The Church of St. Anne, just inside the Lion’s Gate, is the best preserved Crusader Church in Jerusalem because, after the conquest of the city by the Mamelukes, it was converted to a Moslem theological school..

Run by the French White Fathers the church is part of a large complex which includes the Second Temple period reservoir known as the Pools of Bethesda (John 5:2-11). In the second century a Roman city was built on the ruins of Jewish Jerusalem and the city was renamed Aelia Capitolina. The reservoir was no longer functioning and a temple to Aescalapius, god of healing was built. This was in turn replaced by a large fifth century Byzantine church built on a platform constructed over the pool. The remains of the supporting arches have been exposed together with a small Crusader chapel.

Dedicated to Anne and Joachim, Mary’s parents, the church has remarkable acoustics and every visiting group patiently waits its turn to sing at least one song.

Text content copyrights: Bein Harim Ltd., Beryl Ratzer (

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