solomon's pools

Solomon’s pools | History of the famous pools

Leaving Bethlehem in a southerly direction on the way to Hebron, one passes about 5 kilometers from Solomon’s pools. Three water reservoirs are carved into the rock and connected by canals near the small Palestinian village of al-Khadr. Already in the Bible, these containers are known under the name of Solomon’s pools. In the past, part of the pond water was conducted in Jerusalem in two existing pipes. Furthermore, with the water of the ponds, a small rocky valley (Artas Valley) is irrigated, known under the name “Closed Garden,” in which the nunnery Hortus Conclusus is located near the village of Artas today.

According to legend, this is where King Solomon’s pleasure gardens were located. The area around Bethlehem is relatively rich in water and could therefore be used more effectively for agriculture. However, this seems to be opposed to political reasons. Solomon’s Pools, Arabic: Burak Suleiman, are three major water reservoirs in the south-central West Bank, just south of the Palestinian village of al-Khader, about 5 kilometers southwest of Bethlehem near the road to Hebron. The pools of water are connected at a certain distance. The water flows from the highest basin into the one a little lower and into the last and largest water basin, which is even lower.

Who was Solomon?

Solomon was among the most famous Israelite kings (c. 972–932 BC). His father was King David, and his mother was Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12:24). Under his reign, the state of Israel flourished (1 Kings 5:1-8). However, not Solomon created many of the prerequisites for this, but his father, David. Solomon did not wage wars. He built the palace and the temple in Jerusalem, as well as many cities in the land of the Bible.

The Bible praises his wealth and wisdom ( 1 Kings 3:28). His wisdom has become proverbial (1 Kings 2:2-26). Solomon maintained good economic relations with neighboring peoples and ensured prosperity in Israel (1 Kings 10:14-29). But Solomon is also criticized: he had foreign wives and was tricked into worshiping their gods. This is openly denounced in the Bible (1 Kings 11:4-6).

Solomon failed to give lasting stability to the kingdom of Israel. After his death, the kingdom in which his father David had united the northern tribes of Israel and Judah split again into two kingdoms. The northern kingdom retained the name Israel. The southern kingdom was given the name Judah.

The Design of Solomon’s Pools

Pine trees surround the three ponds, and the area around them has developed into an excursion area, especially for Palestinian families. On the north side of the ponds, the current entrance to the park is the former Ottoman fortress. Which was developed as part of the new resort complex and includes ethnology. And a history museum and a restaurant. 

A new garden area was built around the restored buildings. And a significant expansion of the site will encompass the location of the entire pond, establishing a conference center, several recreational facilities, car parks, and much more. For development in the Bethlehem area to be successful, greater cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities is needed. Several steps in this direction have already been taken, including the Palestinians’ permission. Let Israeli tour guides lead their groups to Bethlehem again for a few months.

solomon's pools

Representation of the Pools of Solomon

Mar Saba Monastery

Mar Saba is a Greek Orthodox monastery near Bethlehem. The monastery was founded around 492. It was named after its founder, Saint Sabas. In 2005 only 20 monks lived there; in the 7th century, there were about 4,000. Therefore, in the 8th century, the church father, John of Damascus, spent the last years of his life here. In the 12th century, the crusaders stole the body of Saint Saba buried here and brought it to. 

Arta’s Valley

Arta’s is a village in the Palestinian Territories about four kilometers southwest of Bethlehem. Therefore, it is part of the Bethlehem Governorate in the central West Bank. About 3600 people live indeed in the village. Some archaeological remains from the Iron Age to the Ottoman period are in the village’s surroundings. By the 19th century, villagers were employed to patrol the Pools of Solomon. 

Primary Takeaways

  • The amounts of water in the ponds come from several springs in the vicinity, Channeled into the lower pool, and rainwater channeled into the ponds from the hills. The pools functioned as a storage and transmission system. The collected water was then distributed through two more aqueducts from the pools northbound to Jerusalem and eastbound to Herodion. Indeed, more recently, traces of the first aqueducts have been found in Jerusalem. Below the central pool are the remains of the British pumping station that piped water to the Old City of Jerusalem directed.
  • A traveler at the time, probably Michael Russel, experienced the Middle East under predominantly Turkish rule. On this journey. He also comes to Palestine, as this area was mainly called at that time and by which it is still known today. He was interested in the Holy Land, so he came to Bethlehem, a small village.
  • Another, the newer pumping station is still responsible for providing water to the city of Bethlehem. The former aqueduct was destroyed, but the Ottoman fortress has been fully restored and turned into a museum. Kalaat el-Burak, as the Arabs called it, the fortress of the ponds, was a small military base that can still be seen in old photographs. The area of ​​Solomon’s pools has been transformed into a nature park and is planned to be further developed in 2015. The former fortress is also known by the name Murad’s Castleknown. It was used to guard the ponds – water was and still is a precious commodity, especially in this part of the world.


Solomon’s pools are rectangular or trapezoidal, partly cut into the rock and partially built, about 118 to 179 meters long and about 8 to 16 meters deep. They have a total capacity of more than a quarter of a million cubic meters (around 290,000 cubic meters). The pools were part of a complex ancient water system built between 100 BC and 100 BC. And about 30 AD. After the water reservoir was completed, the facility could provide water for the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and the fortress in the Judean desert, the Herodion, to secure. The name ” Salomon’s ponds ” comes from a legend because the complex is much more recent.