The Carmelite Order was founded in the late 12th century by pilgrims in the times of the Crusaders. They were inspired by the prophet Elijah, and began living a hermetic life on the slopes of Mt Carmel. Today, the order has gained numbers across the globe, including the ‘Star of the Sea’ monastery. The Stella Maris monastery was constructed in 1836 at the northern tip of Mt Carmel. The view across the ocean is stunning. When visiting, please wear clothing that covers your knees and shoulders. Men should also remove their hats.
The elaborate ceiling painting inside the church depicts the prophet Elijah astride the chariot of fire in which he is said to have ascended to heaven. The mural also shows King David with his harp, as well as the Holy Family and the four evangelists. It would not be complete, of course, without Isaiah, Ezekiel and David; the saints of The Carmelite Order.
On the path leading up to the church entrance you will find a pyramid with a wrought-iron cross on top. This serves as a memorial for the 200 sick and wounded French troops who were hospitalised here, and slaughtered by the Ottomans after Napoleon returned to Paris in 1799.
You can reach the monastery by cable car, which can be found along Bat Galim’s seafront promenade.