Wondering where you can find it? Ramla is a small city that lies halfway between Israel’s Mediterranean coastline and Jerusalem. A
relatively unassuming place, it harbours a true treasure, The Pool of Arches.
Built in 789, the pool sits underground. Its original use was to hold water that came from Gezer, a nearby city-state, via an aqueduct.
The pool is almost square in shape and actually quite small, its longest side extending not much more than 70 feet. It consists of three
columns of stone pillars, each column containing five pillars bearing curved arches supporting the ceiling. A line of square hatched
openings can be seen in the ceilings, through which water was once drawn with buckets and ropes.
In the 20th century, the Pool of Arches gained a new level of fame when it was used as the setting for a scene in the 1971 film “Hasamba
and Deserted Youths.”
Large and Magical Place
Who isn’t familiar with the Pool of the Arches in Ramla? The Pool of the Arches entered Israel’s “hall of fame” when it served as a setting
for the motion picture “Hasamba and the Lost Youths”. This movie enhanced the legend of the Pool of the Arches where the secret group
was seen escaping in rowboats into this magical, large cavity.
The survival of the Pool of Arches, despite the 1,200 years that had elapsed since its construction and the severe earthquakes that
destroyed many parts of the city of Ramla, offers rare evidence of the quality of the structure, and serves as an exemplary model of Muslim
Ancient Wall Inscription
The underground water reservoir was built in 789 in the days of the famous Caliph Haroun al-Rashid. The year of its foundation is inscribed
in the wall of the pool, in these words: “In the name of Allah, and with Allah’s blessing, [which] the agent of the Emir of the faithful, may he
live a long life, commanded to build, in the month of Hajj, in the year One Hundred and Seventy-Two. The Pool of the Arches is the most
important edifice dating from the reign of the Abas Caliphs in the Land of Israel.
The Pool of El Anzia
This pool was built as an enclosed water reservoir which appears to have been supplied from a small spring beneath it. The Christians call
this pool “Saint Helena’s Pool”, based on the legend that Helena, mother of the Roman Caesar Constantinus the First, first initiated its
digging. In the past it was also known as “the Pool of El Anzia”, meaning the Pool of Goats. Water troughs used for giving water to cattle
could be seen here in the past.
The pool was filled from the main aqueduct that carried the water from Gezer to the cisterns in the White Tower area. The entry point of the
water was recently uncovered in an excavation carried out by the Antiquities Authority. The pool’s location could possibly be due to the
small spring adjacent to it.
Pointed curved Arches
A few stairs lead down to the pool which has three columns of stone pillars, each column containing five pillars bearing curved arches
supporting the ceiling, containing a line of square hatched openings through which water was drawn with buckets and ropes in generations
past. The pool is almost square in shape, the length of its longest side extending 21.17 meters and another side extending 19.82 meters.
Water is drawn from the pool in the winter when it overflows.
Today it draws people from all over who come to experience one of the world’s most unique underground antiquities.
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