Located near St. Stephen’s Gate, the two large pools were originally built as part of a water supply system. Later, several grottos were dug up at the east end of the pools in order to provide water cisterns and baths to be used for medicinal and religious purposes. According to the Gospel of John, it was hear that Jesus healed a paralytic man. Several Churches were built in honor of the miracles as well as to commemorate Mary’s birthplace traditionally in this area.
Next to the pools stands the Church of St. Anne which was built by the Crusaders back in 1130 and dedicated to St. Anne, Mary’s mother. This Greek Catholic Church is built in the Romanesque style and offer magnificent acoustics. The present church was built around 1140 by the Crusader. However, it is believed that the actual pools have been venerated by Christians since the 5th century. At the entrance lies the inscription of Salah Edin that record the conversion of the Church into the Salahiyaa Madarasa school back in 1192. Then in 1856, following the Crimean War, the Ottoman Turks presented the site to Napoleon III in recognition of Frances support for the empire during the war.
St. Anna Basilica& Pools of Bethesda
Tel: +972 (02) 6283285
Opening Hours: Summer (April – September)
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Winter (October – March)
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closing Hours: Sunday