Friday, September 23, 2016

Israel: Jerusalem

Jerusalem, one of the oldest cities in the world originated from the Hebrew word "Yerushalayim" from two root words: Yarah (pronounced as yahr-ah) and Shalom. Yarah which means "he threw, cast" and Shalom meaning "peace." Together Jerusalem means "foundation of peace."

Geographically, Jerusalem is located on a plateau in the Judean Mountains between Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, elevated 2600 feet above sea level. The city is inside Israel but under the Governorates of the Palestinian Authority.

Shopping time at the Old City(Jerusalem)
Jerusalem is mentioned over 800 times in the Bible and is called a variety of names including Zion, city of God, City of the Great King, Salem, City of Judah, and City of David.

To name a few, God instructed Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering on Mount Moriah. 2 Chronicles 3:1 identifies Mount Moriah as the place where Solomon later build the Temple of Jerusalem (Genesis 2:1-19). David fortified Jerusalem and reigned 33 years (2 Samuel 5:3-16, 2 Kings 19:31, 1 Chronicles 11:5-6). David purchased the threshing floor outside "the City of David" so he could build an altar. His son, Solomon, later built the Temple on this exact location (2 Samuel 24:18-25; 2 Chronicles 3:1). David died and was buried in Jerusalem (1 Kings 2:10). Solomon reigned 40 years (970-931 BC) and had many building projects including the Temple. This enlarged Jerusalem to include both the lower City of David and the higher Mount Moriah (1 Kings 6-9; 2 Chronicles 2:1-5:14).



Walking through the path where Jesus Christ walked more than 2000 years ago
The Dome of the Rock
Spice up your life!
Kyts, me, Grace and Mitch behind mosaic

As per Wikipedia, the Old City of Jerusalem is a 0.9 square kilometers (0.35 sq mi) walled area within the modern city of Jerusalem.

The current walls of the Old City were built in 1535-42 by the Ottoman Turkish sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. The walls stretch for approximately 4.5 km (2.8 miles), and rise to a height of between 5 and 15 metres (16.4–49 ft), with a thickness of 3 metres (10 feet) at the base of the wall.

The Old City is home to several sites of key religious importance: the Dome of the Rock and Al-Agsa Mosque for Muslims, the Temple Mount and Western Wall for Jews and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 1981.

Today, the Old City is roughly divided into Muslim Quarter, Christian Quarter, Armenian Quarter and Jewish Quarter.

Below are two pictures showing the interior and structure of St. Anne Church. This marks the traditional site of the home of Jesus' maternal grandparents, Anne and Joachim, and the birthplace of the Virgin Mary.




 


























Above picture from the left shows the Muslim quarter in ground level, while the opposite picture is a staircase(not accessible to all tourists) which leads you to the subterranean paths of the Old City.

What is interesting about our Jerusalem trip is we did not just walked through the usual Via Dolorosa station of the cross paths that most of the travelers go through. Instead we opt to see the underground city walkway which is believed to be the ancient paths of Jerusalem. Overtime the people build layers and layers of civilization in this city so the deeper the track ruins the more archaic the remains were. Underground Jerusalem reveals recent excavation and exciting archaeological finds of this ancient City of David.

Underground city pathwalk
This spot is believed to be the spot where Jesus was presented to Pontius Pilate

























Above picture to the left shows the church facade and walkway to the market. While exiting the walled city we witnessed a woman wearing white dress playing harp inside an stone arched wall. Along the streets we also saw traditional bread in various sizes sold to tourists.  

Traditional bread sold outside Old City of Jerusalem

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