The Pool of Arches is an ancient underground pool in Ramla. And you can sail in a boat inside this pool.
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Interactive map of the area:
- Hotels, hostels, and apartments in this area:
Sunday – Thursday: 8:00 – 18:00 (till 16:00 during the winter).
Friday and holiday eves: 8:00 – 14:00.
Saturday and holidays: 8:00 – 16:00.
As you can see from the photo, the entrance fee is 14 NIS per adult, and the reduced price of 12 NIS is per children, students, soldiers, handicapped, and people in groups of over 20 participants.
Also, you can buy a combined ticket for two or three attractions in the city.
The most significant building left from when the Abbasid caliphs ruled in the Land of Israel is the Pool of Arches. The structure is a rare witness to the quality of construction and beauty of Muslim architecture, especially given that the Pool of Arches has survived for 1,200 years since its construction and the enormous damage caused by massive earthquakes that destroyed large parts of the town of Ramla.
The pool was fed by a central aqueduct coming from Gezer’s region and leading to the reservoirs on the compound of the White Tower. The opening where the water entered the pool was recently discovered in an archeological excavation carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authorities. The pool’s location may be due to a small spring in the vicinity.
A few stairs lead down to the pool, and there are three rows of columns built from stone, and each row has five columns which carry the curved arches on which the roof rests. Cut into the ceiling are square hatches through which previous generations drew water with pails and ropes.
The pool’s basin is almost square and measures 19.82 x 21.17 meters. In the winter, its waters overflow and are pumped off. The Pool of Arches offers rowing boats to be used by adults and children to enter the magic historical space.
Note: unless stated otherwise, all quotes were taken from the official site.
The pool was built as a roofed water reservoir for the residents of Ramla. In Christian lore, it is also called the Pool of St. Helena, based on a tradition that Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine I (who also built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem), was the one who ordered it to be dug. Also, the pool is known as The Pool of The Goats in Arabic. And indeed, there were arches in the past through which the beasts were watered.
When looking from the outside, at ground level, you can see only the top of the arches.
But when you go down, this is how it looks from a boat.
Once you enter, you get a rowing boat and start sailing across The Pool of Arches. However, cruising is a big word, as the whole place is not big. Nonetheless, it is a unique experience.
The pool is about one meter deep.
After about 10-15 minutes, you are asked to return the boat.
On our way out, I photographed the inscription on the wall near the entrance.
The underground water reservoir was built in 789 AD when the famous Caliph Harun al Rashid ruled from Baghdad. The year of its foundation is chipped into the plaster of the pool’s wall, saying, “In the name of Allah and with Allah’s blessing, the agent of the Emir of the faithful ordered construction, may Allah lengthen his days, in the month of Haja in the year one hundred and seventy-two.”
Near the entrance you can find remains of a 900-year-old water fountain.
The Pool of Arches is a unique place. But it is not a big site. Therefore I suggest combining a visit to this place with other attractions in Ramla. Moreover, not many people can enter inside. Thus you can encounter a long line. And again, instead of waiting, you can visit other places in Ramla. For a full guide to attractions in the city, see Ramla.
Have you ever been to the Pool of Arches? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!
Additional ResourcesHere are several resources that I created to help travelers:
- Israel Trip Planner is the page that will help you to create your perfect travel route.
- National Parks And Nature Reserves page lists and put all national parks on the map. There is also a top list, information about ticket types and campsites.
- If you are looking for things to do, here are the pages for Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Sea Of Galilee, and Makhtesh Ramon.
- Wondering what events are there in Israel? Here is the Events And Festivals By Season guide.