The Christian Quarter

Trip Start Sep 19, 2010
Trip End Oct 25, 2010

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

What is written below was put in before I left Canada for those who are looking for more background information.  The videos and descriptions on some of the site and very well done. I probably should have used this page for the last entry and i just realized that some of the pictures on that entry had not been enhanced with my software so I am including them again.

 My day at Masada (palace and fortification on a hilltop 3 hour drive from Jerusalem - fascinating and beautiful - plus the Dead Sea) tomorrow I hope).  

 I am now in Turkey at a Boutique Hotel which a wonderful ambience about it.  It is on a narrow cobblestone street and was formerly a 5 story house. Service is perfect - rooms small but amenities perfect.  There are several other hotels on the street and they have sidewalk restaurants. Even though it was raining, diners were out under the cover, the hotel provided shawls and the street is lit is a cosy way so you can see into the shops and other restaurants.  You will see when I get to that date - no pictures of it yet.  But there  is a Turkish Bath on the bottom level and I am trying it tomorrow morning before my tour.  I will catch up with everything before I get home I hope but if not you will keep getting chapters for a few days after Oct. 24. 
 Four Periods in the History of Jerusalem By Lili Eylon
The ancient stones of Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, are imbued with millennia of history. In 1000 BCE King David made the city, located in the heart of the country, his capital. Over the centuries,Jerusalem, held sacred by the three major monotheistic religions, has been a city of places of worship, community life and cultural development as well as a focus of conflict. Today, it is a growing metropolis which faces the challenges of modern urban life while preserving its unique historical and spiritual nature.The interested visitor can view, in Jerusalem, models depicting the city in four periods of its history:In the First Temple Period (c. 960-586 BCE); during King Herod's reign in the first century CE (Second Temple Period, 538 BCE - 70 CE); in the latter part of the 19th century, under Ottoman rulepresent-day Jerusalem, planning for the future.

 Jerusalem can divided into four Quarter as shown and described below

The Four Quarters 

The Old City is divided into four neighborhoods, which are named according to the ethnic
affiliation of most of the people who live in them. These quarters form a rectangular grid, but they are not equal in size. The dividing lines are the street that runs from Damascus Gate to the Zion Gate - which divides the city into east and west - and the street leading from the Jaffa Gate to Lion's gate - which bifurcates the city north and south. Entering through the Jaffa Gate and traveling to David Street places the Christian Quarter on the left. On the right, as you continue down David Street, you'll enter the Armenian Quarter. To the left of Jews Street is the Muslim Quarter, and, to the right, is the Jewish Quarter.

Christian Quarter

The Way of the Cross

The best way to follow the Via Dolorosa, or way of suffering, is to enter Lion's Gate (St. Stephen's Gate) from the eastern side of the City (beside the Temple Mount). This is the route Christians believe Jesus traveled carrying the cross from his trial to the place of his crucifixion and burial.  The 14 stations commemorate incidents along the way. The first seven stations wind through the Muslim Quarter. The last five are inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The tradition of following the Via Dolorosa dates to the Byzantine period.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre also called the Church of the Resurrection , is a Christian church within the walled Old City of Jerusalem. The ground on which the church stands is venerated by most Christians as Golgotha, the Hill of Calvary, where the New Testament says that Jesus was crucified. It is said to also contain the place where Jesus was buried (the sepulchre). The church has been an important pilgrimage destination since the 4th century. Today it serves as the headquarters of the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Catholic Archpriest of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.  To see virtual movie of Church click here.

Greek Orthodox Church of St. John the Baptist

The oldest surviving church building in Jerusalem is the 5th century crypt of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. John the Baptist (Prodromos) in the Christian Quarter of the Old City. Now below street level, the structure is trefoil-shaped, with three apses (on the north, east and south), and a narrow, long narthex on the western side. Four piers support the dome. The upper storey was destroyed by the Persians in 614. It was rebuilt by St. John the Almoner, Patriarch of Alexandria, and later, in the 11th century, by Italian merchants from Amalfi. The present facade and small bell tower of the upper storey are modern. The church is reached through a courtyard from the Christian Quarter Road.

The Citadel of Jerusalem

The citadel of Jerusalem, known as the "Tower of David," has been a landmark of the city since ancient times. The citadel is located on the western side of the Old City, just south of the Jaffa Gate. Its location was chosen for topographic reasons - this is the highest point of the southwestern hill of Jerusalem, higher than any other point in the ancient city, including the Temple Mount. A series of fortifications built here in the course of more than twenty centuries, protected Jerusalemfrom the west and also overlooked and controlled the entire city.
A first archeological survey of the citadel, and excavations, were conducted between 1934 and 1947. Renewed excavations were undertaken after the reunification of the city, between the years 1968 and 1988, preparing the opening of the site to visitors.Every period has left its mark and has been identified in the assemblage of architectural remains. In the citadel's foundations are buried the remains of Jerusalem's fortifications from the end of the monarchic period (8th to 6th centuries BCE) through the early Arab period (seventh to eleventh centuries). The outline of the citadel known today is from the Crusader period; the citadel itself was built in the mid-16th century by the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, and incorporates the remains of earlier citadels dating from Ayyubid and Mamluk times.The Citadel is protected by a high wall and large towers, and it is surrounded by a wide, deep moat, part of which was blocked in modern times. The entrance is from the east, via an outer gate, a bridge over the moat and a fortified inner gate house.

 Dome of the Rock

The sacred rock over which the Dome of the Rock is built was considered holy before the arrival of Islam. Jews believed, and still believe, the rock to be the very place where Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac (an event which Muslims place in Mecca). In addition, the Dome of the Rock (or the adjacent Dome of the Chain) is believed by many to stand directly over the site of the Holy of Holies of both Solomon's Temple and Herod's Temple.The Dome of the Rock was built by the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik from 688 to 691 AD. It was not intended to be a mosque, but a shrine for pilgrims. According to tradition, the Dome of the Rock was built to commemorate Muhammad's ascension into heaven after his night journey to Jerusalem (Qur'an 17). But there seems to have been more to it than this, since the Dome of the Ascension was later built nearby.The great golden dome that crowns the Dome of the Rock was originally made of gold, but was replaced with copper and then aluminum. The aluminum is now covered with gold leaf, a donation from the late King Hussein of Jordan. [6]The dome is topped by a full moon decoration which evokes the familiar crescent moon symbol of Islam. It is aligned so that if you could look through it, you would be looking straight towards Mecca.The beautiful multicolored Turkish tiles that adorn the shrine's exterior are faithful copies of the Persian tiles that Suleiman the Magnificent added in 1545 to replace the damaged originals. The lower half of the exterior is white marble.The Arabic inscription around the octagonal part of the Dome of the Rock are verses from the Qur'an. The inscription dates from the renovation under Suleiman. The tiled area just below the golden dome is the drum. Its glazed tiles were made in Turkey, and its Arabic inscription tells of the Night Journey of Muhammad as described in the Qur'an (surah 17).Inside the shrine, an arched wall called the octagonal arcade or inner octagonfollows the exterior shape. An open space between this and the central circle forms the inner ambulatory around the Rock, carpeted in lush red. The area between the inner octagon and outer octogan (exterior wall) forms a smaller, outer ambulatory, carpeted in green. The two ambulatories recall the ritual circular movement of pilgrims around the Ka'ba in Mecca.The cupola, the interior of the great golden dome, features elaborate floral decorations in red and gold, as well as various inscriptions. The main inscription in the cupola commemorates Saladin, who sponsored extenstive restoration work on the building.The mosaics of the interior feature both realistic and stylized representations of vegetation and related themes (Muslim law forbids the representation of living beings in art). The mosaics evoke an exotic garden, perhaps the gardens of Paradise. Rich jewelry is also depicted in abundance, including breastplates, necklaces, and a Persian crown with features gathered at the base. The caliph Omar had conquered Persia in 637, and the mosaics symbolize the Persian crowns he sent to hang in Mecca.

 Gates of the Old City from a site where you can purchase wonderful pictures of the Holy land in high definition.  Recommend you look at this site in detail

Jaffa Gate at night
Jaffa GateSo named because the road leading from it goes to the port city of Jaffa (Joppa), this gate is the only one on the western side of the Old City.  A low part of the city wall was torn down and the Crusader moat of the Citadel filled in 1898 for the visit of the German Kaiser Wilhelm II.  This gate was also the famous scene of the English General Allenby's entrance in 191

Dung Gate and Tanners' Gate from westDung GateDifferent theories account for the naming of this gate, including one which puts it back to Omar's conquest of Jerusalem in 638 A.D. when trash was cleared out of the city through this gate.  It is also known as the Gate of the Moors because of the North African immigrants who lived in a neighborhood next to the gate in the 16th century.
Golden GateThis sealed gate on the eastern side was built approximately 640 A.D. either by the last of the Byzantine rulers or by the first of the Arab conquerers.  Tradition that equates this gate with the one mentioned in Ezekiel's prophecy (ch. 44) is dubious at best.  Leen Ritmeyer believes that an earlier gate is preserved underneath the current gate.Golden Gate
St. Stephens Gate, aka Lions' GateSt. Stephen's GateThis gate is so named because of the tradition that the first Christian martyr was stoned outside this gate.  However an earlier tradition locates this execution north of the city.Lions' Gate is another name for this eastern entrance into the Old City because of the four animals that decorate the gate's facade and reportedly placed there because of a dream of the builder Suleiman. 

Zion GateProviding access to Mt. Zion, this gate bears the marks of the Arab and Israeli battles in the 1948 War of Independence.  This gate is also known as the Gate of the Prophet David because of the traditional location of David's tomb on Mt. Zion.  During the medieval period it was called the Gate of the Jewish Quarter.

Damascus GateCalled the Shechem Gate by the Jews, the Arabs remember this gate as the "Gate of the Column" because of the tall pillar that stood in this gate's plaza during the Roman and Byzantine period.Kenyon's excavations underneath this Turkish gate found remnants of a triple-arched gateway dating to the time of the Roman Emperor Hadrian (135 A.D.).Damascus Gate with snow

Zion Gate


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