Mamilla Pool at Independence Park
The Mamilla Pool is located at the bottom of Jerusalem's Independence Park. Mamilla is an Arabic word, meaning “that which comes from God”. The Mamilla pool lies empty most through most months of the year, apart from the winter when it is filled with rain water.
Once the rain fills the pool, the area comes alive with frogs, crabs and insects, representing a complete, self-sufficient ecosystem. During the months of spring, many birds which migrate to this pool, an interim stop on their journey from Africa to Europe.
The pool is believed to have been built by Pontius Pilate, with the mission of supplying water to the Old City of Jerusalem. This was achieved through the use of a 750 meter long aqueduct. This aqueduct was used until the 1948 Independence War, when it was destroyed. While the Jerusalem Municipality has made several attempts to restore the aqueduct, they have not yet been successful.
The Mamilla Pool carries further historic importance as the site where a number of Christians were killed during the Persian attack of 614. The pool is also surrounded by a Muslim cemetery, dating back to the 13th century.
The pool is located on the northeastern edge of the Independence Park, the second largest park in Jerusalem. The park borders Menashe Ben Yishrael Street, King George Street, Agron Street and Hillel Street. This municipal park was originally built in 1959, and has undergone restorations and renovations several times since. The park is home to the Lions Cave, where Muslims, Jews and Christians believe their ancestors are buried. According to tradition, the cave is guarded by lions who were placed there by God to protect the remains.
The Mamilla Pool borders on the Mamilla neighborhood, located just outside the Old City walls and the Jaffa Gate. This area has undergone many changes in the last 150 years. In the Ottaman period, it consisted of olive groves and several paths that led out of Jerusalem. These later came to be known as Jaffa Road.
The area became a contentious neighborhood until Israel gained control of it in 1967. In 1986, a plan was created to rehabilitate the area through a massive construction project, which commenced in 2007. Recently opened, the project has become one of Jerusalem's most prestigious neighborhoods, home to the Mamilla Mall, Mamilla Hotel, David Citadel Hotel and the future Waldorf Astoria. Connecting the Old City with downtown Jerusalem, the neighborhood is filled with luxury residences, affluent shopping areas, excellent restaurant and trendy bars.
Alongside the nearby attractions of the Mamilla neighborhood, the Mamilla Pool offers a refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city, and a rare opportunity to glimpse the natural habitat of several species of wildlife- all within a short walking distance from Jerusalem's major attractions.