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.

Friday, June 3, 2011

REVISITING BEIT GUVRIN NATIONAL PARK (18th APRIL, 2010)-The biblical city of Mareshah.

HISTORY
Mareshah is mentioned 8 times in Bible (Joshua 15:44; I Chronicles 2:42, 4:21; II Chronicles 11:8, 14:9, 10, 20:37; Micha 1:15). The city was conquered by Joshua and later fortified by the King Rehoboam of Judah (932-915 BC). It was destroyed by the Assyrian King Sennacherib in 701 B.C. and eventually became the capital city of the Idumeans (6th-1st Cent BC). During this period the city also had Greek and Hasmonean influence. After it was destroyed by Parthians in 40 BC, the city was known as 'Beit Guvrin'. Two centuries later, the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus (200 AD) turned it into a major city and renamed it as Eleutheropolis (“City of the Free”). Maresha also appears in the writings of Jewish historian Josephus (1st cent. AD) and the 4th century Church historian Eusebius. Later Crusaders (12th century) and Arabs had their share of history in Beit Guvrin. Arabs changed its name to Sandahanna (derived from the Saint Anne church built by Crusaders on the site).

More details later...

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