Archaeological excavations of the site of Mamre discovered statues of Edomite deities. The place is surrounded with an impressive enclosure consisting of large neatly fitting blocks. The Byzantine church of Mamre is represented in the famous Madaba map dating back to the 6th century. The site was used by Crusaders but was abandoned in the Islamic era. Arabic tradition calls the place Beit al-Khalil, which means the house of Ibrahim. The legend says that at the foot of Ibrahim’s oak, the prophet welcomed three strangers.
After he had prepared them a meal and washed their feet, the three men revealed themselves to be angels and told him that his wife would be blessed with a son. The moral of the story is to always offer kindness, even to strangers, because no one knows whether they might be angels. Another tree associated with the same story is on the property of the local Russian Orthodox church. To gain entrance, call the phone number posted on the outside gate.