Deir es-Sultan

Exploring Jerusalem

Nestled within the labyrinthine streets of Jerusalem’s Old City, a place of quiet devotion and ancient history awaits—the Deir es-Sultan Monastery. Moreover, this enigmatic sanctuary, perched on the rooftop of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, offers a unique perspective on faith, tradition, and the passage of time.

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Ethiopian Monks on the Roof of the Chapel of Saint Helena, Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

A Monastery Above the Holy Sepulcher:

Tucked atop the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Deir es-Sultan Monastery is a hidden gem known to few. Its name, “Monastery of the Sultan,” hints at its intriguing history and the delicate balance it maintains between different religious groups. As part of the complex, there are two chapels: One is the St. Micheal Chapel. The other is the Four Animals Chapel

Monasteries in Israel Ethiopian Chapel
One of the Chapel That are Forming Part of the Monastery.

A Sanctuary of Silence:

The monastery’s serene atmosphere offers respite from the bustling energy of the Old City below. So as you ascend the stairs, a sense of tranquility envelops you—a stark contrast to the vibrant life of the streets. Furthermore, the rooftop terraces and courtyards invite contemplation, allowing visitors to connect with their inner selves.

A Mosaic of Traditions:

The Deir es-Sultan Monastery is a testament to the complex interplay of faiths within the Old City. Shared by various Christian denominations, including the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church, it mirrors the intricate tapestry of Jerusalem’s spiritual landscape.

Holy Fire in Jeruaslem
Holy Fire In Israel
Ethiopians celebrate Easter in Deir es-Sultan.

The Legacy of Preservation:

So, the monastery has been a center of devotion and preservation for centuries. Monastic life continues within its walls, with monks tending to the ancient traditions handed down through generations. Furthermore, the monastery’s historical and spiritual significance is a beacon of continuity in an ever-changing world.

The Ethiopian Church in Modern Jerusalem.
Credit: Yishay Hayardeni, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A Gate to Hidden Realms:

So exploring the Deir es-Sultan Monastery is like stepping through a portal into a world above the city’s bustling streets. Ancient icons, weathered frescoes, and aged structures whisper stories of faith, sacrifice, and the enduring quest for connection with the divine.

A Panorama of Jerusalem:

In addition, the monastery’s rooftop offers a vantage point unlike any other. From this elevated perch, visitors are treated to panoramic views of the Old City’s iconic landmarks—the Golden Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the rugged rooftops that shape Jerusalem’s skyline.

Old City Jerusalem Tour

A Tapestry of Unity:

Moreover, the Deir es-Sultan Monastery is a poignant reminder that faith can transcend divisions. So, while it stands as a place of worship for different Christian traditions, it also speaks to the universal yearning for spiritual connection and the shared devotion that unites humanity.

The Ethiopian Bible
The Ethiopian Bible

A Journey of Discovery:

Visiting the Deir es-Sultan Monastery is a journey of discovery—an opportunity to step beyond the ordinary and explore the hidden corners of Jerusalem’s spiritual landscape. It’s a chance to witness the intersection of history, faith, and culture in an ancient and timeless place.

An Invitation to Connection:

So whether you seek solace, history, or a moment of introspection, the Deir es-Sultan Monastery extends an invitation. It beckons you to ascend its staircases, wander its courtyards, and absorb the echoes of centuries of devotion. In doing so, you become a part of the ongoing story that this monastery embodies.

Last, the Deir es-Sultan Monastery on the rooftop of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is a sacred treasure, offering a perspective on Jerusalem’s spiritual heritage that is both unique and profound. So its quiet courtyards, preserved icons, and shared devotion testify to faith’s enduring power and the bonds connecting believers across time and space.


Hi! My name is Arik, an Israeli native who dedicated his life to sharing my passion for the Holy Land with those interested in knowing more about this incredible piece of land. I’m the Chief Guide at ‘APT Private Tours in Israel’.

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