Filming at Desert Monasteries

Throughout the Holy Land, one finds an astonishing number of beautiful old monasteries that are very much worth a visit for crews filming in Israel. They are scattered from the south up to the very north of the country and several of them are situated in the magnificent Judean desert.

People have always sought the purifying solitude of the desert, finding all they needed in dwelling caves and fresh water springs, while not being too far from villages and roads to obtain provisions. Desert monasteries began in fourth-century Egypt, as Byzantine monks sought to return to simplicity and to honor the prophets: John the Baptist and Jesus.

The St. John Monastery in the Wilderness is a Franciscan monastery built around a spring on a wooded slope south of Jerusalem. This monastery situated on six hectares of Judean Hill land enjoys a magnificent location. It is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and it is built around the grotto where John and his mother are said to have lived. St. John in the desert is not just a monastery but a hermitage, a place of silence and spiritual rejuvenation. This is a very interesting place to visit for film crews researching the story of John the Baptist as well as examining the footsteps of Jesus, whose life was so heavily influenced by John whom he regarded as a true master.

The St. Gerasimos Monastery, also known as Deir Hijla, is named after the biblical Beth Hoglah and was founded by the Byzantine monk St. Gerasimos. It was built on the site where Jesus was baptized. It is situated off the Dead Sea – Beit Shean road not far from the St John Monastery. It is a very picturesque place with a lovely church; the church and the monastery were rebuilt just over hundred years ago in 1890. The courtyard is very popular with locals traveling through the Jordan Valley.

The St. George’s Monastery has a spectacular biblical setting in midst the Wadi Kelt that runs from the Jordan Valley to Jerusalem. This beautifully restored monastery also began in the fourth century when monks where seeking the same desert experience as the prophets. They settled around a cave of which legend says that Elijah was fed by ravens. The sixth-century complex which is situated on a hanging cliff with ancient chapels and gardens is still inhabited by several Greek Orthodox monks. It is considered to be one of the most spectacular monasteries of the Middle East.

These monasteries are truly magnificent and important locations for documentaries. Filming permits for these monasteries can be arranged in accordance with the authorities at the monasteries as well as the Israeli army. Biblical Productions enjoys excellent relations with all authorities and the army and can arrange the permits for your next production in Israel.

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