Bīr al-Anezīya

St. Helen's Pool - Pool of St. Helena - The Pool of the Arches - Pool of the Goats


Useful Information

Location: Ramla city center, between Ha'Hagana and Ha'Shomer road, entrance on Ha'Hagana.
(31.9322, 34.8709)
Open: All year Mon-Thu, Sat, Sun, Hol 8-16, Fri, holiday eves 8-14.
[2020]
Fee: Adults NIS 8, Children NIS 6, Soldiers NIS 6, Seniors NIS 6.
Groups (20+): 20% discount.
[2020]
Classification: SubterraneaCistern
Light: eletric
Dimension: L=21 m, W=20 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Bīr al-Anezīya, Ha'Hagana St., Ramla, Tel: +972-8-921-68735.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

789 built during the reign of the caliph Haroun al-Rashid.

Description

Bīr al-Anezīya (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. 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. Before it was restored it was used by goats.

The water reservoir has an area of 500 m², covered by 24 groined vaults (aka double barrel vault or cross vault), each with an opening on the top. Through those openings 24 camels could be watered at the same time. Steps lead down into the 9 m 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.