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Sebastia vill.jpg
Sebastia is located in the Palestinian territories
Arabic سبسطية
Governorate Nablus
Government Village Council (from 1997)
Also spelled Sebastiya (officially)

Sebaste (unofficially)

Coordinates 32°16′34.22″N 35°11′42.57″E / 32.2761722°N 35.1951583°E / 32.2761722; 35.1951583Coordinates: 32°16′34.22″N 35°11′42.57″E / 32.2761722°N 35.1951583°E / 32.2761722; 35.1951583
Population 2,614 (2007)

4,810  dunams (4.8 km²)

Head of Municipality Ma’amun Harun Kayed[1]

Sebastia (Arabic: سبسطية‎, Sebastiya; Greek: Σεβαστη, Sebastos Latin: Sebaste) is a Palestinian village of over 2,600 inhabitants,[2] located in the Nablus Governorate of the West Bank some 15 kilometers northwest of the city of Nablus.[3] The village's total area is 4,810 dunums, the built up area of which comprises 150 dunums. Much of the village lands (42%) are located in Area C under the Oslo Accords.[4]

History and archaeology

Sebastia is home to a number of important archaeological sites.[5] The ancient site of Samaria-Sebaste is located just above the built up area of the modern day village on the eastern slope of the hill.[6] The ruins dominate the hillside and comprise remains from six successive cultures dating back 10,000 years: Canaanite, Israelite, Hellenistic, Herodian, Roman and Byzantine.[7]

The city was destroyed by Alexander the Great in 331 BCE, and was destroyed again by John Hyrcanus in 108 BCE.[8] Pompey rebuilt the town in the year 63 BCE. In 27 ACE, Augustus Caesar gave it to Herod the Great. Herod expanded and renovated the city, and named it "Sebaste", meaning "Augustus", in the Emperor's honor.[8] Herod the Great had his sons Alexander and Aristobulus brought to Sebaste, and strangled in 7 BCE after a trial in Berytus and getting permission from Caesar.[9]

In modern-day Sebastia, the village's main mosque, known as the Nabi Yahya Mosque, stands within the remains of a Crusader cathedral beside the public square.[6] There are also Roman royal tombs,[5] and a few medieval and many Ottoman era buildings which survive in a good state of preservation.[6]


  1. ^ Municipalities Nablus Municipality
  2. ^ 2007 PCBS Census. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. p.110.
  3. ^ "Nablus". Retrieved 2007-09-14.  
  4. ^ "Shavei Shomron's buffer zone legalized by Israel's supreme court". Applied Research Institute Jerusalem. 1 July 2006. Retrieved 2007-09-15.  
  5. ^ a b United Nations Development Programme (23 April 2003). "Spain helps restore Sebastia, Palestinian town with historic sites". United Nations.!OpenDocument. Retrieved 2007-09-14.  
  6. ^ a b c Michael Hamilton Burgoyne and Mahmoud Hawari (May 19, 2005). "Bayt al-Hawwari, a hawsh House in Sabastiya". Levant (Council for British Research in the Levant, London) 37: 57–80. Retrieved 2007-09-14.  
  7. ^ "Holy Land Blues". Al-Ahram Weekly. 5 - 11 January 2006. Retrieved 2007-09-14.  
  8. ^ a b Sebaste, Holy Land Atlas Travel and Tourism Agency.
  9. ^ Josephus Flavius Antiquities book 16 chapter 11 para 7

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