Purpose This study aims to investigate the relationship between the dimensions of motivation, perceived authenticity and satisfaction of tourists visiting the Mor Hananyo Monastery as a heritage site. Design/methodology/approach The quantitative research method was implemented to test the proposed structural model. Accordingly, a self-administered questionnaire was applied to 341 tourists visiting the monastery of Mor Hananyo between April and May 2019. First, confirmatory factor analysis was performed to ensure the scales' construct validity; then, the covariance-based structural equation model was established to test the research hypothesis with the help of path analysis. Findings The results showed that all motivation dimensions influence the objective authenticity perception of tourists. Heritage and ancestral motivations influence the constructive authenticity perception of tourists. However, the effect of educational motivation on the same variable was insignificant. Furthermore, only heritage motivation affects the existential authenticity perception of tourists. Originality/value The results of this study demonstrate that tourist satisfaction has causal relationships with travel motivations and authenticity perceptions. Additionally, although tourist satisfaction has been accepted as an essential and extensively discussed subject in the tourism literature, this study is the first to examine the structural relationships of travel motivations (ancestral, heritage and educational motivations), authenticity perceptions (objective, constructive and existential authenticity) and tourist satisfaction in the monastery context.