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Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion

While visiting the Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion you “time travel” back Herodian Jerusalem and Hadrian’s Aelia Capitolina. Authentic, ancient artifacts reveal the secrets of how Roman soldiers spent their free time. The sisters have provide very comfortable “amphitheaters” for tour groups to sit and learn about the New Testament.

Ecce Homo Arch

The Ecce Home Arch was built by Hadrian as a triumphal triple arch in 135 C.E. adjacent to the Forum and to the Via Dolorosa in the Old City of Jerusalem. The largest of these three arches is known as the “Ecce Homo Arch”. It spans the Via Dolorosa and continues into the Basilica as part of the chancel screen where the smaller northern section can be seen. Close by stood the Herodian Antonia Fortress where the place where Jesus was taken to stand before Pilate. The name “Ecce Homo” refers to John 19:5 : “Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them: “Behold the man“. 

The Struthion Pool

A canal in what is now the Western Wall Tunnels (Minharot HaKotel) , constructed at the time of the Hasmoneans (2nd century B.C.E), provided water to the Temple Mount cisterns. King Herod destroyed part of the canal when he built a moat around the Antonia Fortress . The Struthion Pool, a water reservoir, was dug into this moat to serve the fortress and its environs. This pool was vaulted over and later turned into a cistern by Hadrian (in 135 C.E.). A large portion of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion Convent was constructed above the remains of the cistern.

מסדר האחיות ציון – Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion

Pavement with “The Game of the King”

Archeologists have found the markings of the game known as The Game of the King on the floor of the Antonia FortressIt was played with dice on a playing board.  The soldiers would choose one soldier to be the “king”.  They would give him robe, a crown, a scepter, and they would pay homage to him.  During the course of the day the soldiers would gamble for all of his possessions culminating in gambling for who got to kill him.

Game of King

Ecce Homo Basilica

The church is built on the edge of the Eastern forum of Hadrian’s city of Aelia Capitolina. The identification of the church with Jesus or Pilate is considered  inaccurate as the site dates from 135AD – one hundred years after Jesus or Pilate.


Visiting hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
•    Open only for prayer on Good Friday
•    Guides are asked to give their explanations only in the “amphitheatres”.
•    The house does not provide guides.
•    In order to view the Arch, enter by the outside door which comes before the front door, it opens from the Via Dolorosa.

Places offered for prayer or liturgy:

  • The Basilica
  • The Lithostrotos before 8:00 am & after 8:00 pm

Via Dolorosa 41-POB 19056 – 91190 Jerusalem
Tel: +972 (0)2 627 72 92  –  Fax: +972 (0)2 628 22 24

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