Last month we sent you a quick quiz that tests your knowledge about the Abraham Path. Now, we are happy to explain the answers! But first, we would like to thank all those who submitted responses, as well as the five winners who will each receive one of our new Abraham Path T-shirts. Be sure to keep an eye out for an email with instructions on how to claim your prize.
For the rest of you, here are the answers:
This group preserves its ancient priesthood and continues to practice its religion in a temple atop
- Answer: The Samaritans
- Well known from the biblical stories of the “good Samaritan” and of the woman whom Jesus asked to draw water from a well, this ancient religious sect has survived for millennia despite severe persecution. In the present day, they live primarily in two communities: one is located near Nablus on Mt Gerizim, which is considered to be the holiest place for the Samaritans; and a second, Neveh Marqeh, is near Tel Aviv.
- Further Reading: http://abrahampath.org/path/nablus/nablus-sites/mt-gerizim/
Archeological evidence found at this site, also known for its substantial expanses of copper slag,
gave rise to new understanding of human history, indicating that humans developed patterns of
settlement and consolidated religious practice prior to the advent of agriculture.
- Answer: Feynan
- Wadi Feynan is unique for its rich archeological history that dates back some 9,000 years. Hikers can easily spot the remnants of settlements ranging from the Neolithic era all the way to the Mamluk era; but the most notable feature is the estimated 100,000 tons of copper slag spread across the landscape, a testament to the valley’s importance during the Bronze Age.
- Further Reading: http://abrahampath.org/path/dana/dana-sites/feynan/
This site along the Abraham Path offers a unique opportunity to experience all four of Jordan’s
biogeographical zones in just a couple days’ walk. The four zones are: Mediterranean, which is primarily found in the highlands; Saharo-Arabian, which is primarily located in the northern region; Irano-Turanian, which is the eastern semi-desert regions; and finally, the Sudanian Penetration biogeographical zone, which represents the tropical influence on Jordanian geography.
- Answer: Dana Nature Reserve
- Due to the fact that it covers all four biogeographical zones, the wildlife diversity is incredible. There are an estimated 700 species of plant, 200 species of bird, and almost 40 kinds of mammals. The village is home to a world famous ecolodge, so enjoying the beauty this region has to offer is a true pleasure.
- Further Reading: http://abrahampath.org/path/dana/dana-sites/dana/
This mountain is made of halite and grows at a rate of 3.5mm per year. Home to many unique geological features such as the world’s longest salt cave, towering halite pillars, and plentiful fossils, this area is great to explore; just make sure you don’t look back when you leave.
- Answer: Mount Sodom
- Rising 250 meters above the Dead Sea but still well below sea level, this ridgeline is home to a salt pillar that is commonly associated with the story of Lot and his wife, who turned to salt when she looked back as they fled from the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. These days, the area is home to a spectacular variety of fossils, short hiking trails, and caves to explore. Climbing to the top is also well worth the views.
- Further Reading: http://abrahampath.org/path/arad/arad-sites/mt-sodom/
The rocky canyon of Wadi Qelt is believed to have inspired this famous line from the Psalms.
- Answer: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”
- Made famous by its reference in Psalm 23, this isolated and barren valley is now home to St. George’s Monastery, which was built high on the steep, rocky edges of the canyon. Originally built in the 4th century, the impressive frescoes and beautiful decorations stand in stark contrast to the shadowy valley below.
- Further Reading: http://abrahampath.org/path/jericho/jericho-sites/st-georges-monastery/
This city is the ancestral hometown of a woman called Aisha bint Ahmad al Baouni, also known as Aisha al Baouniya. Renowned within her own lifetime as a Sufi mystic, poet and calligrapher, Aisha preached and published in great centers of 15th century Islamic thought such as Cairo and Damascus.
- Answer: Baoun
- Recognized by UNESCO for the significance of Aisha’s contribution to Islamic thought, her hometown is nestled in the lush Ajloun Region, which is home to numerous archeological sites and villages that are famous for their local wares.
- Further Reading: http://abrahampath.org/path/ajloun/ajloun-sites/baoun/
For hundreds of years, this soup has been served free of charge in a kitchen located in the old city of Hebron to many a hungry passerby, whether pilgrim or local
- Answer: Abraham’s Soup
- As one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Hebron has seen its fair share of travelers. While the soup is reprentative of its unique approach to visitors, don’t miss out on the city’s uniquely layered history. The old city’s layout follows the Hoash model of habitation, where families built additional structures surrounding a central courtyard as their numbers expanded. These courtyards were further divided based on ethnicity or occupation, leading to a city that is home to concentrated sections that have a long history associated with a particular craft or people. Famous examples include the Glassmakers’ Quarter, the Yoghurt Quarter and the Armenian Quarter.
- Further Reading: http://abrahampath.org/path/hebron/hebron-sites/hebron-old-city/
Believed to be the third oldest in the world, this church is supposedly built on the site where Jesus healed a group of lepers while traveling to Jerusalem from Nazereth.
- Answer: Burqin Church
- This shadowy, candlelit orthodox church houses icons that depict the biblical event, as well as the cave where the lepers were supposedly housed.
- Further Reading: http://abrahampath.org/path/jenin/jenin-sites/burqin-church/
Abraham planted this type of tree after he had dug a well when he first arrived in Beersheva. Digging the well and planting this tree represents a crucial shift in the Abrahamic story, indicating a change from a nomadic lifestyle to one of sedentary agriculture.
- Answer: Tamarix Tree
- While at a glance this area doesn’t seem like the most obvious place to stop a journey, its dry climate and lack of visible water belies the fact that it lies above a narrowing subterranean riverbed that pushes the water to just below the surface. Digging a well in this area promises to quickly reach the water table.
- Further Reading: http://abrahampath.org/path/beersheva/beersheva-sites/abrahams-well/
According to tradition, this city houses the cave where Abraham’s mother went into hiding while she was pregnant with Abraham. She was fleeing from King Nimrod, who had ordered all children born that year to be killed in response to a dream he had that foretold of a child who would end his rule.
- Answer: Urfa or Sanliurfa
- Sanliurfa – which translates to ‘glorious Urfa’ – lives up to its name with a history that includes one of the oldest religious sites on the planet, as well as a town-center that includes an incredible system of fish-filled canals and an old market that is world renown for its spices and craftsmanship.
- Further Reading: http://abrahampath.org/path/urfa/
This mosque, once visited by famous explorer Ibn Battuta, is reported to have been built on the site where Abraham prostrated himself in prayer that God would not destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham’s nephew Lot, who lived in these areas, is said to be buried nearby.
- Answer: Nebi Yaqin Mosque
- According to tradition, this mosque has the imprints of Abraham’s feet and forehead as he bowed down in prayer to try to save Sodom and Gomorrah.
- Further Reading: http://abrahampath.org/path/hebron/hebron-sites/nebi-yaqin/
This mountain, named for a ninth-century Sufi mystic, is now home to a shrine symbolizing the mystic’s grave. Local veneration of the site is traditionally so great that one twentieth-century doctor recommended that his patients take their medications nearby – not because he believed the medicine would be more potent, but because he believed his patients were more likely to have faith in his prescriptions.
- Answer: Mt. Bayzeed
- Although Bayazid Bastami never traveled to this region and is buried elsewhere, closer to his homeland, this shrine still serves to remind locals of his his legacy and is associated with the large al-Bustami family in the nearby village of Zwata.
- Further Reading: http://abrahampath.org/path/jenin/jenin-sites/mountaintop-shrines-maqamat/