Pilgrims who visited the Holy Land between the IV and VII century

The archaeological remains of the
Probatica pool

The Pinnacle (southeast corner)
of the Temple

Rock surface inside the Qubbat al-Sakhra

The Text: 7a. Jerusalem (first part)

    Thence to Jerusalem - miles xii.

    Total from Caesarea Palaestina to Jerusalem 116 miles, 4 halts, 4 changes.

    There are in Jerusalem two large pools (piscinae) at the side of the temple (ad latus templi), that is, one upon the right hand, and one upon the left, which were made by Solomon; and further in the city are twin pools (piscinae gemellares), with five porticoes, which are called Bethsaida [ftn.1] ( John 5:2-18). There persons who have been sick for many years are cured; the pools contain water which is red when it is disturbed [pct.19]. There is also here a crypt, in which Solomon used to torture devils [ftn.2].

    Here is also the corner of [590] an exceeding high tower [pct.20], where our Lord ascended and the tempter said to Him, 'If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence.' . And the Lord answered, 'Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God, but him only shalt thou serve.'( Matt 4:1-11). There is a great corner-stone, of which it was said, 'The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner.' ( Matt 21:42; cfr. Ps 118:22). Under the pinnacle (pinna) of the tower are many rooms, and here was Solomon's palace. There also is the chamber in which he sate and wrote the (Book of) Wisdom; this chamber is covered with a single stone. There are also large subterranean reservoirs for water and pools constructed with great labour. And [591] in the building (in aede) itself, where stood the temple which Solomon built, they say that the blood of Zacharias ( Matt 23:35; cfr. Luke 11:51) which was shed upon the stone pavement before the altar remains to this day. There are also to be seen the marks of the nails in the shoes of the soldiers who slew him, throughout the whole enclosure, so plain that you would think they were impressed upon wax. There are two statues of Hadrian, and not far from the statues there is a perforated stone [pct.21], to which the Jews come every year and anoint it, bewail themselves with groans, rend their garments, and so depart. There also is the house of Hezekiah King of Judah. [follows]


1. In the modern Revised Standard Version (John 5,2) the pool is said to be called in Hebrew "Beth-zatha", and in the King James Version the same pool is called Bethesda. Our pilgrim call it Bethsaida in accordance with theVetus Latina Version, the first latin translation of the Bible. back

2. King Solomon had a great renown as a magician and a devil-fighter. A seal-ring of Solomon, and some jars where "he used to shut up the devils", were lately shown to pilgrims in the church of the Holy Sepulchre (see: Egeria's travel 37.3). Also Flavius Josephus (Antiquities 8.2.5) speaks about King Solomon's skill against the demons. back

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Project, design, research and realization carried out by Eugenio Alliata ofm,
assistant professor of Christian Archaeology at SBF-Jerusalem.
Updated Thu, Dec 9, 1999 at 04:42 by John Abela ofm - Space by courtesy of Christus Rex
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