King Solomon’s Pools are three ancient reservoirs located southwest of Bethlehem built by King Solomon in 950 B.C. They are rectangular shape partly hewn into the bedrock and partly built. They are between 118 and 179 meters long and 8 to 16 meters deep, with a total capacity of well over a quarter of a million cubic meters. The pools were part of a complex ancient water system that supplied water to Jerusalem and the Second Temple, as well as the desert fortress of Herodium.
The pools were named after King Solomon and linked to the phrase in the book of Ecclesiastes: “I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees”. In 30 B.C. Herod the great, King of Judea, built a channel of 37 kilometers to supply his capital Herodium with water.
Due to the attraction in Jerusalem of the Second Temple there were a growing need to create a canal to cover the water needs in the city. The water system was consisted of five channels totaling of about 80 kilometers in length. Two of which feeding the pools and another two carrying the water to the north of Jerusalem and the last one to Herodium. This water system provided Jerusalem with water, on and off, for two millennia. Major repairs to the pools have been done by the 10th roman legion, Mamluks, the Ottomans and the British.
Today the pools are developed as a part of tourist complex that also contains a museum of ethnography, a garden and a restaurant.