Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Holy Land Tour Day 9

Temple Mount - Dome of the Rock
Still in Jerusalem our second last day. The weather is warm and we have a big day ahead of us in the most sensitive holy place on earth.

After queueing and passing through security we enter the Temple Mount which is controlled by the Muslim community. The  Mosque is out of bounds to non muslims. The massive grounds once housed the first and second Temples of the Jews. All that was ultimately destroyed by the Romans. The muslims have had control of this quarter of the holy city since about the 7th Century. The Dome of the Rock is a monument and not a place of worship. The Dome is clad in gold paid for by King Hussein of Jordan (US$30million) not so long before he died. The magnificent decorated tiles are the work of Armenian artisans. The building was open to non Muslims up until the year 2000 but various tensions have led to the closure. There is an abundant presence of armed soldiers and police who are from the Druze community who are neutral.

At the Western or Wailing Wall
Literally spitting distance away and through more security we enter the Jewish Quarter where the focus is on the Wailing Wall.  Men and women approach in separate sections and we pay our respects and bring our prayers - many people are here doing the same. In the men's section a young boy is making his Bar Mitzvah. We have lots of questions for Gadi about the attire and the rituals being performed at this place.

Next stop is "The burnt house" which is a a.v. presentation set over the actual archeological finding of a house thought to be that of a priest and his family at fall of Jerusalem around 70 AD.
This presentation really brought to life the conditions and the tensions of family and the Jewish community at that time.

Brian and Noella Misquitta outside the synagogue school

Adrian of the geraniums outside the Church at
the place where Peter denied Jesus three times

We had quite a discussion with our guide during the course of this afternoon about current daily life for the more orthodox Jewish people who live in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. This took place outside a boys orthodox school, donated by Baron Rothchild. These primary school aged students learn basically nothing but religious studies.

We walked on to through the Armenian Quarter to the "Cardo" which is the ancient remains of the north south road through Jerusalem along this road was the main market stalls and the central spine of community life.

Moving off Mt Zion, but only just we arrive at the Church called St Peter Gallicante (cock crows). This church is relatively new  but underneath has the ancient remains of a dungeon and tradition has it that Ciaphas' house once stood on this spot and that Jesus was held in the dungeon below.

One thing that is significant about this ancient Holy City is the almost total absence of commercial signage.  Very refreshing.

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  1. What a big Day 9 you all had .Sounds amazing !
    I like the gold dome on the Temple Mount ,great photo

  2. Enjoy your last day in Jerusalem - has been fascinating to watch your pilgrim's progress...
    I especially enjoyed your description of Lake Galilee and standing in the shoes of the disciples - I'm wondering if Peter now has an affinity with this place...
    Ray, Glenys be interested to see the artwork thats produced from your journey - blessings to all,
    Judy (The ex- thl student)

  3. Greetings from cold, wet Melbourne! Wonderful to hear your pilgrims progress. Keep up the good work.