Israeli Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday the discovery of a Byzantine church dating back 1,500 years, and was frequented by Christian travelers heading to Jerusalem, according to an official Israeli source.
The authority stated that the discovery was near the Arab town of Abujosh during excavation work, aiming to expand the highway which links between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Archaeologists stressed that the church must have been a rest station for travelers between Jerusalem and the Mediterranean coast as the ancient church was located near a spring of water known in Arabic as Ain Naqah near the current town of Bayt Neqifa.
The length of the church is 16 meters and includes a side chapel with white mosaic floor on an area of 6.5 by 3.5 meters. It has a baptism house in the form of a tree with four leaves in the north eastern part of the church and walls decorated with dazzling colors.
The Israeli Antiquities Authority said it discovered in one of the walls adjacent to the church huge amounts of ceramic parts, oil lamps, coins, cups of glass and pieces of marble.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm