Mount Precipice

The evangelist Luke recounts that Jesus, after the sermon in the synagogue of Nazareth, was led by his fellow citizens to a precipice, to be thrown off (Lc 4, 29). Medieval tradition set this to memory on the peak of a mount, 397 metres high, and 2 km to the south east of Nazareth. The mount bears the name of "Jebel el-Qaftze" in arabic "Har Ha-Qfitza" in Hebrew.

A community of monks built a monastery in this location, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, remembered in the “Commemoratorium de casis Dei”, the list of monasteries compiled on order of Charlemagne in the year 808.

The many natural grottos around the landscape were transformed, from the Byzantine to the Arab eras, into places of worship and spiritual living for the monks. There are still traces of two hermitages or rupestrian "laure" churches, dug into the rocks, along the steepest slopes. Remains of inscriptions on the rock, of an altar and fragments of pottery from the Byzantine era are the remaining evidence of the ancient monastery.

There are grottos on this mount that were used by man as far back as one hundred thousand years ago: in the 1930s the skeletal remains were found of a man and child from around 100,000 years ago.
The crusaders called the place "Saltus Domini", the leap of the Lord. The Burcardo pilgrims of Mount Zion in 1283 and Giacomo da Verona in 1335 recall the great leap made by Jesus to save himself from his fellow citizens. These stories are based on an apocryphal tradition that tells how Christ, after being led to the Mount, was pushed off the edge, but managed to take a great leap and escape uninjured.
Today it is difficult to reach the grottos, which can be seen by climbing towards Nazareth from the plain of Jezreel along the raised bridge. From here, at the entrance to the tunnel, the grottos can be seen one in front of the other.

In 2009 a natural amphitheatre was created on this Mount, and has been venue to celebrations during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land.