St Anne’s Church

sights / Religious

St Anne’s Church information

Jerusalem , Israel
adult/student/child under 13yr 8/6/3NIS
Opening hours
8am-noon & 2-6pm Apr-Sep, 8am-noon & 2-5pm Mon-Sat Oct-Mar
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The finest example of Crusader architecture in Jerusalem, St Anne's was built in 1138 on a site thought to have been the home of Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Virgin Mary. The building is unusually asymmetrical, and has a particularly beautiful interior. One of the sunken pools accessed from the rear of the church compound is traditionally thought to be the biblical Pool of Bethesda where Jesus is said to have healed a sick man (John 5:1-18).

When Jerusalem fell to the armies of Saladin, St Anne’s became a Muslim theological school – an inscription above the church’s entrance testifies to this. Successive rulers allowed the church to fall into decay, so by the 18th century it was roof-deep in refuse. In 1856 the Ottoman Turks presented the church to France in gratitude for its support in the Crimean War against Russia, and it was reclaimed from the garbage heap. It is still French-owned.