The steeple of St. Peter's Church in Old Jaffa, overlooking the picturesque fishing port, has for over a century been a beacon signaling to sea-weary pilgrims that the Holy Land was near.
The church’s charming red brick facade is an unusual accent in a city built of stone; its interior, with vaulted 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 twice destroyed, 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.