Past open, uncultivated fields and a goatherd's rickety shack, Mukhraka's Carmelite monastery stands on the spur of the Carmel range, at an altitude of 1,580 feet, on the site where the struggle between the prophet Elijah and the priests of Ba'al is believed to have taken place. Climb to the roof for an unforgettable panorama: to the east stretches the Jezreel Valley and the hills of Nazareth, Moreh, and Gilboa. On a clear day, you can even see Jordan's Gilead Mountains beyond the Jordan River and Mount Hermon.
Mukhraka is the Arabic word for a place of burning, referring to the fire that consumed the offering on Elijah's altar. The conflict developed because the people of Israel had been seduced by the pagan cults introduced by King Ahab's wife, Jezebel. Elijah demanded a contest with the priests of Ba'al in which each would erect an altar with a butchered ox as an offering and see which divinity sent down fire. Elijah drenched his altar with water, yet it burst into flames.
On his orders, the pagan priests were taken down to the Kishon ravine and slain, an event depicted by the impressive statue of Elijah inscribed in Hebrew, Arabic, and Latin.
The stark stone monastery was built in 1883 over Byzantine ruins. There's a small gift shop in the monastery, but no place to buy drinks or snacks.