The Ancient Roman Road (Maale Madregot)
The road, which can be seen from the Krayot lookout point, continues along the fence of Kibbutz Har Amasa and beyond, heading eastward toward the mountain’s downward slope toward the Bedouin community of Derajat (Dargot). Maale Dargot is a section of the trail that in Roman times led from Jerusalem to Hebron and the Arad valley, and from there to the Nabatean city of Memphis (Mamshit) and Maale Akrabim.
The Western Scenic Route
A level dirt road leads from the Metar–Hebron hills highway and meets the Yatir Forest road fairly close to the Foresters’ House. The road crosses Nahal Eshtamoa, which drains the southern Hebron hills and connects with Nahal Yatir slightly east of Metar. Water flows here in winter.
The Yatir Ruins
The hike begins from the cistern near the trail. Climb upward to the remnants of the tomb of Sheikh Athri and Sheikh Zaabi, which are located at the top of the ruin and provide a lovely view of the area. From here, descend westward toward the ruins of the ancient reservoir, whose walls are partially plastered. A little farther on from here, ruins of the wall columns of a Byzantine church may be seen.
In the church, mosaic floors from the seventh century CE were discovered almost intact. The mosaics depict palm trees, beetles and symbols from magic and mysticism. The mosaic has been covered with earth until it can be safely exhibited to the public. An inscription found at the site, which dates the mosaic and identifies the artist who created it, reads: “In March of the sixth fiscal year, in the 526th year since the city’s founding. All of this was done to honor the abbot of our monastery, Thomas, servant of God. This was all done by me, Zakaria son of Yishai, the builder, servant of God.”