The Carmelite Monastery, in The Kingdom of Jerusalem, known as Stella Maris (Lady Star of the Sea) is located on the slopes of Mt. Carmel in Haifa, The Holy Land.
During the 12th century, when the Crusader ruled the Holy Land, groups of religious hermits started to inhabit the caves of Mt. Carmel imitating the Prophet Elijah. In the early 13th century, their leader asked the patriarch of Jerusalem, St. Albert, to provide the group with a charter.
This charter was the original act of the Order, named ‘Order of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel‘ or Carmelites.
King Louis IX spent 4 years in the Kingdom of Acre, Caesarea, and Yaffo, after his defeat in Egypt during the 7th Crusade. He used his wealth to assist the Crusaders in rebuilding their defenses.
In the spring of 1254 he and his army returned to France. With him he took six Carmelites back to France and the Order spread slowly throughout Europe from 1238 onwards. When the Mamluks laid siege on Acre in 1291, the Order was forced to withdraw with the Crusaders.
In 1631 the discalced branch of the Order returned to the Holy Land, constructed a small monastery on the promontory at Mt. Carmel and the friars lived there until 1761, when Dahar al-Omar, ordered them to vacate the site and demolished the monastery.
The Order moved to another location directly above the grotto where they believed that the prophet Elijah lived. Here they built a large church and monastery.
This new church was seriously damaged during Napoleon’s 1799 military campaign to the Holy Land. Sick and wounded French soldiers were treated in the monastery, and when Napoleon withdrew, the Ottomans slaughtered them and drove out the priests.
In 1821, Abdullah Pasha of Acre totally destroyed the church. The site was sold back to the Carmelite order in 1846.
By bus, taxi or guided tour.