Ottoman Period (1516-1917)

Ca. 1530

Latroun is identified as the birthplace of the “Good Thief” crucified together with Jesus (“castellum Boni Latronis”). At Emmaus pilgrims continue to venerate the tombs of Maccabees. During the XVIth c. the church of Emmaus is used as a mosque. During the end of the XVIIth and the XVIIIth c. the church is used as a stable by local peasants. During this period, Latroun becomes an important commercial crossroads where, according to a pilgrim of that time, “the caravans bound for Gaza are formed and those who pass from Damascus to Egypt stop off.” 


Palestinian peasants revolt against the Egyptian ruler Mohammed Aly because of taxes and military recruitment. During the suppression of the revolt and the battles between the Turkish army and the family of Abu Gosh who dominated the region, the fortress of Latroun is definitely destroyed and the church of Emmaus looses its roof.


The American explorer of Palestine E. Robinson describes the ruins of the Basilicas as Emmaus-Nicopolis.


The first archaeological soundings in Emmaus by Clermont-Ganneau (France).

04.23 1878

Sr. Mariam Baouardy, a Carmelite nun from Bethlehem indicates the spot of the Byzantine Basilica to her fellow nuns as the true place where the risen Jesus broke the bread, according to a private revelation she had received.

05.27 1879

Miss Berthe de Saint-Cricq Dartigaux (France) buys the site of the Basilica from the Arab village of Amwas and makes a gift of it to the Carmel of Bethlehem.


Captain J. B. Guillemot of France starts a new excavation, opening the outside wall of the central apse of the southern Basilica. A first house with a chapel is built on the hill over the ruins.


Captain Guillemot continues the excavations at Emmaus. He discovers the baptistery and cleans the nave of the southern Basilica.


During the World War I, Turkish soldiers camp in the ruins of the Basilica and destroy the upper part of the baptistery.