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Jerusalem is probably the most important city in Western Civilization. It is
considered sacred by Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The control over
Jerusalem is still a subject of disputes yet it is safe to visit and
thousands of tourists visit it annually. For easier orientation
is divided into three parts:
City. The Old City contain the historic
quarters and are divided even further into
Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Armenian quarters. Bringing a map
along is a really good idea because you can easily get lost in narrow
and disorganized streets of the
City. Maps don't have to be very detailed.
It would be even better if it will show only locations of major sites,
what they are and where can you find them in relation to your location.
Temple Mount or Haram esh- Sharif ("Noble Sanctuary") of
Jerusalem is a historical
and religious center of the city.
to widely accepted beliefs this was the
where Abraham almost sacrificed his son Isaac. After Jews returned from
the Egyptian slavery as it was described in the Exodus they came to a
site of future Jerusalem. This was once the site
for the First Temple of Solomon build in 967 BC. Inside the Holiest of
Holy ancient Hebrews kept their Ark of the Covenant with inscription of
Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses. Ironically the holiest relic in
the Old Testament disappeared before Jerusalem by taken and temple destroyed in 586 BC
by the Babylonians. The Ark apparently disappeared from the Jerusalem
long before the siege. Although the Bible is silent on this some legends
claim that Menelik, son of Solomon and Queen of Sheba, stole it from the
Temple Mount and fled to Ethiopia, where it was kept ever since in
was erected in Jerusalem in 516 BC and reconstructed by Herod the Great
in the first century BC. It was finally destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. Today most
prominent feature of
is the Dome of the Rock.
Jerusalem Temple Reconstruction
is how Temple of Jerusalem looked at the time of Jesus Christ.
It was significantly increased on the orders of king Herod the
Great. Retaining walls were increased. Even today Herodian
massive stones are easily distinguished from later stones.
Western or Wailing Wall is not the only part where you can see
ruins of this religious complex. They can be seen on the South
side and on the Eastern side where they serve as a base for
later medieval walls. Left picture of reconstruction depicts the
Temple from the Eastern side from the side of the Olive
Mountain. Magnificent Golden Gate are not bricked up by the
Muslim rulers since this is the road Messiah will take to enter
the Temple Mound. Right picture shows the mount from the Western
side. Large causeway that people used to enter the inner
courtyard is mostly destroyed. Today only parts of the
Roberson's Arch are visible protruding from the West Wall at the
right upper corner. Another Wilson's Arch is visible in the
upper left corner.
Dome of the
Rock was constructed in Jerusalem between 685 and 691 AD making it the oldest
Muslim structure. It was constructed on a former site of the
Temple that was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. If you make it
inside you can clearly see part of the natural rock that was cut
to make way for the walls that once belonged to the Temple. You
can still see a part of the temple that was called Holy of
Holiest. The Ark of the Covenant once stood here in the niche
dug in the rock. You can tell its former location by the shape
of the impression left here.
back to Byzantine times, Cardo of Jerusalem was busy trading street running in North-
South orientation. It divided the city in its full length and judging by
many mosaic depictions from the time period was a prominent feature of
the city at the time. It was constructed in the 2nd century AD by the
Roman during their massive reconstruction after fall of Jerusalem.
Byzantines increased its width to 12.5 meters (41 feet). Today only few remaining sections are visible in
the Jewish Quarter of the Jerusalem. It still gives an impression of
size and scale. Artist depiction of the reconstructed time period can be
Synagogue takes its name from a word Hurva which means "ruins". It might
seem an odd choice to name your house of prayer by this non- original
name unless you know the history of this building. Original structure
was burned down in the 18th century by arsons. It was restored in 1864,
by less than a century later it was virtually destroyed during war
between newly found Israel state and Arabs in 1948. For a long time ruins were a popular destination for tourists.
If you look at the pictures from a time period you will see nothing but
few boulders and an arch. However in 2006 a
construction of a new synagogue began that finished with re- dedication
on March 15, 2010.
The Sephardic Synagogues of Jerusalem is a group of four synagogues that date to the
17th century. It was formed by Sephardim, descendants of Jews who were
expelled from Spain in 1492 and Portugal 1497. Refugees moved to lands
under control of the Ottoman Empire. Eventually many moved to Palestine
and Jerusalem. Ottoman Turkish law prohibited other religions to
construct their temples above the height of mosques, so Jews constructed
their synagogues below the level of the street to reach required height.
The Ben Zakkal Synagogue was constructed in 1610. The Prophet Elijah
Synagogue was a former study hall constructed in 1625, but it was
transformed into a separate temple in 1702 due to growing number of
local population. Central Synagogue was later added in 1830's and
Istambull Synagogue was built in 1857.
Wohl Archaeological Museum is devoted to archaeological finds from the time of
Jesus Christ and king Herod the Great. Since the city was burned in 70
AD during Jewish revolt against the Roman authority, its everyday
artefacts and buildings were covered by newer structures. It offers an
unique view of everyday life. Fees for the entrance also cover The Burnt
House found adjacent to the museum. Be aware that photography is not
allowed in the museum.
The Burned House is a Jewish homestead that was destroyed
by the invading Roman army during Jewish revolt of 70 AD. As Josephus
Flavius notes in his historic work much of the ancient city of Jerusalem
was laid to waste. At the same time it gave us a rare chance to witness
the lives of common people since their lives and their physical
surroundings got covered by subsequent archaeological layers. The house
contained kitchen, several rooms and a Mikvah. Furthermore many coins
were found on the site. Some date to the time of the Roman rule, while
others were issued by the rebels. An interesting detail in the house was
a finding of a stone weight that is just 4 inches (about 10 cm) in
diameter. In contained Hebrew inscription of "Bar Kathros" or "Son of
Kathros". So it is logical to assume that the house belonged to the
Kathros family. According to the story found in Talmud written centuries
later this family was a religious family with a position of priesthood
held by its members. However they abused it and eventually lost this
Isaiah (22:10) And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the
houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall.
Plugat ha- Kotel Street
Wall is a section of the wall
that remains from the ancient fortifications built by
King Hezekiah in the 8th century BC. It was constructed by the
Israelites to defend increasing numbers of refugees from around
the city following the Assyrian invasion in 722 BC. You can
clearly see that many older residence were torn down to make way
for the new wall that cut through them. It was discovered in 1967 during
modern reconstruction projects. Due to its importance it was left as it
was found without new construction covering it. It is well hidden and
you might stumble on it accidentally as you explore confusing maize of
city streets. The easiest way to find it is simply ask for directions.
Western or Wailing Wall of Jerusalem is known as
Ha-Kotel Ha-Ma'aravi (הכותל
המערבי) in Hebrew. This is
preserved part of the Second Temple. However you can see distinct stones on
Southern and Eastern sides of the former complex of the Temple. It
is open 24 hours 365 days a year. Upon destruction Romans kept the retaining walls of
to demonstrate their incredible tenacity to capture such a citadel. It
gets its name from the sorrow all Jews feel upon seeing the
destruction that befell their most important shrine. Please, respect
traditions and dress accordingly if you choose to come to a wall.
Covering arms and legs is preferable. The left side of the wall is for
men who get plastic kippah if they don’t have one. The right side is
reserved for women.
The whole temple complex looked like a large box put on the mountain
peak. Retaining walls are visible, but inner passages are assessable by
a Western Wall Tunnel. It leads inside subterranean passage way of the
religious complex. However there is limited number of people that can
fit inside temple's foundation. Make sure you can book the visit in
Ophel Archeological Museum is situated just south of the Western Wall.
The museum is one of the most interesting sites in Jerusalem even if you are
not a big fan of archaeology and certainly largest in the city. It covers ruins from the David's
time to the Ottoman period. Audio guide is available for another 6 shekels.
Jewish community that constructed Ramban Synagogue was the first settlement
since Jewish Exile by the Romans in 135AD. First diaspora was organized by
Spanish Rabbi Moses Ben Nahman (Nahmanides) in 1267. First temple was
constructed near the tomb of King David. Current site was settled in the
15th century, however in 1523 it had to be rebuilt after a collapse. Ramban
Synagogue was the closed by the Muslim authorities in 1599. The building was
transformed into a workshop. Only after 1967 war Israel captured the whole
city of Jerusalem and reinstated the Synagogue to its former use.
This museum is devoted to the history of the ancient Jerusalem as it existed
in the 7th and 6th centuryBC. This includes a large model of the whole city
with a reconstructed First Temple that was erected by a legendary Israeli
Old Yishuv Court Museum is a former private residence
constructed in the 15th century. Today it houses a museum
devoted to the life of a Jewish community from the 19th century
to 1917 when Ottoman Empire lost control over Holy Land. The top
floor of the building holds 18th century Ashkenazi synagogue. It
was closed briefly between 1948 when Israel was formed to 1967
when Israeli forces captured this part of the city.
all the officials
of the king of Babylon came and took seats in the Middle Gate:
Nergal-Sharezer of Samgar, Nebo-Sarsekim a chief officer,
Nergal-Sharezer a high official and all the other officials of
the king of Babylon." Jeremiah 39:3
Shonei Halakhot Street and Plugat ha Kotel Street
Open: 9am- 5pm Sun- Thu, 9am- 1pm Fri
Israelite Tower are remains of the defensive fortifications that
date back to the 7th century. Most of the tower was destroyed.
Today it reaches a height of 26 feet (8 meters) with a thickness
of 13 feet (4 meters). Part of the ancient wall is currently
covered by a modern apartment building so archaeologists were
unable to uncover the section in full. However it was theorized
to guard the defences of one of the gates of the ancient
Jerusalem from the time of the First Temple. Further digs
uncovered arrow heads of Israelite and Babylonian production
further supporting a theory that it was a key stronghold in the
defence of the city in 586 BC when it was finally captured by
the invading Babylonians.
Saint Mary of the Germans is a medieval Christian church that
dates back to the 12th century. It was part of the large complex
that were run by the Knights Hospitallers. It included a church,
hospital for sick pilgrims and a hospice. Most of workers here
were pilgrims from Germany, which is responsible for the name of
the church. Most of the medieval walls are destroyed, but a
section of the temple is still visible today.
For most Christians this is the holiest site on Earth since it is
believed that on this place Jesus Christ died on a cross and
subsequently buried. Golgotha at the time of crucifixion was a small
hill just outside of walls of Jerusalem. It strange resemblance with a
head is due to human activity that quarried stone for construction of
buildings inside the city. Its remains are clearly visible in the
subterranean portion of the church. Additionally its close proximity to
city walls and major road leading to the city (roughly correlates with
David Street today), made sure that everyone saw what can happened to
anyone who opposed the power of the Roman Empire. Soon after the events
described in the Gospels, city expanded and temple of
Venus was build on the site. However Christians did not forget the place
and came here to pray in secret. It was emperor Constantine with his
mother Helena who finally tore down the pagan temple and established
Christian Church in its place. Empress Helena started the construction
by carrying out archaeological digs on the site of the former Golgotha.
She discovered remains of the cross that was probably used for execution
of Jesus as well as many other criminals over expanse of several
HolySepulcher was finally constructed after former quarries were emptied
from rubble and dirt. The building was burned and damaged
through almost two millennia of turbulent history, but it was quickly
restored and reconstructed. Modern Church was constructed in the early
19th century. Take notice of a ladder that stands at the right window of
the double arch. It's been there for over one hundred years. As you
enter the complex you might also notice cracked column on the left side.
According to a legend this long crevice was formed on Easter. Orthodox
priest came too late to service and he couldn't enter the Tomb of Jesus,
so he started to pray at the entrance of the church. Suddenly a
thunderbolt hit the column and fire emerged to surprise of all the
believers. Right inside the church you can see a stone where body of
Jesus was washed after he was taken from a cross. On the right side you
can see the remains of the Golgotha peak, on the right round church
contains a small chapel that enshrines the tomb of Jesus Christ.
According to the Gospels Jesus was buried in a newly carved cave for a
family of Joseph, member of Sanhedrin, religious court that sentenced
him to death. However Joseph opposed death sentence and in secrecy
considered himself as one of his disciples. After his friend was
crucified, Joseph helped to bury him in a tomb made for his family.
Joseph's tomb is visible in a small room adjacent to the main round
Former cave was basically destroyed for construction of later Roman and
Christian structures. We can only imagine how the cave looked in the
first century AD. Its former location is located within a small chapel
in the round central hall. Chapel has an anteroom that has remains of
the rock that closed the former cave and a small burial chamber. As you
enter the tomb make sure you don't hit your head. The entrance is very
low and narrow.
Alexander Hospice is an important site of the Russian Orthodox church was
constructed in 1859 to house sick Eastern Orthodox pilgrims. During
reconstruction in the 19th century parts of the layers were removed. Workers
accidentally stumbled upon remains of the Herodian city walls and a Judgment
Gate. This was the city limits of Jerusalem in the time of Jesus Christ. He
undoubtedly passed through this gate on his path to Golgotha. Here people
condemned to death were stopped. The guards could ask the surrounding people
for the fate of the criminal. It was possible to save his life if a man of
18 years and above would ask for forgiveness of the fugitive. Since all
apostles left the side of their teacher and Saint John was probably too
young to legally voice his request Jesus passed the gate without much delay.
All the women who stayed with Jesus couldn't save him since they had no
right of voice in these matters. Along with a Judgment Gate there was a
smaller gate known as a Eye of the Needle Gate. At the sunset the main door
was closed and a smaller gate was the only way to get inside the city. It is
possible that this was the actual Eye of the Needle that the Jesus mentioned
when he said: "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the
eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" Matthew
19:23- 24. Additionally there are remains of the Roman Forum that was
constructed here in the 2nd century AD by emperor Hadrian after the Jews
were expelled from a city as a punishment for their rebellion.
Lutheran Church of the Redeemer was constructed on the orders
of a German Emperor Wilhelm II in 1898. You will recognize by a distinct
bell tower and if you chose to sleep in the proximity of the Church you will
certainly hear its bells. If you manage to climb all 177 stairs of the bell
tower you will get the best panorama view of the Old City and its
Today Muristan is a small area South of Church of Sepulcher. It is lined by
European styled buildings, several shops and a fountain. The name of the
place is derived from Persian and means hospice for pilgrims. In the early
medieval times this area was dotted by several hospitals and hospices for
the Christians pilgrims who came to the site to pray. The first hospice was
constructed here by Emperor Charlemagne in the 9th century after he got
permission from the caliph Haroun el- Rashid. Later three churches were
added including Saint John the Baptist that was reserved for the poor
pilgrims. It still stands today in a good state of preservation. Other
included Saint Mary Major of the Latins that was reserved for men and Saint
Mary Minor that was reserved mostly for women. During medieval times a
complex of hospitals and hospices houses over 2000 people, but over time the
site was abandoned and many structures were torn down or reconstructed for
Constructed in the 5th century AD it is one of the oldest
churches in the city. It was later reconstructed in the 11th century as part
of the hospice complex intended to help pilgrims who came to pray to
Jerusalem. After Crusaders took the city after a violent siege many knights
were wounded in the battle. They were brought here with a hope of recovery.
Needless to say the level of medicine at the time was really low and
survival was nothing short of a miracle. Those lucky ones that survived
battle wounds and medical treatment. dedicated themselves to helping other
people. They found an monastic order of knights that became known as the
Knights of the Hospital of Saint John also known as Hospitallers. This
eventually became one of the largest orders in the medieval Europe. Unfortunately the interior is closed to the public.
Museum of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate (Jerusalem)
Tel. (02) 626 5333
Open: 10am- 4pm Sun, Thu & Sat
10am- 2pm Fri
The Citadel of Jerusalem was constructed in the 2nd century BC for protection of the
city from enemy attacks. Herod the Great further increased the defences
of the fortress. He also added a massive tower that became known as a Phasael's Tower after king's brother Phasael. It was largely destroyed
by Roman emperor Hadrian and reconstructed during medieval times. The
Citadel is occasionally referred to as a Tower of David, although it was
constructed much later after the death of a legendary king. Although
much of the structure that is visible today date back to the 14th
century with further improvements made in 1532 by Suleyman the
Magnificent. Today it houses the Tower David Museum of the History of
This small and seemingly modest church has
a long and interesting history. It is said to be constructed on a site of
the house of Mary, mother of John Mark. In the Acts 12:12 this housed is
mentioned as a sanctuary where apostle Peters flees after being liberated
from prison by an angel. Syrian Orthodox Church also have an oral tradition
that states Mary, mother of Jesus was baptized here. Furthermore it served
as a gathering place of Pentecost.
A Walk on the Roofs (Jerusalem)
A Walk on the Roofs of
Jerusalem begins at the
corner of Khabad Street and Saint Mark's Road. An iron staircase
leads to the roofs of Jerusalem houses. If you feel lost you can
locals for directions.
Saint Anne's Church is a medieval church constructed between
1131 and 1138 replacing an older Byzantine
church. A Christian tradition considers this to be the site
where Saint Anne and Joachim, parents of Virgin Mary, used to
live. The underground remains of their house are situated in the
crypt of the church. Arabic inscription at the entrance states
that great Arab leader Saladin turns the building into a
theological school after he conquered the city from the
Crusaders. Eventually it was abandoned and fell in disrepair.
The Ottomans turned possession of the medieval structure to the
France in 1856 that subsequently reconstructed it.
Part of the Roman temple are found
just outside of the walls of the church. Additionally two
cisterns from 8th and 3rd century BC are situated here. In the
ancient times they were used to collect water for the residents
of the city and its surroundings. These were turned into
curative baths in the 1st century BC by Herod the Great.
Virgin Mary Birth Place is located inside
city walls near Lion's Gate. It was a former residence and birth place of
Mary, future mother of Jesus Christ. The levels of the house above ground
were destroyed during suppression of the Jewish revolt by the Roman army,
but its underground levels have been preserved in its pristine original
form. Watch your head as you descend below ground. People were very short at
the time and their houses definitely reflect that.
Monastery of the Flagellation is a Roman Catholic Franciscan monastery on a
site traditionally believed to be the site of flagellation of Jesus Christ
by the Roman soldiers on a last day of his physical life just before
Crucifixion. A Chapel of Flagellation was constructed in 1920's and designed
by Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi who also designed Dominus Flevit
Chapel on the Mount of Olives. The monastery also contains ruins of the
older medieval chapel that once stood here. Remains from the Byzantine and
Crusades times were collected in the Studium Museum of this religious
complex. Additionally it houses Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, an institute
of Biblical studies.
John (19:5) "Then
came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And
Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!"
Convent of the Sisters of Zion
Tel. (02) 643 0887
Open: 9am- 12pm & 2- 6pm Mon- Thu (2- 5pm winter)
Ecce Homo Arch clearly stands on the road of Via Dolorosa. Ttradition
states that this is the site where Pontius Pilate presented beaten Jesus
Christ to the crowd with words "Ecce Homo" or "Behold this Man" in Latin.
The arch itself dates back to 70 AD when it was used as part of a huge siege
ramp for the Roman Army that tried to take Anthonia Fortress. After
reconstruction of the city this arch became part of the Triumph arch
constructed in 135 AD to commemorate the victory of Rome over Jewish rebels.
Additionally two smaller arches were added. One of these arches were
incorporated as a main entrance in a church of Convent of the Sisters of
Zion. The central arch spans Via Dolorosa.
Dolorosa is a Latin term that means "Way of Grief" or "Way of Suffering". It
is the path that Jesus Christ took in his last hours of his physical life.
The road was drawn by the Roman Catholic monks in the 12th century upon
conquest of Jerusalem by the Crusaders. The base of their knowledge was an
oral tradition that existed here for centuries. Actual archeological digs
were undertaken in the 19th and 20th century linking description in the
Gospels to actual historic sites. It is broken into fourteen stations that
describe certain events that took place on Good Friday. These stations are
marked by Roman signs.
Station I- Jesus is condemned by Pontius Pilatus to death.
Station II- Jesus Christ is given his cross to carry to his crucifixion
place of Golgotha
Station III- on the corner of modern via Dolorosa and El Wad Street Jesus
falls for the first time. The path take a turn here to follow the shape of
the Temple Mount
Station IV- Jesus meets Virgin Mary, his mother. Here you can see distinct
Roman stones that stand out with its size and rounded corners polished by
generations of people who walked these streets
Station V- Simon helps Jesus Christ carry his cross. Tradition goes that
this is the site where Jesus fell and left an imprint of his hand on the
stone. Here you can find that stone inserted into a wall
Station VI- At this place Saint Veronica comes to an aid of Jesus and wipes
sweat off his face.
Station VII- Jesus Christ falls for the second time under a weight of his
Station VIII- This is the place where Jesus spoke to a Jerusalem woman.
"But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of
Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children"
Station IX- Here Jesus fell for the third time. This is the final station
within the walls of the ancient Jerusalem. He left the city through Judgment
Gate. It was uncovered in the 19th century during remodeling of the Russian
mission that is adjacent to the Holy Sepulcher.
Station X- Roman soldiers undress Jesus before his execution and divide them
between the guards. "And when they had
crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every
man should take" (Mark 15:24)
Lady Tunshuq's Palace is a small private residence that belonged, as the
name suggested, to Lady Tunshuq who was of Turkish or Mongolian origin.
She was wife or mistress of a Kurdish nobleman in the 14th century. She
lived here in a relative quiet from the busy streets of Jerusalem. After she
died, she was buried across the street.
The Central Souk is a central market situated between Chain Street and David
Street. In the Ancient times it formed part of the Roman Cardo, central
market road of the Roman Jerusalem. Today it is still of the busiest markets
in the city. It sells species, butcher meat and many presents and souvenirs.
to the cave is situated underneath a city wall between Herod's gate and
Damascus gate. It was used in the ancient times to quarry stone for various
construction sites around ancient Jerusalem.
Walls And Gates
The Old City
is surrounded by impressive walls that stretch for 4 km (2.5 mi) and reach
at places height of 20 meters. They were constructed in 1536- 39 by Suleiman
the Magnificent. His workers did not bother too much with the material and
often used stones from earlier structures that were destroyed previously.
The gates of the city include that of Damascus, New, Jaffa, Zion, Dung, Lion
Gate or Gate of Saint Stefan and Herod's Gate. The eight gate is a Golden
Gate that is situated in the Eastern Wall of the city in direction of the
was constructed by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1537- 42 during his huge
fortification project of the city. The Arabs call this gate Bab el- Amud or
Gate of the Column as a reference to a column that once stood here. The
statue of Emperor Hadrian once stood on top of the column, but it was torn
down long time ago. Jews called it Shaar Shkhem or Gate of Shechem after a
city Shechem, known also as a Nablus in Arabic. It stood at the beginning of
a road that led to Nablus.
Many tourists pass these beautiful gates
without noticing a small entrance just below today's street surface. This
arch is a smaller of the three Roman arches that once stood here.
Constructed in the 2nd century AD by emperor Hadrian these remnants of the
ancient Roman Jerusalem were uncovered only in the twentieth century by the
archaeologists. It is worth a visit. Cool and somewhat gloomy remains are
very well preserved having being buried by centuries of debris. And
interesting and somewhat disturbing feature of the mortar that was used to
connect the stones is presence of bones and other junk that was mixed.
Gate or Saint Stephen's Gate were constructed by Suleuman the Magnificent in
1538. Arabs call it Gate of the Virgin Mary or Bab Sitti Maryam as a
reference to a tomb of Virgin Mary situated outside of the city. The name of
Lion's Gate or Shaar ha- Arayot is a reference of a relief of lions that are
situated just outside of the entrance to the Old City. During Medieval times
the gate was renamed to Saint Stephen Gate after a first Christian martyr
who was stoned here. However other sources claim that he was actually killed
outside of Damascus Gate not far from here. Whatever might be the case it
was here that Arab Legion entered the city in 1948 during Independence War
and the same place where Israeli paratroopers entered in 1967 war. It is a
nice starting point for Via Dolorosa since it was here where Jesus Christ
started his path to Golgotha.
Jaffa Gate (Jerusalem)
Zion Gate (Jerusalem)
The damage around Zion Gate is not weathering. These are
Golden Gate is currently is non- functional since it was closed
by bricks during Turkish rule. Officially it was done for military purposes,
but most likely it had religious purpose. In New Testament this gate was
passed by Jesus Christ and his followers on a Palm Sunday. For Jews it is a
an entrance that will be used by their Messiah who is yet to come.
Herod’s Gate also is known by the Arabic Bab as- Zahra (Flower gate) and
Hebrew Sha’ar HaParahim. Herod's Gate got its name from mistaken identity of the
ruins nearby for the palace of Herod the Great. During fall of
to the Christian army of the First Crusade on 15th July, 1099
breach in the wall was occurred just 100 meters east of the gate.
Gate is the smallest entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem. Original ancient
gate Shaar ha- Ashpot was intended to take out ash from the religious
rituals in the Temple. Arabs who conquered the city renamed it to Bab Salwan
since a road from Dung Gate led to the village of Salwan. In 1948 Jordanian
enlarged the entrance to allow vehicles to pass inside the city. It is still
remains the smallest gate in the historic walls.
The Mount of
The observation deck on the Mount of Olives offers
the best view of the Whole Jerusalem. Mount of Olives itself stands
at a height of 793 meters and it is the highest mountain surrounding
Jerusalem. The name of this prominent geologic feature is given due
to a fact that olives were cultivated here for at least 30
centuries. Directly in front of a lookout you can see a huge Jewish
cemetery. First tombs here appeared as early as a period of the
First Temple. Later generations added and expanded the burial site.
According to a religious beliefs when the Messiah ascend the Mount
of Olives He will begin resurrection of the dead from the dead who
are buried here. The most prominent feature on the Mount of Olives
is the Orthodox Church of the Ascension. Its 60 meter high white
bell tower known locally as a Russian Candle stands on the highest
point of the mountain. Nearby chapel of Ascension was constructed on
a spot where according to tradition Jesus Christ ascended to heaven
forty days after his crucifixion.
Mary or Tomb of the Virgin also known as the Assumption of the Blessed
Virgin Mary is a small church just outside of the
Lion's Gate. It is believed that
Mary, mother of Jesus Christ was buried here. First church was erected here
in 326 by the orders of Empress Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine. She
came to the Holy Land and Jerusalem on a first official archaeological
expedition to search for artefacts tied to the New Testament. You will reach
a basement of the church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary by
descending by following a staircase down. The main room contains a
tomb where the apostles had laid the body of the Virgin Mary after her
death. The tomb was opened by the decision of the Sixth Ecumenical Council.
Nothing was found except a woman's belt and a burial shroud that allegedly
belonged to mother of Jesus Christ. Additionally Church of the Assumption
contains burial tombs of Mary's parents Joachim and Anna who were laid to
rest on the right side of the altar. Joseph the Betrothed who married Mary
is buried on the left side of the altar.
Garden of Gethsemane is located on the Western slope of the
Mount of Olives overlooking valley across Jerusalem. Only part of the
original garden survived to our days, but you still can see eight blooming
olive trees that were planted here in the 1st century BC so they were around
when Jesus Christ walked these lands with his disciples. Garden of Gethsemane is famous
among Christians as a place where Jesus Christ prayed a night he was
betrayed by apostle Judas and where he was arrested.
Gospel say that Judas handed over his teacher, led warriors to him in the
garden and identified him by kissing him on a cheek. In the garden of
Gethsemane you can still see a grotto where according to the New Testament
he prayed. Local legends also claim that a drop of sweat and blood fell on
the ground and melted the stone. In the 5th century a Christian Byzantine
basilica was erected on the alleged site where it happened. Since 1681 the
Garden of Gethsemane is under the control of Roman Catholic order of
Russian Church of the Ascension is the most prominent site on the Mount of
Olives. Its bell tower that is locally known as a Russian Candle is the
tallest structure on the mountain. Its bell that weights 8 tons was hauled
here from Jaffa by Russian pilgrims. The church is part of the active
Russian Orthodox Convent located here. It was constructed between 1870 and
Mosque of Ascension is constructed on a site where Jesus Christ ascended to
Heaven by Christian tradition. The first Christian church was constructed
here in 380 AD with donations granted by a Roman noblewoman Poemenia who was
a devout Christian. Later it was replaced by an octagonal church constructed
by the Crusaders. remains of the columns are still visible outside of the
original mosque. Underground tomb that is located near the site is
considered to be the final resting place of prophetess Huldah by the Jews,
Saint Pelagia by the Christians and holy woman Rabia el- Adawiya by the
Muslims. The last also gives the name of the street where the site is
Church of the Pater Noster was constructed on a site where Jesus Christ
taught his apostles and disciples Lord's Prayer or Pater Noster ("Our
Father"). This prayer is written in many languages on walls around the
Our Father, Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Church of All Nations was constructed in 1919- 1924. It got
its name since it was dedicated to 12 Catholic communities that donated
money for its construction. Walls of the church is covered by mosaics of
"Prayer of Gethsemane", "Betrayal of the Savior" and "The taking of Christ
into custody". On the floor before the central altar the crown of thorns
encircles a rock that is said to be the place there Jesus Christ prayed
before being arrested. The windows of the Church of All Nations have blue
stained windows. It gives an impression of calm night as a representation of
the last night that Jesus Christ spend on Earth.
Church of Saint Mary Magdalene is a Russian Orthodox Church
that was constructed in late 19th century by the orders of Russian Emperor
Alexander III. He dedicated this church to Saint Mary Magdalene in memory of
his mother Mary or Maria. This church contains a coffin with the remains of
Saint Elisabeth. She was sister of the last Russian Empress who came to
Russia with her sister. Upon the death of her husband from the hands of
political terrorists she became a nun. When Russian Revolution of 1917
struck Elisabeth with several members of the Royal Romanoff family were shot
and thrown down an abandoned shaft. According to eyewitnesses she along with
several members survived the execution and a fall. Apparently she tried to
take care of the wounded relatives by ripping her dress and covering wounds.
Her body was transferred to the Holy Land where she rests next to an altar
on the right side. An area just outside of Church of Saint Mary Magdalene
has benches and a fantastic view of Jerusalem below. The best time to see
the beauty of this city is late in the evening when the sun sits behind the
horizon, giving a a city yellow orange color.
Stone Structure is a general name that is given to one of the oldest parts
of the city. It was constructed during Iron age around 1100- 900 BC. At some
point it served as a defensive wall of Israelite royal palace that was used
from the 10th century to 586 BC and was probably destroyed during Babylonian
invasion. Several terraces were constructed to support ancient
fortifications. Subsequent additions of private residences were constructed
on top of pre- existent structures. It was uncovered by R.A.S. Macalister in
1920's, Kathleen Kenyon in the 60's and Yigal Shiloh in the 70s and 80's of
the 20th century. Excavation and preservation of the site continues to this
day under supervision of Eilat Mazar.
Saint Peter in Gallicantu is really well prominent in this
part of the Jerusalem. It sits near ruins of the former house of priest
Caiaphas or Caiaphas. According to New Testament Jesus Christ spent his last
night here before crucifixion. It is also the place where Apostle Peter
rejected any affiliation with Christ and His movement. Once he did it the
third time the roosters cry marked the beginning of the day. Thus prediction
of Jesus Christ during Last Supper came true.
Underground part of the ancient home did not change since the time Jesus
Christ was imprisoned here. The actual place where he was imprisoned is
believed to be a large cistern with a single entrance at the top. This was
the only way in and out.
that lead from the palace to the Kedron valley below were the one that Jesus
Christ walked to a trial of Pontius Pilate.
King David was said to be buried in Jerusalem. He is
recognized as a prophet and a holy man in Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
In the 4th century AD Christians constructed a small church over an alleged
last resting place of the great Israeli king. However it was demolished by
invading Persians. Muslims who took control of the city from the Crusaders
constructed a mosque here that they named El Daoud. Its minaret or a prayer
tower is still visible today. Today Tomb of King David is situated in an
active synagogue. As you enter this small and narrow compound you will be
asked to put on ritualistic Jewish cap. Small burial room is divided by a
wooden fence. Men pray on the right side, while women pray on the left side.
King David is buried in a large stone sarcophagus that is covered with a
veil. Words from the Book of Kings is embroidered on the veil. Legends
claimed that hidden treasures of the First Temple were buried inside the
sarcophagus, so many conquerors of Jerusalem broke into it every time they
took the city. This included Persians, Crusaders, Mamelukes and many others.
As far as we know no one discovered any valuables.
The Garden Tomb is located just outside of
the Damascus Gate. Many protestants believe that this is a true spot of
crucifixion and burial of Jesus Christ. It was "discovered" by General Major
Charles George Gordon. He believed that the shape of a mountain in the
outskirts of the Old City reminded of human skull. Existence of the tomb in
the base of the cliff made his conviction more compelling. However certain
facts don't quiet add up. For once the location of the tomb is too far from
a city walls. Crucifixion was quiet grotesque and violent death that was
intended to teach Roman citizen and subjects alike that the law of the
Empire should not be broken. Killing someone this far from a city made
little sense. Secondly the tomb that was called "The Tomb of Jesus" existed
several centuries before the birth of Christ since the times of King David.
Thus it wasn't exactly "new" as the New Testament claims it was. And lastly
there is absolutely no oral tradition that associate this place with the
events described in the Bible. Nevertheless it is a nice place surrounded by
a garden. It is a nice hideout from a busy city.
King David Hotel was constructed in 1930's. It was designed by
as Swiss architect Emile Vogt for a Jewish- Egyptian Mosseri
Family. It was named after after an ancient Israelite king and
its general appearance has architectural elements from ancient
civilizations. King David Hotel became World famous after one of
the bloodiest terrorist acts in the Middle East. In 1946 hotel
was used by many prominent British officials and military, thus
it was chosen by the Zionist paramilitary group Irgun as their
target. Take in consideration that Jewish terrorism unlike
Muslim terrorism is not viewed as negatively. In fact many
Israelis consider them as heroes.
King's Tomb is a deceptive name given in the modern times by
travelers who assumed that it belonged to a family of king
David's family. In reality it was cut in the solid rock in the
1st century AD. Queen Helena of Adiabene from Mesopotamia moved
to Jerusalem, converted to Judaism and was buried here.
Mea Shearim is an interesting
neighbourhood within borders of the modern Jerusalem. It is
settled exclusively by Ultra conservative Orthodox Jews from
Eastern Europe. Residents here wear clothes traditionally worn
in Europe in the 19th century. Coming here is a lot like
traveling back in time to the narrow streets of Eastern European
Jewish settlements. However tourists should take in
consideration that dressing provocatively or taking photographs
might lead to aggressive behaviour from the locals. Make sure you
dress appropriately if you want to visit the streets of the
neighbourhood. And ask for permission if you want to take a
picture of someone or some location.
Monastery of the Cross
was found in the 4th century by Eastern Orthodox monks who came
here from Georgia in Caucasian mountains region. Monastery of
the Cross is situated in the Western suburbs of modern
Jerusalem. According to local legends monks chose new location
in a cave where a tree once grew. Locals believed that it was
the tree that was planted by Lot mentioned in the Old Testament.
He escaped here with his two daughters after his native town of
Sodom (along with Gomorrah) were wiped off the map for their
wickedness, while his wife was turned into a pillar of salt
after she disobeyed God's order and turned around to look at the
destruction of the cities. Local beliefs also claim that this
tree was cut down to make a cross for crucifixion of Jesus
Christ. This legend also gave Monastery of the Cross its name.
The tree is now gone, but the cave is still preserved under the
altar of the monastery Church.
In the 5th century the
monastery was expanded with the funds provided by Empress
Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine who legalized Christianity
in the Ancient Roman Empire. Dangerous position close to borders
of the shrinking Byzantine Empire forced monks of the monastery
to increase its defences. However it didn't prevent sacking and
destruction of the monastery in 614 AD during Persian Invasion.
Life in this religious complex soon was revived after the enemy
left these lands. Monastery of the Cross grew and flourished in
the 11th and 12th centuries. Additionally it held a theology
school that was considered one of the best in the Christendom.
Monastery of the Cross
was protected by thick walls, but even that couldn't save this
Christian religious compound from violence in this unstable
region. Muslims captured the monastery in the beginning of the
14th century and turned it into a mosque. In the 16th century
the monastery was returned to the Christians and later
transferred to the Greek Orthodox Church.
The interior of the
Monastery of the Cross is well preserved despite many attacks,
sieges and destruction. Its walls are still covered by frescoes
from the 12th and 13th centuries. One of the depiction allegedly
carries a portrait of a famous Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli,
who lived here at the time these paintings were made. He is also
buried in the main abbey church.