The Latrun Monastery is located on a rise with a fabulous view of the Ayalon Valley where God made the moon stand still (Josh. 10:12). Just across the Jerusalem highway from Emmaus (Luke 24:13), a stop here makes for a peaceful interlude for Christian travelers on their way to or from the Holy City.

The walkways of the monastery, built in the early twentieth century by French Trappist monks, charmingly frame vineyards from which they make grape juice and wine, and their church is an interesting mixture of Byzantine and Gothic styles.

The monks keep a vow of silence, except for those who sell wine and olive oil to visitors. The name "Latrun" comes from a twelfth-century castle on this spot called La Tour des Chevaliers ("the knights' tower"). Later travelers believed the name was connected to the Latin word latro (thief) and saw this site as the home of the "good thief" crucified next to Jesus (Luke 23:40-43).

This feature is republished courtesy of The Ministry of Tourism (www.goisrael.com).