Several of the city’s churches and monasteries are mentioned in the biography written by Cyril of Scythopolis on the life of Saint Sabas who visited the city in 518 and 531 CE. Among these is the Chapel of Thomas the Apostle, located outside the city on the road leading to Caesarea, whose remains were exposed by Nehemia Tzori. Cyril also mentions the old church which is the Church of Saint Basil the Martyr that was already in existence at the beginning of the 5th century CE and is also mentioned in the biography of Evtimius. It seems it should be identified with the church that was built outside the city wall which after it was burned and razed was rebuilt as the Church of the Martyr south of the first church and inside the city wall. Its first location links it with the Samaritan synagogue that was built just north of it and both are probably mentioned in the Samaritan slaughter of the Christian children. In Di Segni’s opinion the event is mistakenly attributed by Malalas to Caesarea. She however believes it really occurred in Scythopolis, next to the Church of Saint Basil and the Samaritan synagogue. Also mentioned in Cyril’s essay is a monastery named Antannanet (Ein Taana), the apse of Jonathan, which was probably the gate arch (the propyleum) in the street leading to the Church of Jonathan on the tell, and the Church of Procopius, the city’s first martyr, which was inside the bishop’s palace whose location is not known.


Near the eastern bridge the Monastery of Father Justin was built in 522 CE. In the middle of the 6th century CE another monastery was built in the western part of Tell Iztaba, with contributions from Lady Maria and her son Maximus. In 558/9 CE the bishop Theodorus renovated the lepers’ bathhouse whose location is unknown but was probably in the southern part of the city. The list of ecclesiastical buildings that appear in Cyril’s essay is limited in comparison with other cities of the period and most of it contains monasteries located on the outskirts of Scythopolis. The civic center of the city apparently maintained its secular character and Hellenic appearance. It reflected a rich, flourishing city where extensive cultural, social and political activity were conducted and first and foremost economic and administrative activity as was befitting a provincial capital.