Ein Kerem Village
For Christian Holy Land tours, Ein Kerem Village, a forest-surrounded neighborhood in southwestern Jerusalem, is a meaningful pilgrimage site. The area houses several landmark churches and a handful of monasteries, along with the ruins of a number of holy sites that stood here during the past 1500 years.
Ein Kerem's connections to John the Baptist are many. Tour participants can visit two churches named for John the Baptist here, including the Catholic Church that houses the grotto where he was born. Ein Kerem is also the place where Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, miraculously conceived. According to Christian tradition, during Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John, her relative Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus at the time, came to visit. The two pregnant figures visited at the village well where Mary enjoyed a cool drink of water. That site is now called Mary’s Well, and many pilgrims today come to drink from the same well and even to fill a bottle or two with its blessed water.
The Church of the Visitation, commemorating the visit between Mary and Elizabeth, was built on the site in 1955. A large stone behind which Elizabeth hid the young John from Herod’s soldiers stands in the midst of the Church of the Visitation.
Other important stops in Ein Kerem include the Gorny Monastery and the Sisters of Zion Convent and hostel, which originally served as an orphanage.
Whatever sites you have time to take in during your visit to Ein Kerem Village, you’ll certainly be charmed by the area’s arched stone houses, stone paths, elegant restaurants and delightful guest rooms.