Samaria (ancient city)

Samaria ( Shomron שומרון Hebrew, Greek Σαμάρεια Samareia, later Σεβάστη Sebaste, Arabic سبسطية, Sebastia ) was the capital of the Kingdom of Israel since about 876 BC It is located in central Palestine, not far from the modern city of Nablus, the ancient Shechem, on a 90 m high hill.

Other names are Sebaste, Sebastia, Sebastiya, Sebastiyeh, Sebastos, Sebustiyeh, Shamir, Shomeron or Shomron.


The Israelite king Omri founded around 876 BC as a replacement for the less well-located Tirza the new capital of Samaria on a previously uninhabited mountain. Omri's successors had here to the destruction by the Assyrians in 722/21 BC ( 2 Kgs 17.1 to 23 EU) domiciled, after which the fort was the center of the Assyrian, Babylonian and then since 539 BC Persian Province Samerina. Again, she was 107 BC destroyed by the Hasmoneans and later rebuilt by Herod the Great as Sebaste. With the establishment of Flavia Neapolis by Emperor Vespasian 72 AD, the city became less important. In Byzantine times it was finally abandoned. See also the article Samaritans.

Sebaste in Palestine is a Roman Catholic titular today.

Today Sebastia is a village in the Palestinian territories.

Buildings and Archaeology

From the Israelite period derived residues from a casemate wall, which was built by Omri 's son Ahab, and a 24 x 27 m large palace and several magazines. The most important finds are a few fragments of ivory carvings and a Ostrakasammlung, now in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. Particularly impressive are the ruins of several Roman buildings, including a basilica and a theater. The former Crusader Cathedral of St. John from the 12th century is now used as a mosque, in the language of John grave is venerated.


  • Simon Magus († probably in Rome around 65), a Gnostic of the Samaritans, who lived and worked here in Roman times.
  • Raed Saleh ( * 1977 in Sebastia ), German politician, Member of the Berlin House of Representatives and Leader of the SPD parliamentary group.