Tel Mar Elias
“Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” — I Kings 17:1.
Jordan is filled with sacred Christian sites that embody immense religious and historical significance, and one of these special sites is Tel Mar Elias located north of the kingdom.
Tel Mar Elias, commonly known as the home of the prophet Elijah, is a site that consists of incredible archeological ruins of two Byzantine churches that are situated on the top of a hill overlooking vast greenery and hilly landscapes. The churches’ floors include beautiful mosaics of floral and geometric patterns. The site also includes remains of historic tomb chambers and a baptistery that one can also explore and walk around.
Additionally, Tel Mar Elias has long been identified with Tishbe, which is mentioned in the Bible as the home town or region of Elijah. The Bible states, “Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead” (1 Kings 17:1). The Jordanian Department of Antiquities has worked to uncover and excavate these ruins in order to ensure that the site remains well preserved. This biblical site provides a unique opportunity for visitors to wander, ponder, and reflect on these historic remains and stories that existed thousands of years ago.
Located slightly outside of the town of Ajloun in Jordan’s northern region, Tel Mar Elias is about an hour drive from the capital Amman. With its fascinating biblical and historic association, the sacred site is certainly a place that visitors should add to their itinerary during a trip to Jordan.
Tel Mar Elias is very close to the ruins of a village known as Listib. It is believed that this place was formerly Tishbe, the home of Elijah, a native of Gilead in Transjordan. Two churches that were built upon the Tel (hilltop) at the end of the Byzantine period substantiate this belief.
The site at Tel Mar Elias includes extensive architectural remains that are scattered across the summit of the hill that rises above Listib.