Places to visit in ירושלים, Even Sapir

Ein Kerem around Hadassah


Embark on a picturesque walking tour that marries gentle strolls with invigorating hikes, starting from the charming village of Ein Kerem on the outskirts of Jerusalem. This journey isn't just a trek; it's an immersion into the natural beauty, history, and culinary delights of one of Israel's most storied regions.

The Beginning: Ein Kerem Your adventure begins in Ein Kerem, a village that seems frozen in time with its stone houses, art galleries, and lush gardens. Known for its biblical significance and home to significant Christian sites, Ein Kerem serves as the perfect prologue to your journey through Jerusalem's mountains.

The Trail: From Ein Kerem to Nahal Sorek From the tranquility of Ein Kerem, the trail transitions into the rugged landscapes of Nahal Sorek. This part of the hike will challenge your muscles and reward your senses, as the terrain becomes more demanding. Nahal Sorek, mentioned in biblical texts, offers not only a journey through nature but also a voyage back in time. As you navigate its paths, you're tracing the steps of countless others who have traversed these lands for millennia.

The Israel National Trail Your path intersects with sections of the Israel National Trail, a trail that snakes through the entire country, from the Lebanese border in the north to the Red Sea in the south. This segment provides a unique perspective on Israel's diverse landscapes, showcasing the ecological variety and the seamless blend of history and modernity.

Return Loop: Ein Handak and Ein Kerem Springs The trail loops back towards Ein Kerem, guiding hikers through Ein Handak and past the refreshing springs of Ein Kerem. These natural water sources, nestled in the Jerusalem mountains, offer serene spots for reflection and a well-deserved respite from the day's exertions. The sound of flowing water and the shade of ancient trees create an oasis of calm, inviting you to replenish before the final leg of your journey.

The Culmination: Mala Bistro Your trek concludes where it began, in Ein Kerem, but the experience is far from over. The final stop is Mala Bistro, a gastronomic gem that promises to satiate your hunger with culinary masterpieces. Here, in the heart of this picturesque village, you'll enjoy dishes crafted from the freshest local ingredients, each bite a reflection of Jerusalem's rich cultural tapestry. The restaurant's intimate setting and thoughtfully prepared cuisine offer the perfect end to a day of exploration and discovery.

Reflections This walking tour with its hiking parts is more than just a physical journey; it's an exploration of the soul of Jerusalem and its surroundings. From the historical depths of Ein Kerem to the natural beauty of Nahal Sorek and the culinary delights of Mala Bistro, you're invited to experience the essence of this ancient land in a day. The breathtaking views, the challenging and rewarding paths, and the finale of exceptional cuisine at Mala Bistro encapsulate the spirit of adventure and the richness of Jerusalem's mountainous landscape.

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Evgeny Praisman (author)
Здравствуйте! Меня зовут Женя, я путешественник и гид. Здесь я публикую свои путешествия и путеводители по городам и странам. Вы можете воспользоваться ими, как готовыми путеводителями, так и ресурсом для создания собственных маршрутов. Некоторые находятся в свободном доступе, некоторые открываются по промо коду. Чтобы получить промо код напишите мне сообщение на телефон +972 537907561 или на и я с радостью вам помогу! Иначе, зачем я всё это делаю?
10.07 km
4h 46 m
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Ein Kerem is a picturesque neighborhood in Jerusalem, known for its charming streets, historic sites, and lush landscapes. When considering the parking area in Ein Kerem, especially near facilities like toilets for convenience, it's worth noting that this aspect enhances the visitor experience. The convenience of parking near essential amenities like toilets is a significant plus for travelers, especially those who might be visiting for a few hours and wish to explore the village's popular spots without concerns about accessibility.

The parking lot's strategic location, offering a convenient approach to Ein Karem's most popular places, allows visitors easy access to the neighborhood's attractions. Ein Kerem is famed for its religious sites, such as the Church of the Visitation and the Church of St. John the Baptist, as well as its galleries, boutiques, and cafes. A well-placed parking area facilitates a smooth visit, enabling tourists to immerse themselves in the area's rich history and culture without the hassle of long walks or navigation challenges from their cars to the heart of the village. This accessibility is particularly beneficial for those with limited mobility or families with children, making the visit more enjoyable and less stressful.

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Ein Kerem, a scenic neighborhood in Jerusalem, is well-equipped with public toilets, ensuring that visitors can comfortably explore its historical and cultural sites. Notably, one of these facilities is conveniently located near the parking lot, providing easy access for those arriving by car. This proximity enhances the visitor experience, allowing for a worry-free exploration of Ein Karem’s charming streets, religious landmarks, and cozy cafés.

The Nahal Ein Kerem trail in Jerusalem begins in the historic neighborhood of Ein Kerem, offering hikers a journey through lush landscapes and serene natural beauty. This accessible trail showcases Israel's diverse terrain, from verdant hills to ancient ruins and springs, making it a favorite for both locals and visitors seeking a peaceful escape near the city.

Nahal Ein Kerem, meaning "Spring of the Vineyard," is significant for its biblical ties to John the Baptist's birthplace. The most notable historical event is its role in Christian tradition as a pilgrimage site, attracting visitors to its sacred springs and ancient churches.

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Bustan HaMaayan, or "The Spring Orchard," in Ein Kerem, Jerusalem, was established in memory of Benaya Zukerman, a young local who was killed in a terrorist attack. Historically, the spring in Ein Kerem flowed year-round, watering vegetable gardens and orchards. Over time, the spring became polluted, and its waters were no longer fit for drinking. The agricultural terraces in the valley were abandoned, filled with debris, and overrun by wild vegetation.

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In the fall of 2004, a group of volunteers began rehabilitating the wadi. They cleared paths, built terraces and steps, erected grapevine arbors, and planted around 80 trees that now bear fruit. Local school children work in the vegetable garden and learn about nature. The trails attract many hikers and tourists who enjoy the seating areas. Occasionally, volunteer groups from abroad join the effort. There's a plan to reroute the spring water back into the wadi to irrigate the plants and delight visitors. The project continues to restore the wadi as a natural agricultural area and a green lung in the heart of the village.

Initially excavated for the Gihon Corporation to relocate Jerusalem's main sewer line to the Sorek purification plant, the Kerem Tunnel was repurposed into Israel's first cycling tunnel. It's a key part of the 42-km Jerusalem Ring Path, linking city and nature for cyclists.

Nahal Sorek is one of the largest riverbeds in the Judean Hills, running from the Jerusalem mountains to the Mediterranean Sea near Ashkelon. The area around Nahal Sorek near the Ein Kerem Tunnel, specifically where it approaches the Sorek purification plant west of Jerusalem, plays a crucial role in the region's water management and environmental sustainability.

The Sorek River area is a popular spot for nature lovers, offering hiking trails and picnic spots. The natural setting, with greenery and rocks, suggests a tranquil spot that could be near a hiking trail or a natural reserve where visitors come to enjoy the peace and natural beauty of the area. The river can vary in flow and volume throughout the year, depending on the season and rainfall.

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The area is characterized by vibrant greenery, with a mix of grasses and shrubs thriving in the moist soil conditions near the water. The soil along the riverbank appears to be alluvial, with a mix of sand and silt that is typically deposited by flowing water. This type of soil is often fertile and supports a variety of plant life, as evidenced by the lush vegetation in the place. The presence of water and the soil's moisture-retention capacity are likely contributing to the dense and healthy plant growth seen here.

The Sorek River forms a scenic section of Israel's National Trail, offering hikers diverse landscapes from the Jerusalem hills to the coastal plain. This trail segment showcases Israel's ecological variety and cultural history, making it a treasured part of the national route.

Ascending Israel's National Trail near Sorek river, the path winds through lush pines and shrubs under a clear sky, with expansive views of the Jerusalem hills' natural splendor.

Israel's National Trail crosses beneath Route 386 via a hiker-friendly underpass, merging historical trails with modern infrastructure amidst the Judean Hills' splendor.

In the embrace of Judea's rugged terrain, a trail weaves through history near Jerusalem. Climbers find solace ascending the riverbed cliffs, where every crevice and boulder shrinks the world below. The Israel National Trail here is a miniature marvel, challenging adventurers with its natural tower-like formations, inviting a blend of exertion and awe unique to this ancient landscape.

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Along the Israel National Trail, a Herodian-era stone tower stands guard over terraces carved from the earth. This silent sentinel, possibly once a storehouse for tools of ancient cultivation, bears the mark of Herod the Great's architectural ambition. It's a testament to a time when these stones were the silent witnesses to the toil of farmers shaping the land under the Mediterranean sun. Here, history's echo is as tangible as the limestone underfoot.

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Near Even Sapir, a dam from King Herod's era serves as a historical masterpiece of dual functionality. This ancient structure, straddling utility and preservation, was ingeniously designed to harness water for irrigation, quenching the arid thirst of ancient terraces. Simultaneously, its sturdy walls doubled as a granary, safeguarding the precious bounty harvested from those very lands. It stands as a testament to ancient Judean innovation, where every stone tells a story of survival and ingenuity.

Traversing the Israel National Trail by Even Sapir, one is surrounded by a tapestry of greenery and blooms. The trail's pine-scented air carries the tranquility of the village's quaint charm. Even Sapir is named after Rabbi Yaakov Halevi Sapir's book "Even Sapir," penned in 1864, which vividly recounts the lives and customs of 19th-century Yemenite Jews.

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Near Even Sapir, the remnants of a Herodian farmstead whisper stories of ancient toil. Here, terraced hillsides once meticulously cultivated, showcase the agrarian prowess of the period. Skilled hands shaped these terraces, creating cascading agricultural steps that hugged the landscape. They were engineered for maximum exposure to sunlight and ease of water access, principles that mirrored the ingenuity of Herod's time. These terraces stand as a testament to a civilization that mastered the delicate dance of working in harmony with the harsh Judean environment.

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The sumac tree has held a place of importance throughout history, particularly in Levantine cuisine. Known for its tangy, lemony flavor, sumac is made from the dried and ground berries of the Rhus coriaria species. In ancient times, sumac was not just a culinary ingredient but also a medicinal herb, believed to have various health benefits. It was a symbol of life and longevity, used by different cultures for its antiseptic and digestive properties.

In modern Levantine cuisine, sumac's deep red spice is essential, often sprinkled over salads, meats, and rice to add a zesty kick. It's a staple in za'atar, a spice mixture that is a fundamental part of Middle Eastern food culture. Beyond its culinary uses, sumac's value in the Levant extends to the dye produced from its berries and tannin-rich leaves used in leather production.

The history of the sumac species is deeply rooted in the region, its use dating back to biblical times. It thrives in the Mediterranean climate, symbolizing the resilience and adaptability of the cultures that have cherished it. The sumac tree, with its sour berries and vibrant color, is not just a flavoring agent but a cultural icon, embodying the rich history and enduring traditions of the Levantine people.

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Ein Handak is a historical site located at the foot of Moshav Even Sapir, marking the official start of the Jerusalem Trail, which connects to the Israel National Trail. The site features two ancient springs hewn in the rock, with water flowing throughout the year. It's a place rich in natural beauty and offers a gateway to the past where water was a precious commodity for the communities here.

The name "Ein Handak" is a slight modification of its Arabic name "Ein al-Handaq," which means the carved or channelled spring. This name likely reflects the physical characteristics of the spring, perhaps its method of water capture or the nature of its surroundings in Aminadav Forest, located on the "Trail of Springs" which passes through several layered springs including Ein Handak. Positioned on the Israel National Trail, Ein Handak serves as a connection point with the Jerusalem Trail, emphasizing its importance not only ecologically but also culturally and historically as a natural water source.

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In ancient times, the area around Ein Handak was renowned for its sophisticated water systems, designed to meet the agricultural needs of the region. Residents carved deep cisterns into the rock, creating a network of channels that directed water to agricultural plots. This system showcased an advanced understanding of engineering and hydrology, ensuring the efficient use of precious water resources in the arid landscape of the Judean hills.

The water system included a series of dams and storage pools, ingeniously elevating water levels using gravity to distribute water evenly across the terraced landscape. One notable feature is a small dam within the cave system that controlled the flow of water, demonstrating the ancients' ability to manipulate environmental features for sustainable agriculture.

During the Ottoman and Mameluke periods, the economy of this region, like much of the Levant, relied heavily on agriculture, facilitated by such advanced water systems. The terraces and water channels developed in ancient times continued to be used, illustrating the long-term sustainability of these early engineering marvels.

Moreover, the presence of a monumental dam, known as "the small wall," similar in construction to the stones of the Western Wall and dating back to an ancient period, indicates the area's historical significance and its agricultural use over centuries. This dam, built across the narrow channel of Wadi Yosef, was crucial in preventing soil erosion and water loss, further highlighting the advanced understanding of hydrological engineering in the region.

The connection of Ein Handak to the times of the Crusaders is less directly documented, but the continuous use of the land and its water management systems throughout various historical periods, including the Crusades, underscores the strategic importance of water sources in the region's survival and prosperity. The meticulous construction and maintenance of water systems like those at Ein Handak are a testament to the region's rich history of adapting to and thriving within its natural environment.

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The hollow further along the path forms an integral part of the ancient Ein Handak irrigation system. This system features two intricately carved conduits designed to collect water from subterranean springs. These conduits lead the water into a network of underground channels, directing it towards Ein Handak, which lies at a strategic confluence of three hiking trails:

  1. Descending the Green Path to the "Little Wall": Starting from Ein Handak, hikers can follow the trail marked in green towards the "Little Wall." This route descends through the wadi, crosses Route 386 via an underpass, skirts the Nahal Sorek, and climbs towards Steph's springs and orchards.

  2. Ascending the Green Trail to the "Springs Trail": Alternatively, adventurers may opt to ascend along the green-marked trail towards the "Springs Trail." This path unveils additional mountain springs and leads to the cultivated plots nestled at the ravine's base.

  3. Exploring the Surrounding Reserves: The vicinity includes the Horvat Saadim Reserve, Aminadav Forest, and the area near Kennedy. A trail emerges from a ditch near the Hadassah pedestrian path, heading towards Ein Kerem. Along the way, small dams in Nekave aim to elevate the water level flowing towards a uniquely carved socket, its base elevated above the surrounding ground. Further down the ravine, about 400 meters from Ein Handak, stands Israel's largest terrace. Measuring 43 meters in length and 11 meters in height, it's constructed from massive limestone blocks, earning it the moniker "The Little Wall."

The term "Khandak," Arabic for a moat or excavated site, aptly describes the area around the spring, underscoring its historical significance and engineering marvel. For the safety and enjoyment of all visitors, please note:

  • The trails are intended for pedestrian use.
  • For safety reasons, descending to the pool is strictly prohibited to prevent the risk of collapse.
  • Visitors are urged to maintain the cleanliness and integrity of the site.

This area's rich history and the sophisticated irrigation system, one of the most advanced in the Jerusalem mountains, highlight the ingenuity of ancient civilizations. With a total length of approximately 100 meters, the underground channels demonstrate remarkable engineering prowess. As you explore Ein Handak and its surroundings, you're invited to tread lightly and respect the delicate balance between preserving history and enjoying the natural beauty of the region.

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The Gorny Convent in Ein Karem, Jerusalem, is a significant historical and religious site. Established by Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin) in the late 19th century, the convent is dedicated to the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God and falls under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church. It's located about 7 km southwest of Jerusalem's Old City, in a region historically known as "the high country" due to its elevated terrain. The name "Gorny" itself is derived from this characteristic.

The convent serves as a spiritual home for approximately 60 nuns and holds significant religious artifacts, including a miraculous icon of the Kazan Mother of God. The site has undergone various historical phases, including periods of prosperity supported by icon painting and gold embroidery workshops, as well as times of abandonment during wars. In the 20th century, the convent faced challenges during the World Wars and the Israeli Independence War but was eventually stabilized and continued to serve as a place of worship and pilgrimage.

Today, the Gorny Convent is an active religious community, attracting visitors and pilgrims who come to venerate its relics and participate in its services. The convent's daily services are held at 6:00 AM and 3:00 PM, with times adjusted during daylight saving to 7:00 AM and 4:00 PM, respectively, to align with Israel's time zone. For those planning to visit, it's accessible by buses 19 and 27 to the "Hadassah Hospital" Ein Karem stop.

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Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center, part of the Hadassah Medical Organization, plays a pivotal role in Israel's medical and educational fields. Founded in 1918, Hadassah established its first hospital in Jerusalem, and over the years, it has grown to include two university hospitals in Jerusalem - Mount Scopus and Ein Kerem. The Ein Kerem campus was developed after the 1948 war, when the original Mount Scopus facility became inaccessible. A new complex in Ein Kerem was inaugurated in 1961, significantly enhancing the organization's capacity to provide advanced medical care and conduct pioneering research.

Hadassah's mission transcends medical treatment, focusing on research, education, and bringing together diverse communities. It was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, recognizing its efforts in treating all patients equally, regardless of their ethnic or religious backgrounds. The organization is affiliated with the Hebrew University, offering programs in medicine, dentistry, nursing, and pharmacology, and is a leader in biomedical research in Israel.

The Hadassah University Hospital at Ein Kerem is a testament to the organization's commitment to advancing healthcare. It hosts the state-of-the-art Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower, enhancing patient care capabilities. The Health Ministry’s 2020 report recognized Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem as the leading major hospital in Israel, and Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus as the top small-campus hospital, highlighting their exceptional service and contribution to Israel's healthcare system.

The Hadassah Medical Center's journey from a single clinic to a world-renowned medical institution mirrors the development of Israeli medicine, from basic healthcare provision to leading global innovations in medical research and treatment. It serves as a crucial educational pathway for medical students, shaping the future of healthcare professionals in Israel and abroad.

The vicinity of Ein Keren to the Gorny Monastery enhances the spiritual and historical ambience of the area, offering visitors panoramic views of the village against the backdrop of the Jerusalem mountains.

HaMaayan Street in Ein Karem, Jerusalem, is part of a secluded village suburb that exudes tranquility and historical charm. This area is surrounded by hills dotted with olive and cypress trees, and the village itself is known for its stone houses, now mostly inhabited by Israeli artists and sculptors.

The viewpoint along HaMaayan Street in Ein Karem offers a unique perspective on this historic and picturesque neighborhood of Jerusalem. Ein Karem is celebrated for its pastoral views, historic sites, romantic atmosphere, and the culinary delights offered by its luxurious restaurants, including the Brasserie and Ein Kerem Inn. The area’s green landscapes and exquisite food leave lasting impressions on visitors.

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The Church of the Visitation in Ein Karem, Jerusalem, holds significant historical and religious importance and is deeply rooted in Christian tradition. This Catholic church is believed to be built on the site where Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist, lived. It marks where the Virgin Mary visited her cousin, Elizabeth, an event celebrated in the Christian tradition as "The Visitation".

The church's original site contained a Byzantine chapel associated with Queen Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, who is said to have identified many Christian areas in the Holy Land. The Crusaders constructed a large two-level church on these ruins in the 12th century, which was later destroyed after their defeat. The Franciscan order acquired the ruins in 1679, and extensive archaeological excavations in the 20th century revealed the foundations of the Byzantine chapel and the Crusader church. These discoveries were incorporated into the lower church (crypt), with the upper church completed in 1958 according to the design of Antonio Barluzzi, a renowned architect of sacred buildings in the Holy Land.

The Church of the Visitation consists of a cloister, the crypt (lower church), the upper church, and a Crusader hall. The abbey features a Byzantine cistern, and its walls are adorned with reliefs of the Magnificat in 42 languages. The lower church has a revered cave with a well, dating back to early Christian times, as its focal point. The upper church, decorated with frescoes by the artist C. Vagerini, portrays scenes related to the Virgin Mary, illustrating her importance in Christian theology.

The Church of the Visitation is not only a place of worship but also a pilgrimage site that attracts visitors from around the world. People come here to reflect on the life and ministry of John the Baptist and the Virgin Mary's role in salvation history. The church's exterior wall features a frieze with the text of the Magnificat, further emphasising the site's spiritual significance.

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The Church of the Visitation in Ein Karem has a serene and picturesque plaza in front of it, reflecting the site's historical and spiritual significance. It was reconstructed in 1955 by the renowned Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi. The church is located on a southern hill above Ein Kerem, providing visitors with a view of the lush surroundings and the quaint village below. A path leading from Mary’s Spring to the church accentuates the serene beauty of the area, surrounded by the natural landscape of the village.

The Church of the Visitation is famous for its artistic decorations and commemorates the visit of the Virgin Mary to Elizabeth, depicted in a new mosaic painting on its wall. The Franciscans, who have been the official custodians of the Holy Places since 1342, maintain the church. The facade features the 5-cross symbol, representing the Franciscan order and the five Holy wounds of the crucifixion of Jesus.

Visitors to the church can explore both its upper and lower chapels, which house various religious artefacts and artworks, including ceiling panels illustrating biblical scenes and a courtyard that features inscriptions of the Magnificat translated into many languages. This hymn recalls the song of Mary while visiting her cousin in Ein Karem, as described in Luke 1:46-55.

The Church of the Visitation is open daily, with visiting hours from 8:00-11:45 AM and 2:30-6:00 PM (5:00 PM in October to March), allowing visitors ample time to explore its rich history and enjoy the tranquil views from the plaza. This site, along with the surrounding village of Ein Karem, provides a peaceful retreat and a deep connection to the biblical stories that have shaped this region for centuries.

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Ein Karem is a neighbourhood located on the southwestern outskirts of Jerusalem. The site has been inhabited since the Canaanite period and was a continuous agricultural settlement for over 3,000 years. Archaeological excavations have uncovered Canaanite payment remains from the Middle Bronze Age. From the 14th century until the War of Independence, there was an Arab village here that was abandoned during the war. New immigrants settled the empty houses, and the town was declared a city neighbourhood as part of Jerusalem's expansion. Even today, the community still has a rural character due to its relative isolation from the city and being surrounded by mountains, valleys, and forests.

Ein Karem is also considered a holy place for Christianity and a pilgrimage site for visitors, being known as the birthplace of John the Baptist. During the Byzantine period, churches associated with John the Baptist and his family were built. To this day, Ein Karem is a holy place for Christianity and a pilgrimage site. There are several churches and monasteries in the area, visited by many tourists.

According to Ottoman documents, in 1596, the population in the place was 160 residents. In modern times, during the 19th century, Ein Karem developed and became a pilgrimage site for Christians worldwide. Today, the village has around a thousand inhabitants, many of whom are Muslims. The town is on a small sloping plain at the foot of a mountain and above a fertile valley. The fertile valley is rich in various vegetables and is watered by the spring named 'Ein Karem,' which is also the village's name. The community is known for beekeeping and producing honey with a strong aroma.

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Between the Church of St. John and the Church of the Visitation, there is a spring. It was named by pilgrims in the 14th century as the "Spring of the Virgin Mary." According to tradition, Mary met with her relative Elizabeth this spring. It was also where Mary's song of praise, known as the "Magnificat," was sung. In this song, Mary glorified the Almighty: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on, all generations will call me blessed."

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The Mosque at St. Mary's Well in Ein Karem, known as the Spring of the Virgin or Miriam's Well, is steeped in Christian tradition. This spring, situated between the Church of St. John Ba Harim and the Church of the Visitation, is where, according to tradition, the Virgin Mary met her cousin Elizabeth and sang the Magnificat, a hymn of praise. The well is part of an ancient aqueduct, once renowned for being one of the best and strongest water sources in the Judaean Mountains. Over time, the site saw the construction of a mosque and school by the former Arab inhabitants, with remnants like a maqam (shrine) and a minaret still existing. The well was also renovated by Baron Edmond de Rothschild.

These sites, each with their own unique history and significance, contribute to Ein Karem's reputation as a spiritual and historical hub, drawing pilgrims and tourists interested in the rich tapestry of religious and cultural narratives that have shaped this area over millennia.

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Mala Bistro in Ein Karem, Jerusalem, is not just a place for exquisite dining but also a site of historical significance. Housed in an ancient building, it became part of the lore of Ein Karem when a treasure was discovered within its walls around the time the State of Israel was founded. The renovation of Mala Bistro focused on preserving the building's original architecture, offering guests a dining experience that resonates with the area's rich history. The restaurant boasts a main dining area and a bar level upstairs, providing panoramic views of the enchanting Ein Karem neighborhood. Chef Eli Mizrahi's menu emphasizes Jerusalem-style dishes made from local, high-quality ingredients, making it a culinary destination for those seeking an authentic experience.

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