Josephus says the original name of the city of Sebastia was Shomron (Samaria), and it was built by Omri, king of the Israelite (Ten Tribes).
Kings 1 16:23-24 – “In the thirty and first year of Asa king of Judah began Omri to reign over Israel, and reigned twelve years; six years reigned he in Tirzah. And he bought the hill Shomron of Shemer for two talents of silver; and he built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, the owner of the hill, Shomron (Samaria) .”
The city appears numerous times in the Tanach (Bible). During the First Temple period it served as the capital of the Israel.
The city was destroyed by Alexander the Great, and then again by John Hyrcanus.
It was rebuilt by Pompey, who gave it to Herod. Herod had 2 of his sons strangled in Sebastia.
On Chol Hamoed Pesach, visitors enjoyed exploring the ruins.