Ruins of twin pools in the north side of the old city, close to the Lions gate.
These pools supplied water to the temple during the times of the first and second temple (until Herod). There are references in the old testament to the "upper pool", which may have been the name of the northern pool.
Adjacent to the pools were baths and a healing center. These baths are the site of the healing miracle of Jesus in the pools of the sheep market, which was also called "Bethesda".
Later, a Byzantine basilica was built over parts of the pools. The Crusaders built a small chapel over its ruins, and later a larger Basilica nearby ( St. Anna - reviewed in a separate page).
Modern civilization began right here in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley. Also known as the Fertile Crescent or Mesopotamia, this is the place where, six thousand years ago, agriculture, writing and mathematics were brought into widespread use.The term "Middle East" comes from the British navy, which used it to describe the countries on the trade route from Europe to India and China. Everything from Afghanistan to Morocco may possibly be classified as "middle eastern", depending on whom you ask -- and when.Only a partial list of past Empires in the middle eastern territory includes Sumeria, Babylonia, Persia, the Ottoman Empire and the Roman Empire!When northern Europe was still lurking about in slimy cold stone castles playing chess, the Middle East was enjoying the flowers of poetry, luxurious craftsmanship, music and literature. In fact, the Renaissance in Europe was partly inspired by stories brought back from the middle east by travelers along the trade route.Strategic location, religious history and the world's largest supply of crude oil have kept the Middle East at the center of world activity for centuries. The saga continues.Text by Steve Smith.