Ancient Shiloh was a religiously significant city in Samaria that was Israel’s spiritual center during the times of the Judges. Dating back over 4,000 years; the ancient city was first settled in the 18th century BC (Middle Bronze II) and became the first capital of the Israelite Kingdom. Ancient Shiloh was also the site of the Tabernacle (Mishkan) and housed the Ark of Covenant; Altar of Incense; Table of Showbread, and Golden Lampstand until King Solomon built the First Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
History and Archeology
Situated 25 miles from Jerusalem in the West Bank; Shiloh is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and Christian Old Testament and is one of the most important heritage sites in Israel. Jews performed aliyah l’regel (pilgrimage) to ancient Shiloh for 369 years until the Ark of the Covenant was stolen by the Philistines and the city was destroyed.
An impressive array of archeological items has been uncovered at the site. In fact, some dating back to 1750 BCE; including Tel Shiloh which had artifacts from the Canaanite and Israelite eras. Remains from the Roman and Persian as well as Early and Late Muslim periods have been discovered; including glacis; pottery; weapons; and other objects.
Modern-day Shiloh was established in 1978 on the south and east side of Tel Shiloh and the ancient site and features a beautiful synagogue built to resemble the ancient Mishkan (tabernacle).
Visiting Ancient Shiloh
Today, Shiloh is sacred to three religions – Jewish, Christian, and Muslim – and is a popular destination for pilgrims and tourists from all over the world.
The ruins of Shiloh are part of an archaeological park known as “Ancient Shiloh” and offers several fascinating experiences for visitors. The park is home to several historic structures and archaeological remains that shouldn’t be missed. For example, the site of the Tabernacle; the Dome of the Divine Presence; and a Byzantine Basilica and an open pool. Other interesting remains include a mosque from the Ottoman period known as Jamia el Yeteim; which features beautifully preserved mosaics, a fortified Roman building, an olive press, and two wine presses.
Located on the bottom of the new Seer’s Tower is the Days of Shiloh museum, which boasts fascinating displays of archaeological discoveries found at the site, such as Shiloh inscriptions, pottery, and jars, and other artifacts.
You can also enjoy a captivating light and sound show that gives a unique insight into life in the days of the Tabernacle in Shiloh; as well as archeological digs and tours; and crafting workshops.