Close this search box.

St. Peter's Church in Jaffa

things to see in jaffa

St. Peter’s Church in Jaffa is a Franciscan church in the historical part of Jaffa, now part of Tel Aviv. According to Catholic tradition St, Peter’s church in Jaffa stands on the site of the house of Simon the tanner, with whom Peter stayed while in Jaffa, where the miracle of the dream was revealed to him:

In This Photo: An Aerial View of the St. Peter’s Church in Jaffa and Tel Aviv in the Distance

About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” 14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” 15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” 16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

Peter’s vision of a sheet with animals (Acts 10: 9-16)

The church was constructed in its present location because of the significance Jaffa has to Christianity. It was in Jaffa that Saint Peter raised Tabitha; one of Jesus’ disciples, from the dead according to the Acts of the Apostles, Acts 9:36–43, Acts 10:1–4. The church is dedicated to him.

Since the large church is located on a hill near the shore, the building has historically dominated the view of Jaffa from the sea, thus serving as a beacon to pilgrims, signaling that the Holy Land is near.

The Architecture of St. Peter’s Church in Jaffa

St. Peter’s Church in Jaffa with its tall, brick façade and towering bell tower, St. Peter’s Church in Jaffa is the single largest and most distinctive building in Old Jaffa. The interior of the church is reminiscent of cathedrals in Europe, with a high vaulted ceiling, stained glass, and marble walls. The stained glass was manufactured in Munich by renowned artist Franz Xaver Zettler. The four panels in the interior of the church depict episodes from the life of St. Peter, including the miraculous catch of fishes, the giving of the keys, the transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor, and the washing of the feet at the Last Supper.

With the exception of depictions of Tabitha, Francis of Assisi, and the Immaculate Conception, all of the other windows in the church depict Spanish saints, which is unsurprising since the present building was erected by the Spanish Empire. Also of note is the pulpit which is carved in the shape of a lifelike tree. St. Peter’s Church also contains thirteenth-century remnants of St. Louis’ citadel located outside and to the right of the sacristy. The remnants include two whole rooms which are circular in shape, have low ceilings and fire embrasures. It is in these rooms that Napoleon is said to have lived while he was at St. Peter’s in 1799 during the French campaign in Egypt and Syria.

Some Context About the St. Peter’s Church

The importance of Jaffa to the Christian world was that it was the main gateway for the pilgrims who made their way to Jerusalem. On the site of the church stood a Byzantine church that was destroyed in the 7th century by the Arabs. On its ruins, Frederick II, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, erected a Crusader fortified structure called the “Fortress”; which was restored during the Seventh Crusade during the second half of the 13th century, by Louis IX, King of France. Furthermore, the fortress was destroyed by the Mamluks in 1264. But one of its round towers survived and was incorporated in the northwest corner of the present structure.

In 1654, Franciscan monks built a new church and pilgrimage lodge (Casa Nova) which served as a roadside hotel on the way to Jerusalem. Napoleon stayed in this church during his journey to Israel in 1799. This church was destroyed, rebuilt, and again destroyed; between 1888–1894 the present Baroque building was erected under the auspices of the Spanish royal family. The church was expanded in 1903 and served as the city’s main Catholic church until St. Anthony’s Church was built on Yefet Street in 1932.


Hi! My name is Arik, an Israeli native who dedicated his life to sharing my passion for the Holy Land with those interested in knowing more about this incredible piece of land. I’m the Chief Guide at ‘APT Private Tours in Israel’.

Did you know the Hoopoe is Israel's national bird?! For more cool info about Israel, join our ever growing community and get exclusive travel tips, and giveaways!

Bauhaus architecture in Tel Aviv


Jaffa Gate

The Jaffa Gate is also known in Arabic as "Bab al-Khalil" (in English: Hebron Gate) is one of the eight gates of Jerusalem in the ...

House of Simon the Tanner

Where’s the House of Simon the Tanner in Jaffa? So before getting into that let’s talk about him just for a bit! so Simon the ...

Lake Ram

Lake Ram is a crater lake (maar) in the Golan Heights. A very important archaeological figurine was found in Lake Ram. Click here for more!

Timna Park

Just 25 Km from Eilat sits Timna Park. A thousand acres of land perched in a charming valley surrounded by cliffs make it a must-see ...

Snir Stream Nature Reserve

Snir Stream Nature Reserve is home to a network of lovely hiking trails. It’s a fantastic place to visit with family to enjoy the outdoors.

Bialik House Museum

In this post, we invite you to explore the Bialik House Museum, where the spirit of Chaim Nachman Bialik's artistry and intellect come alive.

Belvoir Castle National Park

Belvoir Castle is a Crusader castle in the Jordan Valley. These days, it's a national park, the best-preserved Crusader castle in Israel.

Sde Boker

Sde Boker is a kibbutz in the Negev, about 30 km from Ramon Crater. Known as the residence of David Ben-Gurion in his last years.

Key Sites in Jerusalem

What are the key sites in Jerusalem you must visit? Well, I compiled the top attractions in Jerusalem when visiting the Holy Land.

Herzl Museum

Herzl Museum is a memorial to Benjamin Theodor Herzl, the founder of the Zionist movement and the visionary of the State of Israel.

Need help?

Skip to content