Saint Peter's Church is a Franciscan Church located in Jaffa. It is the single largest and most distinctive building in the city. With it's impressive interior, Masses that are conducted there in several languages, as well as being open every day to the public, the Church is a beacon for pilgrims visiting the Holy Land.
Saint Peter's Church was built in the Ottoman Period, in 1654 in honor of Saint Peter over a medieval citadel. In the late eighteenth century, the Church was twice destroyed and rebuilt. The Church as it is seen today was built between 1888 and 1894 and was renovated in 1903.
The interior of the Church has a definite European feel to it, with high ceilings, stained glass windows from Spain and panels depicting episodes from the life of Saint Peter. Most of the windows in the Church feature Spanish Saints, unsurprising considering that the building was erected in Spain. The magnificent pulpit is carved into the shape of a life-like tree.
Saint Peter's Church also houses remnants of the St Louis citadel; two entire circular rooms with low ceilings and fireplaces. Legend has it that Napoleon Bonaparte lived in these rooms in 1799 while he was at Saint Peter's during his campaign in Egypt and Syria.
The Church was constructed in Jaffa due to the significance of the city in Christianity. Saint Peter was said to have raised one of Jesus' disciples, Tabitha, from the dead and the Church is named in his honor. The Church is situated on a hill by the shore and therefore served as a beacon to pilgrims who, upon seeing the Church, would know that they were approaching the Holy Land.