“Spring of the Vineyard” is the Arabic translation of Ein Kerem; which perfectly exemplifies this small neighborhood’s simplistic and peaceful beauty. Even though the community only consists of a couple of thousands of residents; it draws in millions of visitors each year, with a third of them being from other countries. Why is this?
Ein Kerem is a pilgrimage site for many Christians. Also, it is believed that this is where Elizabeth; the mother of John the Baptist, became pregnant and gave birth to her son. It is also believed a relative visited Elizabeth during her pregnancy, none other than Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus at the time. Due to this, many believers come to this neighborhood each year to pursue their religious beliefs, and others come to simply enjoy all the neighborhood has to offer. One Christian site that inspires me each time I visit the area is the Church of Visitation.
More About Ein Kerem
So the original settlement of Ein Kerem, located in what is now Jerusalem, has a long history thanks to the spring. Water is a critical part of life, and this bubbling spring has provided the lifeblood to settlers for thousands of years. Pottery found near the spring dates all the way back to the Bronze Age. Ein Kerem survived the Iron age, the Second Temple period, as well as the Roman and Byzantine periods.
During an excavation of the Church of Saint John the Baptist, a marble statue of Venus was found; proof that the Romans had once been in the area. Ein Kerem continued to survive through the Islamic, Crusader, Mamluk, Ottoman, and British periods. The neighborhood would suffer through the Israeli conflicts but eventually came out stronger than ever to be the neighborhood beloved by many today.
Ein Kerem – The Place to Be in Jerusalem!
So Ein Kerem is a tourism gem! Featuring a variety of destinations and activities for visitors to enjoy. For Christians, there is a vast array of beautiful churches and monasteries to explore like John Baharim Chuch. In addition, Mary’s Well, named after the mother of Jesus, is a place where many pilgrims go to drink the holy water. Beyond religious activities, there is something for every kind of visitor. There is everything from fine dining at luxury restaurants to sipping tea at a quaint café. Walking tours are a special favorite as you can truly immerse yourself in the grace and beauty of this neighborhood; from the breathtaking views to the limestone houses to the art displayed by local artists. When visiting Jerusalem; Ein Kerem is the ideal way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city to enjoy a relaxing afternoon.