St. Helen’s Pool Cave in Ramla

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Bir al-Aneziya (Pool of El Anzia – Pool of the Goats) was built during the reign of the caliph Haroun al-Rashid (766-809), the fifth Abbasid Caliphin, to provide Ramla with a steady supply of water. Haroun al-Rashid is famous for his connection with the “Arabian Nights” and for his diplomatic relations with Charlemagne. Map.

This cistern is the only structure from the days of the Abasi Halifs in Israel remaining intact. Later the Crusaders gave it the name St. Helen’s Pool, as they thought it was built by her.

Saint Helena or Flavia Iulia Helena Augusta (246-330) was the consort of Emperor Constantius, and the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great. She is traditionally credited with finding the relics of the True Cross, but she also was a great builder. This might explain their misinterpretation.

The water reservoir is today also called Pool of the Arches. The water reservoir has an area of 500m², covered by 24 groined vaults, each with an opening on the top. Through those openings 24 camels could be watered at the same time.

Steps lead down into the 9m deep cistern. It is fed by rainwater and an aqueduct from the direction of the white tower. There is probably also a small spring in its depths. Today it has electric light and there are boats on which he visitors can travel through the vaults.

  • Ramla city center, between Ha’Hagana and Ha’Shomer road, entrance on Ha’Hagana.
  • Open: All year Mon, Tue, Fri, Sat, Sun 8-15:30, Wed, Thu 8:30-21:30.
  • Address: Bir al-Aneziya, Ha’Hagana St., Ramla
  • Tel: 972-8-920-7586, Tel: 972-52-851-0715. City service center: Tel: 972-8-977-1780.

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