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.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
'Convent of the Olive Tree’ or 'Monastery of Holy Archangels’: Armenian Quarter, Jerusalem. The traditional (Armenian) site for the house of Annas, who judged Jesus (John 18: 13: Mark 15:15). The venue is opened for the tourists (non-Armenians) only once in a year at the time of Good Friday.
The Hosanna Stone: a column with cracks resembling the mouth of a human being. According to Armenian traditions, the cracks emerged in the stone when Pharisees asked the disciples to stop shouting Hosanna to Jesus at his triumphant entry to Jerusalem during ‘Palm Sunday’. The stone has been linked with Jesus’ answer given to the Pharisees: “And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out (Luke 19: 40).” Another legend is that the cavity was made by Jesus’ elbow as his body jerked at the pain of the first lash. Father Jerome Murphy O’ Connor has written about this unique column in ‘The Holy Land: An Oxford Archaeological Guide’ (p. 73) as, “Built into its outer wall is a relic that immediately arouses suspicion but which no one can ever prove false”. Unfortunately, I was not aware about this stone at the time of my visit and missed the rare opportunity to photograph.