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Samaritan Castra, 6th century CE

The city of Castra, located adjacent to the Carmel coast, was one of the most important centers in the area during the Byzantine period, combining the benefits of a coastal town with the flourishing economy of the Carmel range.

In the Christian sources of the 6th century CE, the title “Samaritan Castra” appears in a text by the pilgrim Antoninus of Placantia (Piacenza), who describes the route from Acre to Haifa-

“… From Ptolemais (Acre) the road runs in view of the sea to the Jewish city of Sycamina (Shikmona) for half a mile, and then along the shore for six miles. Castra of the Samaritans lies one mile from Sycamina, at the foot of Mount Carmel. Half a mile above that same Castra is the Monastery of the Saint Elisha, in the place where he met the woman whose son he restored to life. On Mount Carmel there is a small round rock which gives forth a sound when it is moved, even though it is solid. The virtue of the stone is that any woman or beast who touches it will not miscarry. Six or seven miles distant lies the town of Porphyriona. (Porphyrion)”

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