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.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Armenian shrine marking the spot where the three Marys watched the crucifixion of Jesus (See 1P; Mark 16:1) -Church of Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem.
Armenian Shrine near the tomb of Christ
A view from the Armenian shrine to the stone of unction
The tomb of Jesus Christ
Opening of this parking lot on Shabbath frequently invites massive demonstrations and sometimes riots. The friction between orthodox-secular Jewish fractions over this issue is becoming a common incident every Saturday in Jerusalem now.
These Windows represent the 12 sons of Jacob, from whom came the 12 tribes of Israel. Chagall's paintings are based on Genesis 49 and Deuteronomy 33.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
A TOMB FOR THREE RELIGIONS-Prophetess Huldah (Jewish) or Saint Pelagia (Christian) or Rabi'a al'Adawiyya (Muslim)- Mount of Olives, Jerusalem.
Huldah: According to Jewish tradition, she was one among the seven prophetesses (others are Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, and Esther); a descendant of Joshua and a relative of Prophet Jeremiah. In Bible, Huldah was a prophetess in Jerusalem during the reign of King Josiah, and she is mentioned only in 2 Kings 22:13-20 and 2 Chronicles 34:22-28.
St. Pelagia: was a 5th Century (AD) Christian saint. She was a wealthy singer from Antioch who converted to Christianity after hearing the sermon of a Bishop named Nonus. As tradition goes, she repented her sinful life, donated everything to poor and dedicated herself to God. She went to a cave in the Mount of Olives and lived as a hermit wearing a male garb. Only after death it was discovered that she was a woman.
Rabiya al'Adawiyya: is considered the first female saint in Islam. Born as a slave in 714 AD in Iraq, she became an important figure in Sufism. According to Islamic tradition, she later moved to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and lived as a hermit.
The tomb is located on the summit of Mount of Olives, near Pater-Noster Church. Note that the modern road in front of the tomb is named after Rabi'a. The key to the tomb is with a Muslim family which resides inside the compound of the Mosque of Ascension. At morning, we reached the mosque and after visiting the Ascension Chapel, I made a request to visit the tomb. We were asked to come after 2 pm. Only after a few attempts to reach the right person, we finally managed to get the tomb opened for us. Here are a few snaps of the tomb which cannot be accessed that easily.