St. Peter’s Church in Old Jaffa, Israel

St. Peter’s Church is a Franciscan church in Jaffa, part of Tel Aviv, Israel.

Built in 1654 in honor of Saint Peter, the church was a medieval citadel. Frederick and I constructed it, and it was restored by Louis IX of France in the thirteenth century.

But in the late eighteenth century, the church was demolished twice and subsequently rebuilt twice. The current construction was built between 1888 and 1894, and most recently renovated in 1903.

The church has an unusual architecture with the charming red brick facade, which is a strange accent in a city built of stone; its interior, with large ceilings, stained-glass windows, marble-covered walls, and a huge painting over the altar of Peter’s visitation by an angel, recalls churches in the Italian tradition.

St. Peter’s, which holds daily Mass in several languages for a lively local congregation, was built in 1654 over a medieval fortress. In the late eighteenth century, it was destroyed twice, and the present structure was completed in 1894.

World history is never far away anywhere in Israel, and Jaffa’s St. Peter’s is no exception: a room at the church reportedly hosted Napoleon Bonaparte when he came to the city in 1799.

Today, the church is a famous place. Masses are held in English, Spanish, Polish, and Hebrew. A schedule is available at the church, and it is open to the public every day.

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