The hill is named after Berenice, daughter Agrippa I. The Arabs call it ‘the Castle of the King’s Daughter.’ Archaeologists searching for Herod Antipas’s palace were surprised to find a large Byzantine church instead. It is unclear why a church was built here, as the site is not associated with any event in the life of Jesus. Nor is it clear why the sixth century Emperor Justinianus went to such enormous trouble to extend the city wall up the mountain to include the church. The wall extension was 2.8 kilometers long, and at the mountain peak was 3.2 meters thick and 5.6 metres high.
Near the entrance there is a large water cistern. The church’s three apses face east. As in most churches of the period, the interior walls were plastered and frescoed. Parts of the mosaic floor remain. A Canaanite period cultic object weighing half a ton, similar to the ‘holy anchors’ on display in the Gordon Museum, was discovered under the altar. The church was badly damaged in the earthquake of 749 and rebuilt during Moslem rule. It remained in use until the end of the Crusader kingdom, when the Mamelukes converted it to a private home. The building was destroyed by an earthquake in the thirteenth or fourteenth century.
Location: Turn right on to Ahva Street. Drive about 400 metres and turn right onto Toledano Street (a winding road). Drive about 600 metres, turn left onto the dirt road up the hill (where Toledano Street makes a sharp right) and continue 1.4 km to the site.