JERUSALEM-the 50 sites you may overlook

In a historic and religious city like Jerusalem there is so much to see no matter how much you tour. When time is a limiting factor, even the most efficient tour guides have to compromise while deciding what to incorporate in the itinerary. Although it depends on the interest of the individual visitor as well, there is still a huge must-see-list in Jerusalem that cannot be avoided. At every stop so much information is thrown on a visitor that sometimes s/he tends to forget the details after leaving the place.

I remember when I first visited the Church of Holy Sepulcher, it appeared to me more like a small museum than a church. I was virtually clueless inside a dark and dull overcrowded massive complex of more than 25 chapels with several curious artifacts and antiques scattered under some dusky arches and dingy columns. It took me at least three visits with a proper map in hand to understand the Church complex. A normal visitor for instance would be satisfied with Golgotha, the ‘Stone of Unction’ and the ‘Holy Sepulcher’, but the oldest part of the complex, viz. the first century tombs inside the Syrian Orthodox Chapel could be easily missed.

In the upcoming posts I plan to upload 50 such sites from Jerusalem that I believe can be easily overlooked or go unnoticed by an average visitor. I am incorporating the following sites from my previous visits, again with no specific order of importance. I am sure that a serious traveler who loves history, traditions and the Bible has noticed or been to most of them.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Mitzpeh Yair (Yair Lookout)-1999, Ramat Rachel-Jerusalem.

The official site of Ramat Rachel gives the following details about MitzpehYair: "An observation deck, constructed around a perfectly formed scrub oak tree, serves as a major attraction for visitors to the site. The observation point was designed by local artist Ron Morin and consists of hand-made boulders embedded with plaques providing a description and history of the surrounding area. The observation deck provides a panoramic view of the golden Dome of the Rock in the Old City, Mount Scopus and most of Jerusalem and Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity . Stairs lead down from the deck to an ancient stone quarry where construction material for the buildings in the adjacent archeological site was mined. Mitzpeh Yair is a living memorial for Yair Engel, a third generation member of Ramat Rachel and grandson of two of its founders. Yair died in a diving accident in 1996 during his military service".

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