Jerusalem, Israel Occupied Palestine
Coordinates: 31.768056, 35.163056
Christian tradition places the birth of Hz. Yahya عليه اسلام — who announced the coming of Hz. Isa عليه اسلام , — in the village of Ein Karem 7.5km south-west of Jerusalem.
The Church of John the Baptist was built at the site where, it is believed by christians sources, Hz. Yahya عليه اسلام was believed to have been born.
In 1941–42 the Franciscans excavated the area west of the church and monastery.
Here they discovered graves, rock-cut chambers, wine presses and small chapels with mosaic tiling.
The southern rock-cut chamber contained ceramic datable to a period stretching from approximately the first century BC till 70 AD, an interval that includes the presumed lifetime of Hz. Zakariyyah عليه اسلام and Hz. Yahya عليه اسلام.
The community living here has been dated by the archaeological findings back to the Roman, Byzantine and Early Muslim periods.
Most of the current church structure probably dates back to the 11th century, with the lower courses possibly dating to the Byzantine period (4th-7th century).
You can also see an underground dungeon where people hid during the roman persecution.
Birth of Hz. Yahya عليه اسلام
In Quran, Allah frequently mentions Hz. Zakariyyah’s عليه اسلام continuous praying for the birth of a son. Hz. Zakariyyah’s عليه اسلام wife, mentioned in the New Testament as Bibi Elizabeth رضي الله عنها, was barren and therefore the birth of a child seemed impossible.
As a gift from Allah, Hz. Zakariyyah عليه اسلام was given a son by the name of “Yahya”, a name specially chosen for this child alone.
In accordance with Hz. Zakariyyah’s عليه اسلام prayer, Allah made Hz. Yahya عليه اسلام and Hz. Isa عليه اسلام, who according to exegesis was born six months later, renew the message of Allah, which had been corrupted and lost by the Israelites.
As the Quran says:
(His prayer was answered): “O Zakariya! We give thee good news of a son: His name shall be Yahya: on none by that name have We conferred distinction before.”
He said: “O my Lord! How shall I have a son, when my wife is barren and I have grown quite decrepit from old age?”
He said: “So (it will be) thy Lord saith, ‘that is easy for Me: I did indeed create thee before, when thou hadst been nothing!’
(Zakarya) said: “O my Lord! give me a Sign.” “Thy Sign,” was the answer, “Shall be that thou shalt speak to no man for three nights.”
Quran, sura 19 (Bibi Maryam رضي الله عنهاam), verse 7
Note that, according to christian sources, Hz. Zakariyyah عليه اسلام and Bibi Elizabeth رضي الله عنها, Hz. Yahya’s عليه اسلام parents, had two homes in Ein Kerem. Hz. Yahya عليه اسلام was born in the valley home, and Bibi Maryam رضي الله عنها visited her cousin Bibi Elizabeth رضي الله عنها in the hillside home, now the location of the Church of the Visitation (which you must visit).
There is no entrance fee.
Note: Some of the information in this article comes from Christians sources