Click Photo for Larger Version
View looking east at the North Church in Shivta. In the foreground is the paved atrium of the church (85ft by 62ft). Under it is a large cistern and on the left (north) and right (south) sides some of the rooms surrounding it are visible. In the center of the atrium is the stub of a column that may be associated with the memory of holy men who used to live on top of columns (stylites)!
Beyond the atrium, before the three doorways, is the narthex of the church—its floor raised slightly higher than the floor of the atrium.
The three doorways provide entrance to the main body of the church. The tops of the main apses are visible in the center, and to the right of them and additional apse of the southern side chapel.
There are some forty rooms in this complex and the church may have been part of a monastery. The church was constructed in the fourth century AD and, following an earthquake, it was reconstructed at the beginning of the sixth century AD.