Jerusalem! Jerusalem!

Trip Start May 25, 2008
Trip End Jun 05, 2008

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Flag of Israel  ,
Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Amir started our day by explaining to us how important it is to not have a wallet in our pockets because of the pickpockets in the Old City.  Good to know.  He said the Old City has the largest concentration of security cameras, second only to London.  Today is Jerusalem Day, a yearly holiday.  This year they celebrate 40 years since the reunification of Jerusalem. I'm typing this, we hear fireworks over the Old City!  

Our day began by going to the Old City early, which was good because of the holiday and it will get very crowded later in the day.  Wow, it was something to walk through the city and see the different cultures and religions within the walls.  It was amazing.  We went to the Via Dolorosa, a road that shows the stations of the cross.  Each Friday at 3 pm priests lead a procession along the 14 stations of the cross.  We went to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built about AD 330, it is the holiest church in the Holy Land.

Up to the 1800's, the Old City was all that existed in Jerusalem, after that they started building outside of the Old City walls.  Jerusalem has been destroyed 17 times.  Most of the current walls were built 360 years ago.

We saw the church of St Anne, built in honor of Anna, Mary's mother.  The church was built in the crusader times.

We saw the Pools of Bethesda, where Jesus healed a paralytic (John 5:7-9). 
Then, we went to The Garden Tomb, a 1st century tomb discovered in 1867.  It was excavated in 1891, and meets the specifications of where Jesus was buried: it is close to the site of the crucifixion, outside the walls of the city, hewn from the rock, a tomb made for a rich man, and located in a garden.  We then went to the top of the Mount of Olives.  We looked down on the Judgement Valley (Kidron Valley), where all of the nations will be judged by God.  The Mount of Olives overlooks the Old City of Jerusalem from the east.  Dominus Flevit is a chapel that marks the place where Jesus wept at a prophetic vision of Jerusalem lying in ruins (Luke 19:41-44).  The top of the chapel is shaped like a teardrop.  The Mount of Olives is where Jesus, after His resurrection, ascended to heaven (Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:9-12).  We walked through the Garden of Gethsemane, on the lower slope of the Mount of Olives, it is where Jesus was arrested.  Some of the olive trees are still there that date back to Jesus' day.  We went to the Church of All Nations, which was built in the 1930's.  Quite a day!  It really was so amazing to walk through the places where Jesus once was.  There are eight gates to the Old City.  We hope to do an entry before we go home of just the gates, but we only saw three today. 

Today's hebrew word:  lehitra'ot  see you later
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