A Travellerspoint blog

June 2019

Our Last Blog

for this trip

94 °F
View Israel on dasafish's travel map.

We were awake this morning at 5 am, Miami time. We are about half way to changing to Eastern Time. We finished the "The Way of the Cross" blog and posted it. Then we left on our first leg home.

We stopped in Palm Bay, FL (just south of the Cape Canaveral area) and had lunch with a long-time friend, Kirk Casteel; he was the best man in our wedding. We enjoyed lunch with him and catching up with each other's families. Then we resumed our trip north.

We stopped at Costco for gas and supper in Jacksonville, and have checked into a hotel for the evening. Our goal is to be home by tomorrow evening.

A few general observations about our tour:
• Morning Star Tours and Moody Bible are both well organized and do an outstanding job. We would strongly recommend them to anyone looking to do a tour in the future.
• It was really nice to have multiple Bible teachers on the trip as it presented multiple perspectives rather than just one. Sometimes different teachers disagreed on specific points but it was very friendly and professional. They just presented their different viewpoints and let us decide which made the most sense to us.
• Arriving a day early was very beneficial as it provided time to catch up on our sleep and also gave a substantial time margin for flight delays.
• If we were to do a tour with such a packed schedule again we would probably add an extra day at the end to give a little time for recovery before we made the long trek home.
• Morning Star recommended that couples pack half of their clothes in each suitcase in case one gets lost. We forgot to do that and everything was fine, but one woman didn’t get her suitcase for 5 days and was very sorry they didn’t follow this advice.
• The food provided for breakfast and dinner was excellent and plentiful if a bit different from what we are used to. Breakfast was dairy and eggs only, no meat, and dinner was meat but no dairy to keep Kosher rules. Salads and cold fish (salmon, sardines, etc.) were available for both breakfast and dinner.
• Israeli security is very good, very polite and omnipresent. Since all Israeli citizens must serve at least 2 years after graduating High School and additional time in the Reserves, a significant percentage of their population are in the military at any given time.
• One of the men on our tour had a date without his wife’s knowledge. The next morning his face was all puffy and his eyes were almost swollen shut. Who knew that you could have a food allergy to dates?
• Israeli agriculture is amazing – everywhere you look are massive groves of almonds, dates, olives, oranges, peaches, bananas, and lots of things we couldn’t identify.
• Many of the historic places mentioned in the Old Testament are large (cities, hills, rivers) and have been found and validated but some of the places in the life of Christ are small (houses, gardens, etc.) and are less certain. What we realized is that the specific place is not nearly so important as what happened, wherever that place might be.
• Understanding both the Old Testament and the Jewish mindset is critical to really understanding the New Testament.

The things that stuck out the most to Dan (all of it was great but he had to pick 2) was understanding the history and geography of Cesarea, where Paul was held in Herod’s palace prison, and Cesarea-Phillipi where Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am,” within a stones throw of a super-center of pagan temples.

Sandy’s top 2 were Hezekiah’s Tunnel and Megiddo/Jezreel Valley. Hezekiah’s tunnel was an amazing feat of human perseverance to dig that much all that distance, as well as being a miracle of God for the two tunnels to actually meet in the middle. Megiddo has been destroyed and rebuilt so many times, we got to see parts of just a few layers. The Jezreel Valley, also known as the valley of Armageddon, is very large and very fertile, and it will be the scene of the last big battle on Earth. If I were to pick a third, it would be the northern part of Dan. It was so lush; I did not expect that at all in a desert country.

Thank you for reading our blog. I hope you enjoyed it and learned some things about the Holy Land and the Bible, as well.

Posted by dasafish 18:46 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The Flight Home

a long day

94 °F
View Israel on dasafish's travel map.

It is now Thursday. We went to bed last night around 8:30 and got up this morning at 3:45am; that's 8:45pm on Wednesday at home. We were already packed, so we just had to clean up, dress, and put the last few things in our bags. We were downstairs waiting for our ride to the airport a little after 4:30. The hotel had a luggage scale at the bell hop (do they still call them that?) station out front, so we weighed our bags while we waited for our taxi.

As a Mercedes-Benz mini-van drove up, it was preceded by a taxi bearing the lady from Morning Star who managed our tour. That's dedication to show up at 4:45 am to make sure your clients' transportation goes smoothly. We were traveling to the airport with another couple from another bus, so we met for the first time in the limo as we were leaving. We went through a couple security check-points (these were permanent stations built on the road) between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. When we got to the airport entrance ramp, there was a set-up like a border-crossing checkpoint manned by both the police and the IDF (Israeli Defense Force - their military). The limo driver was told to pull over to the side, and the couple who sat in front of us had to present their passports. We were asked if we knew the driver (we didn't), and what our itinerary had been. I happened to have our itinerary memorized from writing this blog, so I rattled it off. That probably saved us 5 minutes of looking for paperwork we didn't plan on needing again. They asked a couple more questions and sent us on our way. We had been told we would be questioned a time or two at the airport, so it didn't bother us, much. ;)

A note about Tel Aviv: If you go looking for it on a Bible map, you will find it named Joppa or Jaffa. Actually, Tel Aviv is next to, but not on top of Joppa. Today it is the closest seaport and international airport to Jerusalem.

At the airport, we found our ticketing counter (on a different floor from the rest of the airlines). Just before we got to the security check point (their version of TSA), we realized the ticketing agent had made a mess of our boarding passes. We each got two, but I got one of Dan's boarding passes, and he got one of mine. After we got them straightened out, we realized we each had two boarding passes for our first flight, but none for our second flight, the one out of Istanbul. Dan took the boarding passes back and got them fixed.

After the security check point, we had to go through passport control; for those of us with RFID chipped passports, it was computerized and took less than 2 minutes each.

We went to the lounge (a nice added benefit for traveling business class) for about 45 minutes to wait for our plane to board. When we got to the gate, a couple minutes before boarding time, there was no plane! The plane was finally delivered to the gate and we left about 30 minutes late, but we had a long enough layover that we weren't concerned. The flight to Istanbul was mostly over the Mediterranean and lasted about 2.5 hours.

In Istanbul, we bought a couple gifts in the Unifree (dutyfree) shop and went on to the lounge there. We shared a couple bites of dessert - a baklava that was not as sweet as what we usually find in the US (I liked it better than the US baklava), and a pastry that had a flaky pastry layer top and bottom with a vanilla custard in the middle. It was very good, but the custard squished out when you bit it.

We then went to our gate and we had to go through another security check with separate lines for men and women; they looked in our bags, lightly patted us down, and swabbed our clothes and shoes with a chemical wipe which they tested for explosive residue. They also swabbed my computer tablet and wanted to see that it worked. We didn’t have to take our shoes off at any of the non-US airports.

The flight from Istanbul to Miami was uneventful, other than there being lots of “rocks in the road” (turbulence). It seemed like we spent at least a third of the flight with the seatbelt sign turned on. They fed us lunch after takeoff; it probably took 2 hours to go through it all, from the hot, steamed wash cloths, the warm salted nuts, the beverage, the appetizer, the main course, the dessert, the hot, steamed wash cloth. I’m not used to all that attention on an airplane any more, but it was nice! Then they made our seats into beds and the lights went out. Dan and I got about 3 hours of sleep, then we woke up and watched movies until the lights came back on and we were served supper (same type of routine as lunch).

We got into Miami at 7 pm, and in 90 minutes were done with passport control and customs, and had picked up our suitcases. We were at our hotel by 9 pm and were in bed shortly after that. We had been up for about 24 hours with only a 3 hour nap in the middle and we were beat!

Posted by dasafish 16:44 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The Way of the Cross

Pool of Bethesda, Via Dolorosa, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Garden Tomb

95 °F
View Israel on dasafish's travel map.

Today we went to the traditional places for the trial, death, and burial/resurrection of Jesus. I say the traditional places because none of these are known for certain and some are now known to be incorrect.

We started with the Pool of Bethesda and the Church of Saint Anne which was built to commemorate the site. Our guide told us that the account of Jesus healing the blind man at the Pool of Bethesda was reflective of Jewish syncretistic practices throughout history in that they would incorporate pagan beliefs of other peoples into their belief system and rename the practice. In this case, it was a god of healing from the Greek worship of Asclepius (same god from which we get the medical symbol in our culture, the 2 entwined snakes on a pole). They believed that their god of healing would “stir up the waters” and the first one into the water when they were disturbed would be healed. According to our Jewish guide, the Jews of Jesus day had absorbed this practice into their belief system, renaming the motive force “an angel of the Lord” instead of a pagan god. There is a great deal of volcanic activity in Israel and it is possible that some sort of subterranean gases were periodically introduced into the pool that gave it some sort of healing qualities, but this is conjecture.

The Church of St. Anne, itself, was built by the Crusaders in 1030 AD. It has the most wonderful acoustics. After we looked at the ruins of the pool, and had a teaching about the paralytic, all 215 of us went into the sanctuary and sat. One of the Moody staffers led us in 2 acapella hymns: It Is Well With My Soul, and Amazing Grace. It was awe-some, in the original meaning of the word. Those who knew the harmonies sang them and the rest sang the melody. It was like being part of a massive human organ whose song filled and resonated throughout the church.

Next we went to the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Sorrows, which contains what the Catholics call the Stations of the Cross. The Catholic Church says that there are 14 locations at which significant events took place between Jesus sentencing and His crucifixion, but only 8 are specifically mentioned in the Bible. We began at the door of the Antonio Fortress and ended up at the Church of the Holy Sepulcre.
Our guide stated that this particular path was used after Emperor Constantine, that prior to then, the path started at Herod’s palace. Why did they begin there? He said that according to Josephus, Pontius Pilate had been staying with Herod that week. If Josephus was correct, it makes sense for Jesus to have started from there.

The following is deduced from conversations I’ve had, but I haven’t researched it; Ramadan ended on Monday and was followed up by a 3 day feast where everyone (Muslim) stays home and businesses are closed. The Via Dolorosa is in the Palestinian quarter of Jerusalem.
So when we were following the Via Dolorosa, instead of having 40 of us struggle through the crowds of shoppers at all the little business stalls along the way, almost every business was closed, so the shoppers were not there. Our guide was happily surprised at how easy it was to follow our path and how quickly we were able to finish. Of course, we had the added benefit of no shop keepers trying to drag (physically drag, upon occasion) passers-by into their shops, and we didn’t lose members of our tour group to intriguing merchandise, either. There were some groups of pilgrims from other groups that were actually taking turns carrying a cross on the route.

You may ask, how did the Catholic Church know where to erect shrines and churches here in the Holy Land? In the 326 AD, when Emperor Constantine declared the Roman Empire to be Christian, his mother, Helena, came to Israel and started asking people here, “Where did such-and-such happen?” They told her the Feeding of the 5000 was here, so they erected a church. Peter’s house was here, so they erected a church. The Restoration of Peter (Feed my lambs….) was here, so they erected a church. The empty tomb of Christ was here, so they erected the Church of the Holy Sepulcre.

Our next itinerary stop was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is a Crusader era building, lots of stone and arches. Inside was a red marble tomb/shrine erected over the place where the Jesus’ borrowed tomb had been. This is one of the 2 most likely locations of Jesus’ burial. The building and the responsibility for its upkeep is divided between 6 highly incompatible sects, the Coptic, Ethiopian, Greek Orthodox, Syriac, Roman Catholic and Armenian. Our guide referred to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as the “church of the holy fistfights” because the different sects have regularly gotten into brawls over perceived offenses as minor as sweeping a step that is not their responsibility that week. Nevertheless, the interior of the church was beautiful and was filled with visitors from all over the world with no signs of disharmony.

After another lunch break at Aroma,
we went to the Garden Tomb. Here we learned that “garden” most likely referred to a garden for raising food, not for flowers and relaxation. There is a large rock (bigger than a house), that is shaped like a skull, though the “bridge of the nose” broke off about 5 years ago. The Garden Tomb is owned and maintained by volunteers and does not claim to be “the garden” but a possible location that is geographically consistent, being a short way outside the first century walls of Jerusalem. The first of the following pictures is of the garden tomb, the second picture is of the skull-shaped rock, and the 3rd is of a 1880 photo of the skull-shaped rock.

After we visited the Garden Tomb, 3 bus-groups of us sat and took communion together in the garden. It was a wonderful way to end our tour of the Holy Land.

We had a farewell supper tonight, and all the guides, bus drivers, Moody staff, and Morningstar Tours staff were there, too. We said goodbye to the friends we’d made and exchanged contact information, then went to our room for an early bedtime. We need to get up at 3:45 am (Jerusalem time) for our 4:45 ride to Ben Gurion Airport for our trip home.

Posted by dasafish 05:21 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

Miracles above and below

Elah Valley, the Bell Caves, and The City of David with Hezekiah’s tunnel

91 °F
View Israel on dasafish's travel map.

Today we started with a bus ride to the Elah Valley, where David confronted Goliath. Along the way our guide pointed out a collection of burned out and shot up vehicles left as a memorial along the side of the highway. The highway we were on was one of the main routes from the agricultural regions to Jerusalem and some of the Arab villages along the highway routinely attacked Jewish convoys of supplies heading to Jerusalem. Under British control, before 1948, Arabs were allowed to have weapons but it was forbidden for Jews. During the 1967 war, the hostile Arab villages were bulldozed but those that had not been hostile were left alone and today are large, prosperous, and living at peace with the Jews.

Socah, the hill on which the Philistines gathered is here. In the next photo, on the other side of the valley, is Azekah where the Israelites were encamped.Socah.jpgAzekah.jpg

A small brook ran on the Israelite side of the valley from which David (and Sandy) collected 5 smooth stones. The brook is dry this time of year, but we were assured that it flowed in less dry times.16362ee0-87b9-11e9-9c26-cfc7a8559fa6.jpg

After the Elah valley, we drove to the “Bell” caves, named thus because of their bell shape. These caves are near the village of Bet Guvrin which was home to the prophet Micah. The surface of the ground is hard rock called Nari, but it is only a few feet thick and underneath it are large deposits of chalk. The people would dig a small hole through the Nari and then hollow out the land underneath to form bell shaped caves. It provided a cool and near perfect acoustically resonant chamber. We were going to sing there, but it was too crowded with other people so we settled for taking pictures of people in the small puddle of light coming through the shaft/hole in the ceiling.160d9840-87b9-11e9-bb70-f1a95a930e26.jpg1f932fb0-87b9-11e9-bb70-f1a95a930e26.jpg15fb21b0-87b9-11e9-9c26-cfc7a8559fa6.jpg1fac35f0-87b9-11e9-9c26-cfc7a8559fa6.jpg

From the Elah valley we traveled up to Jerusalem. Jerusalem sits high on a finger (a “ridge” running down from the top of the mountain with a ravine on either side), so if you go to Jerusalem, you are going to travel up. Once we arrived in Jerusalem, we walked through the area that had been the ancient city of David. There is little left of the 1st Century city since Jerusalem has been conquered, destroyed and rebuilt by the Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders, and Muslims on multiple occasions. Something that has survived is Hezekiah’s tunnel. In addition to building a defensive wall, Hezekiah realized that when Jerusalem was besieged by the Assyrians, they would need a source of water. His problem – the sources of water were outside of his wall. His solution, dig a tunnel from the springs outside the wall to a low spot in the old City of David, now more commonly known as the Pool of Siloam. Hezekiah ordered his engineers to begin digging (through solid rock) from both ends at the same time. No one knows how they did it; for all practical purposes, it was a miracle of God that the 2 ends found each other and was finished before the Assyrians showed up.

70a29200-87ba-11e9-9c26-cfc7a8559fa6.jpgWe started our journey to Hezekiah’s tunnel up at the top of the City of David (a bit below the Temple Mount complex). Our first task was to walk down more than 400 stair steps (interspersed with slopes). On the way down, we saw a piece of the original wall that protected the springs before Hezekiah built his tunnel. Once at the bottom, we had two choices, Hezekiah’s tunnel, which has the water from Gihon Spring flowing through it, or the “Caananite tunnel,” which is dry. We were prepared for the wet tunnel. We put on our water-capable shoes (no flip flops – they float off your feet), I held our flashlight and Dan our GoPro, and we stepped into the water. We had been warned the water would be cold and would start out thigh high, drop to ankle-to-midcalf high, then rise to mid thigh again at the end. The water was cold, but given how hot we’d been outside, it felt good! The tunnel is one person wide. There were a couple times when both my shoulders brushed both walls, and even I had to duck several times and bend over twice. But sometimes the ceiling of the tunnel was 20 feet up, though it never did get significantly wider. The tunnel was 533 meters (1750 feet) long and probably took 15-20 minutes for us to traverse. Just before the end of the tunnel where the water flows into the Pool of Siloam, we saw the sign Hezekiah put up commemorating the building of the tunnel.

I was so glad we had chosen to go through Hezekiah's tunnel. I was in there with friends from our tour; we were calling out to each other, “Here’s a hole,” “Here’s a step,” or “Duck,” as we went through. Because there were other people with their lights in the tunnel, it wasn’t oppressive or uncomfortable. Once I got out of the tunnel, my long pants were dry in 30 minutes. That’s how dry the air is here. True, they are “travel” pants and supposed to dry quickly, but 30 minutes is fast!

After Hezekiah’s tunnel and a devotion by a Moody staffer, we took the bus back to our room and a good night.

Posted by dasafish 10:51 Archived in Israel Comments (1)

Jerusalem History

and some things about the present

90 °F
View Israel on dasafish's travel map.

Regarding the weather we’ve been experiencing – we’ve been told it is unusually hot. Our first day, the one in Netanya when we were here a day early, was the only “normal” day we’ve had since we got here. The next day, when we drove to the Sea of Galilee, started the heat wave we are still experiencing. They say that late May-early June here is usually in the low 80’s in the Sea of Galilee area; we were experiencing low to mid 90’s. And the Dead Sea and Jerusalem are under the same heat wave. Our poor tour guides are really having to work to rearrange the tour schedules to keep us inside or in shade as much as possible during the afternoon sun. But it is a dry heat here in Jerusalem. Wetting the sleeves of my “sun shirt” from elbow to wrist provides nice cooling, until they dry (about 5-10 minutes).

You cannot visit ancient Israel without being confronted with the problems of modern Israel so here is a brief summary. When the UN established the nation of Israel in 1947, it gave a portion of the land formerly controlled by England to Israel and most of it to the surrounding Arab nations. Jerusalem was declared as an “International” city that was to be open to all people of the world regardless of religious or national origin. Within hours of the establishment of Israel, Israel was attacked by armies from Egypt, Syria, Jordan (then called Transjordan), Iraq, and Lebanon with the stated intent of removing all Jews from the land of Palestine. Palestine (Palestina) is the name given to the traditional land of Israel by the conquering Romans after the Rebellion of 70 AD as an insult to the Jews still living in the land, naming after their constant enemies, the Philistines. Hence, anyone living in the land, regardless of their ethnic origin was considered a Palestinian. Although Israel managed to survive as a nation, they lost all access to Jerusalem and much of the land allocated to them on the west bank of the Jordan river. We saw many bullet marks in the Jewish quarter of the old city of Jerusalem from their unsuccessful defense of their homes. In the 1967 war, Israel recaptured all of Jerusalem and the land originally allocated to them on the west bank (plus more on the east bank) and this is now what the world press refers to as the “occupied west bank” territory.

Today’s Jerusalem is a modern cosmopolitan city with excellent road and light rail infrastructure, high rise buildings, shopping malls and horrendous traffic. There is new high-rise construction and highway almost everywhere you look (often delayed by archaeological finds). In the residential areas, the Jewish quarter is the newest and most modern in the downtown area due to the Sherman-esque approach the Jordanian army took when they drove the Jews out of Jerusalem, dynamiting and bulldozing all of the Jewish owned homes. When the Jews came back 19 years later, they had mostly empty lots to build on.

The Western Wall
Today we went to one of the most revered places in Judaism, the Western Wall. This is often referred to as the “Wailing Wall” which was a derisive term invented by the enemies of Israel. The Western Wall is also wrongly referred to as the remaining wall of the temple (Herod’s Temple) but it is actually a portion of the retaining wall built by Herod to support the great plaza on the temple mount, upon which sat the temple. It is, however, the closest existing structure to where the temple stood and is thus greatly revered. People come from all over the world to slip small pieces of paper with prayers written on them into cracks in the wall. The wall is segregated between men and women. The women have a smaller portion and the men also have an extensive, shaded library in which to read religious texts and pray.
The following photos show the men’s side of the Western Wall, men praying while wearing Phylacteries, and a scale model of ancient Jerusalem showing the location of the Western wall in the context of the overall temple mount. The Western Wall is shown by the small red arrow just to the left of the twin round towers in the background. The temple plaza is on top of the large rectangular structure behind the towers and the temple itself is the tall building on the left, on top of the plaza.
Herod’s temple is another testament to his evil genius – the structure supporting the plaza encloses what had once been Mount Moriah, the traditional site where Abraham bound Issac. Mt Moriah is now buried underneath the temple mount to form a huge plaza to accommodate the many worshipers on the Jewish holy days. It took 10,000 men ten years to build the temple plaza with some of the precisely cut stones weighing over 50 tons. One Roman historian wrote that “unless you have seen Herod’s temple in Jerusalem, you have not seen beauty.” The temple itself towered 150 feet above the plaza (compared to 114 for the Dome of the Rock) and was trimmed in gold. After the Romans sacked Jerusalem in 70 AD, the stones of the temple were cast off the plaza and all that remains of Herod’s great architectural work is the pile of stones in this photo. 7ff3b770-86fc-11e9-9ee2-b9aaded86522.jpg After the destruction of the temple, an influential Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakhai, proposed that since there could no longer be animal sacrifices in the temple, they should be replaced with Prayer, Repentance, and Good deeds but on his deathbed was wrought with fear that his works may not have been sufficient to receive God’s favor. At the corner of the temple courtyard shown here, an inscription was found indicating that this was the place from which the Shofar (ram's horn) was played on Holy Days.

We then gathered for a teaching on the southern steps which led in Biblical times to the temple courtyard. It is likely that Jesus would have climbed these steps when going up to the temple and probable that Peter preached on these steps on the day of Pentecost. Our guide pointed out that Herod had built dozens of ritual cleansing basins (baptismals to Gentiles) around the approaches to the temple making the baptism of 3000 in one day very possible. Herod, who tried to kill Jesus as a baby, made it possible for the Gospel to be readily spread throughout his empire.84f16f70-8741-11e9-830c-13de9253c1fd.jpg

We were unable to go to Bethlehem, which is now a suburb of Jerusalem, because it is now Arab controlled and unsafe for non-Muslims to enter. Sort of like walking alone in Central Park at 2am, not suicidal, but not very smart. We were given a lesson on the history of Bethlehem in Biblical times. Access by non-Muslims to the Temple Mount is forbidden. A select group of Jews was allowed a short visit on Reunification Day (yesterday) and there were riots. We heard the stun grenades going off while we were on the Mount of Olives as the police extracted the Jews from the temple courtyard.

We stopped briefly at a shop that specialized in olive wood carvings and antiquities. They fed us pizza for lunch and our bus did a brisk business with them. Our guide pointed out the differences between the Shekel and Roman coins. The shekel had the image of a palm tree on it which was for the Jews, a symbol of freedom, no images of people were allowed lest it be considered a graven image. The Roman coin had a picture of a woman chained to a Palm Tree with a sword pointed at her, a reminder to the Jews that they were conquered. He then went on to explain that when Jesus entered Jerusalem and the people were waving Palm branches (symbols of freedom) and shouting Hosanna (Hebrew for redeem us or save us), the Romans thought little of it, understanding neither the symbols or the language.

Hezekiah’s broad wall
When Solomon was king and he built the temple, he built a wall around the temple mount for its protection. When Hezekiah came along some 200+ years later, the walls were still in the same place – around the original City of David and the Temple Mount. The Assyrians conquered the Northern 10 tribes in the land then called Judah and many refugees came and settled outside the walls of Jerusalem. Hezekiah anticipated that the Assyrians would soon turn their armies on Israel and ordered a wall built around both his people and the refugees from Judah and strengthened the walls at the gates of the city. This is a picture of the remains of Hezekiah's "Broad Wall" 85091620-8741-11e9-9acc-f5f2bee6b7a5.jpg

The old city of Jerusalem is a hodge podge of buildings that were built during the millennia starting in the 1st century BC. The Romans were some of the best and most enthusiastic builders so many of the more ancient remains are from their time. When Herod built his temple, he also rebuilt much of "downtown" and put in a proper Roman "Carda" or main downtown artery with colonnades for covered sidewalks. This is what remains of a part of the Carda. a4f4a030-8741-11e9-9acc-f5f2bee6b7a5.jpg. The old city is now divided into 4 quarters (though not evenly divided); the Arab Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, the Christian Quarter and the Jewish Quarter. We were advised that it is safe to wander (in daylight) anywhere in the old city and that there were many shops in the Jewish and Arab quarters with interesting souvenirs but that under no circumstances should we use a credit or debit card with any of the Arab merchants as they have a long history of "reusing" the card number and it is difficult if not impossible to get the charges reversed.

We ended the day with a visit to a few portions of the Israel Museum where we saw a very detailed scale model of 1st Century Jerusalem and then walked through the Shrine of the Book where the Qum Ram scrolls are kept and copies displayed. The Temple Mount and associated buildings were truly magnificent. In the picture below you can see some of the detail.

This is a view of a model of the entire city looking to the North. The City of David, the original capital established by King David, is the tongue shaped walled enclosure between the temple mount and the bottom of the picture. The poor neighborhoods are in the bottom left, and Herod’s palace directly behind (west) the temple mount.51513d70-86fc-11e9-9ee2-b9aaded86522.jpg The temple complex consisted of the Outer Court, entered through the Golden Doors (Gate Beautiful). From the Outer Court, priests were allowed to enter through the next set of bronze doors that led to the Inner Court. The actual temple was only entered by specified priests and the Holy of Holies contained inside the Temple was only entered with fear and trembling by the High Priest on Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement).Temple.jpg

Posted by dasafish 21:40 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 9) Page [1] 2 » Next