Zev Radovan and Shlomi Amami, courtesy Yitzhak Magen

The water system. From its sloping red roofs to its paved courtyards, Martyrius was carefully crafted to channel rainwater into six spacious cisterns, including the one shown here, which lay beneath the monastery. As one cistern filled, the influx was diverted to the next until a total of 25,000 to 40,000 cubic yards of water was collected. This reservoir allowed the monks to irrigate their fields and to care for their animals and themselves throughout drought years.