The church is an excellent example of Romanesque architecture which you will see during your Christian tour of Israel. St. Anne’s Church was completed in 1138. The earlier Byzantine basilica was built right over what remained of a Roman pagan shrine to the god of healing. Completely uncommon of other Crusader churches, St. Anne’s Church was spared destruction by the Muslims conquering the Holy Land in the twelfth century. In 1192 the church was used as a Islamic seminary, and noted by Arabic inscription “Salahiya” above the entrance. During this period Holy Land pilgrims were only permitted inside the grotto after paying an entrance fee. Eventually St. Anne’s was abandoned and became ruins until the Ottomans donated it to France in 1856. It was subsequently restored, however majority of what remains today is original. Today St. Anne's belongs to the French government and is managed by the White Fathers, a order of the Catholic Church named after the color of their robes.
If you get to experience songs and music at St Anne’s church during your visit, the acoustics and design of the church are perfect for singing and music. Many Holy Land Pilgrim groups come to St. Anne’s to sing and pray every day, and everyone is welcomed to join and prepare a song from all religions. We encourage you to visit this church, specially prior to your start walking the stations of the cross during your Jerusalem tour.