A cave in the limestone bluff above the monastery is used by the monks to keep goats. An small passageway leading to a single large room has been enlarged by the monks and they explore the cave using handmade candles. The monks have attempted to install electric lights along the excavated pathway but the lights were not working on the day that we visited the cave.

Ghiath Abdullah (left), Monk Issac (center), and Mahmud (right) leave the Cave of Hamatoura after an hour of exploration. Mahmud hit his head on the ceiling just before emerging into the twilight zone so he was rubbing his head.

Flowstone formations along the cave path cut by the monks.

Strawtites and flowstone features in the cave ceiling.

Local legend reports that infertile women can conceive if they enter the cave and drape a piece of their clothing on a specific flowstone column that has a very male-like shape. One piece of clothing was draped on the formation when we visited and several pieces of clothing were trampled into the mud along the base of the formation.

At least 8 pieces of cloth lay at the foot of the limestone column while a black jacket is draped over the column that is associated with grants of fertility to infertile women.

Click here to see images of the Abbot and Monks of Hamatoura.

Click here to see images of the Monastery and Church at Hamatoura.

Click here to see images of Refectory and Lunch at Hamatoura (many parallels to the Area 9 refectory at Tell Tuneinir!!!).

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