To arrive at the next station, the Struthion Pool in the Sisters of Zion Monastery, one must walk down al-Wad Street towards the south, turn east (left) at the Hospice (Austrian Hostel) near the 3rd station of Via Dolorosa, and walk down Via Dolorosa until a central arch (Ecce Homo) appears at al-Zawiya al-Naqshabandiyya. Enter from the ‘Aqabat al-Rahibat (Nuns Alley) corner. Visits are permitted on all days except Sundays from 8:30 to 12:30 and 2:30 to 4:00 pm. A small fee is charged per person.
This site, which includes a large, modern convent, a church, a small museum and the pool, has a busy history since the establishment of Antoni’s Fortress (Umariyya Madrasa) by Herod the Great, where a pool was carved in rock, with its roof forming a ramp to the fortress. The site witnessed various stages of building and demolition, and most of what can be seen now goes back to the times of Emperor Hadrian in the year 135, particularly the triple arch which resembles the Roman Bab al-‘Amud (Damascus Gate).
Description of the Pool
The pool can be accessed after passing the administration area and reception and descending a few steps. The visible part is about half its size, because the arches in the northern part divide the pool into two parts. The other half can be seen at the end of the tunnel excavations, where there is a water canal extending to al-Aqsa Mosque area. This pool is fairly large and gives an idea of the water collection method in Jerusalem. Water supplying the pool comes from rainfall collected from the convent’s roof and from a canal extending from Bab al-‘Amod area, which can be seen when passing near the rooms allocated for a small museum. The canal is covered with wooden planks.