Shamir, Shomeron or Shomron .


The Israelite king Omri founded around 876 BC As a replacement for the less well located Tirza the new capital Samaria on a previously uninhabited mountain. Omri's successors had here until the destruction by the Assyrians in 722/21 BC. ( 2 Kings 17.1-23  EU ) their seat, afterwards the fortress became the center of the Assyrian, then Babylonian and from 539 BC. Persian province of Samerina . Again it was 107 BC. Destroyed by the Hasmoneans and later rebuilt as Sebaste by Herod the Great . With the establishment of Flavia Neapolis by Emperor Vespasian in 72 AD, the city increasingly lost its importance. It was finally abandoned in Byzantine times. See also the article Samaritans .

Sebaste in Palestine is now a Roman Catholic titular bishopric .

Today's Sebastia is a village in the Palestinian Territories .

Buildings and archeology

Remains of a casemate wall, which was built by Omri's son Ahab , as well as a 24 × 27 m palace building and some magazines come from the Israelite period . The most important finds are some fragments of ivory carvings and an ostraca collection , now in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. The ruins of some Roman buildings are particularly impressive. a. a basilica and a theater. The former St. John's Cathedral from the 12th century now serves as a mosque in which the tomb of John the Baptist is venerated.



  • Albrecht Alt : The city-state of Samaria (= reports on the negotiations of the Saxon Academy of Sciences in Leipzig, Philological-Historical Class 101.5). Berlin 1954. Reprinted in: Albrecht Alt: Small writings on the history of the people of Israel III. Edited by Martin Noth, Munich 1959, pp. 258-302.
  • Yaʿaḳov Meshorer , Shraga Qedar: The coinage of Samaria in the fourth century BCE. Los Angeles 1991, ISBN 0-9626987-1-7 .

Web links

Commons : Samaria (ancient city)  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 32 ° 16 '34 "  N , 35 ° 11' 42"  E