Outside the Wall, Jerusalem
Can be done in an hour, but pleasanter to spend some time strolling along.
Look up, see the interesting architecture, the combination of the old and the new. The renovation of the oldest parts of the new city, redone to meld in beautifully with the old city that it touches shoulders with…
Begin at the YMCA on King David Street, just across from the King David Hotel. Built to include and respect the three major religions represented in Jerusalem; Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It is a community center, a cultural center with a concert hall (magnificent acoustics) and a hotel.
The pillars tell the story of the Bible, the New Testament and the Koran. Look at them carefully. Note the symbols. The doorway with its pillars and symbols welcome all.
The building is in three sections: Physical, Cultural and Spiritual. The tower in the center is the spiritual. Ask at the desk to climb up to the top of the tower, look out over Jerusalem and understand…
After your visit here, cross King David street, turn left. On the corner turn right and walk down Emile Botta Street in the direction of the Old City. You pass some very interesting buildings behind high walls that can still be seen through the gates; The Pontifical Biblical Institute is especially interesting. Note also the large French Consulate building.
Turn left at the end of Emile Botta and walk up the outside of David Village to the stairs, climb them and turn right towards the old city. Walk along the new pedestrian pathway through this unique residential section. Stop for a cup of coffee and enjoy the view.
Watch for the Church of St. Vincent De Paul on your left. Continue on – it leads directly to the Jaffa Gate of the old city both architecturally and geographically.
You can then either enter the old city or turn left and walk back up to Jaffa Road.
(More photos on the T'log - Interesting walks in Jerusalem1.)
If you are in Jerusalem, do not miss the chance to visit Mea-Shearim. This is the home of the Jews who practice their religion as their ancestors did centuries ago, with strict adherence to their religious laws and traditions. It is like traveling in time and space back to the old ghettos in the European Middle Ages. Religious extremism exists here, but if you respect their style of life and customs, the ultra-orthodox jews (Harediim, in Hebrew) will only look at you with some curiosity.
The Ministry of Health building was originally a 2-story villa belonging to a private family.
When the only son died on his marriage day the family for some unknown reason propped up his body in the marriage hall. The horror was widespread. The family was forced to abandon the building. No one else would use it either and it remained empty for many years; it was then known as "the cursed building".
Left empty for many years, during the Ottoman era the Turkish government finally took it over and made it into a hospital.
The symbol of the Turkish Sultanate can still be seen on the 'crown' added to the building on the top floor.
On Jaffa Road near Mahane Yehuda open market.
In old Jerusalem building was around water sources.
They would dig a well and build around it forming a common courtyard.
The well was held in common for use by all. Almost all were one-story buildings.
Later a 2nd story was sometimes added.
Today these wells have long run dry, are covered and not used, but the buildings in some cases remain.
The old 'Jerusalem Courtyard' a traditional form of living, disappeared with the appearance of modern plumbing and water piped into homes. Some still exist in their original form.
This one houses small flats, the Museum of Psalms and a synagogue.
It is located on Rabbi Kook ( HaRav Kook ) Street, between Jaffa Road and HaNeviim Street.
The entry is on the right, at the beginning of the passage way. Look for the blue sign that explains the occurrence of these special courtyards in Jerusalem only.
At the far end of the same passageway, turn left for the lovely Anna Ticho House and dairy restaurant.
Free entrance. Call for an appointment if you want to visit the museum.
The Cenacle on Mt. Zion, also known as the Room of the Last Supper, is an example of the kind of religious tug-of-war that has gone on in this country for thousands of years. Over the centuries, a tradition grows up about some religious event occurring at a certain site – and all the religions want to get in on the act.
According to a Christian tradition, the second floor of the building housing King David’s Tomb is the place where Jesus celebrated the Passover feast with his disciples before he was arrested. There is also a tradition that he appeared here again after his resurrection. The word “cenacle” means dining room.
The hall we see today was built by the Crusaders, with ornate capitals and vaulted ceilings. One capital is decorated with pelicans – a symbol of Christ, based on the observation of the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder that pelicans will feed their young with their own blood, sacrificing themselves if need be.
The Franciscans bought the site in 1335. In the early 15th century, the Jews tried to purchase the building to gain control of the tomb on the first floor. At that point the Muslims stepped in, banned the Christians from setting foot there, and transformed the site into a mosque honoring Nabi Daoud (the Prophet David). A “mihrab” (prayer niche) and a “minbar” (pulpit) were added, along with various Arabic inscriptions.
The Room of the Last Supper is thus a mish-mash of Crusader and Islamic architecture: columns, vaults, stained glass windows, prayer niches. Even so, the room has a kind barren look. The latest addition is a rather sad-looking bronze olive tree - the gift of the Catholic association that renovated the building in more recent times.
Somehow, none of this looks anything like the venue of the Last Supper in Leonardo da Vinci's painting...
One of the well hidden treasures of Israel is Ein Kerem. It is a wonderful ancient village which located in a valley like a pearl in a shell. En Kerem contains traces of settlement dating back 8000 years.
The picturesque village is full of winding lanes, enchanting architectural features & lush green gardens. It is really a pure fantastic little place not to be missed !!
En Kerem is believed by scholars to be the place which the Bible refers to as Beit HaKerem. In the book of the Mishna, it is mentioned that the stone for the altar of the first Temple were taken from Ein Kerem.
We have seven monasteries and convents inspired by various traditions. It is said that John the Baptist was born here and that Mary drank from the Spring of the Virgin, still bubbling from a cave at an abandoned mosque near the center of the village.
**(taken from a website about En Kerem)
The area contains a biblical Museum which shows how life were in the biblical times...
Ein-Kerem A-9, Jerusalem 95744,
Rockefeller Center may be a major tourist attraction in NY, but the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem gets few visitors these days. It is an archeology museum that dates back to the British Mandate. While completely low-tech, with none of the jazzy technologies of today?s museums, it is still an intriguing place. The day I took a cab over there, the driver could hardly believe his ears. ?The Rockefeller Museum?? he said. ?No one goes there anymore.? Violent attacks in and around the Old City have kept people away, but things seem to have calmed down lately. Admission, by the way, is free.
It was 2:15 p.m. as I walked in, just as the muezzin began intoning the call to prayer from a nearby mosque. I was almost alone in the imposing stone building, a blend of British colonial and Middle Eastern architecture, built with a $2 million donation from John David Rockefeller Jr. Interest in archeology was growing, and artifacts were sent to Istanbul because Palestine lacked a museum to house them.
The chosen site, Karm el-Sheikh, was directly across from the Old City walls. Work began in 1930, only to be halted for 3 years by the discovery of ancient graves. The museum finally opened on January 13, 1938, but the official ceremony was called off after one of the guests, a well-known British archeologist, was murdered by Arab villagers on his way to Jerusalem.
Without being the world?s most exciting museum, the high ceilings, arched doorways, Armenian tiles, hexagonal central tower, Alhambra-inspired inner courtyard, and cavernous exhibition halls do impart a special atmosphere. Among the more interesting exhibits are carved wooden panels from al-Aqsa Mosque, a mosaic floor from Ein Gedi inscribed with an ancient curse, a 100,000-year old skeleton holding a flint scraper and a roomful of stone birds and human figures from Hisham?s Palace near Jericho.
The halls were freezing when I was there in the winter, although I imagine a stroll through the museum might be a nice escape from the broiling heat in the summer.
I didn't need to travel all the way to Israel to see Hassidics going about their daily lives - I can find this in north Miami Beach or the Catskills of New York. But I find it especially interesting that the Hassidics in Israel can vote (in fact very powerful if not often providing the swing vote) in Israeli elections, yet they don't believe that Israel is "Zion" (at least not yet), and they have religious exemption from participating in the Israeli military - a responsibility that every Israeli assumes at some point in his/her life. So while I know the Hassidics live in many different places all around the world, it was THIS particular place that intrigued me precisely because this kind of anachronism exists in contemporary Israel.
Everyone I saw there had the special locks or "pays"...these strange looking hairlocks are a symbolic representation of the corner of one's garden which in the case of the Hassidim, is always made available to those who are hungry and in need. I don't think the residents of Mea She'arim are cultivating gardens - most of them appear to be studying or running shops or bakeries - but I think the symbolism has an interesting basis, and something about it kind of reminds me of the Amish people of Pennsylvania.
If you visit Mea She'arim, be mindful that taking photos of Hassidics is considered disrespectful and even goes against ultra orthodox Jewish law for some of them. Not to be hypocritical, I admit to taking a photo (self evident here!) but at least I tried to be discreet; my friend was much more obvious with a telescopic lens...he was interested in taking a photo of some young Hassidic boys walking across the street. When we passed these boys, they glared at us and spit on the ground in front of my friend - an obvious statement of displeasure. Down the street, an old shopkeeper must have witnessed the incident because when we stopped in front of his place, he came outside and gave me a bag of freshly made popcorn, which surprised me so much. He told us "Just be careful!".
Don't let yourself be duped into thinking Schindler's grave is on the Mt. of Olives (like I did in a previous trip!). His tomb is actually located on Mt. Zion, right outside the Old Walled City where the Christian Cemetery is located (if you exit the City from Zion Gate, the cemetery is basically in front of you).
Schindler was honored with a gravesite here due to his contributions toward saving thousands of his Jewish factory workers' lives during WWII. It's a Jewish tradition, not a Christian one, to place small rocks on top of a loved one's tombstone. In the case of Schindler, even though he was buried in the Christian Cemetery, there were still plenty of rocks respectfully placed on his grave, honoring the man and and his deeds.
The Ophel Archeological Garden, revealing 2,500 years of Jerusalem's history in 25 layers of ruins, remnants of the structures of the cities successive rulers. This site is located below the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount.
To the right of the Western Wall Plaza are the archaeological excavations at the foot of the Temple Mount. You can visit on your own, or make arrangements for a guided tour in English if you call ahead.
Hours: Sun-Thu: 08:00-17:00 Fri: 08:00-14:00
Admission: 30 NIS adults; 16 NIS children/seniors/students
You can watch my high resolution photo of Jerusalem on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 31° 46' 30.09" N 35° 14' 9.40" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Ophel Archeological Garden.
The 19th-century Church of Mary Magdalene is a distinctive Jerusalem landmark on the Mount of Olives.
It was built by Tsar Alexander III in 1888 in the traditional Russian style. Easily spotted from the Temple Mount, the Russian church's seven golden domes have been newly gilded and sparkle in the sun. Combined with its multiple levels and sculpted white turrets, the church looks like something out of a fairytale.
It was constructed to David Grimm's design in the traditional tented roof style popular in 16th and 17th century Russia, and includes seven distinctive, gilded onion domes.
You can watch my high resolution photo of Jerusalem on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 31° 46' 44.50" N 35° 14' 26.35" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Church of Mary Magdalene.
The church is worth a close-up visit as well, for it stands in a tranquil garden and is filled with Orthodox icons and wall paintings inside.
The crypt holds the remains of Tsar Alexander's mother, the Grand Duchess Elizabeth, who was killed in the Russian revolution of 1917.
Also buried here is Princess Alice of Greece (Queen Elizabeth's mother-in-law), who harbored Jews during the Nazi occupation of Greece.
You can watch my 3 min 36 sec HD Video Jerusalem Gethsemane Church of Maria Magdalene out of my Youtube channel.
Tomb of Absalom is an ancient stone monument with a conical roof located in the Kidron Valley. Although traditionally ascribed to Absalom, the rebellious son of King David of Israel (circa 1000 B.C.E.), and recent scholarship has attributed it to the first century C.E.
Absalom's Pillar is approximately 14 meter in height. The lower half of the monument is a solid, monolithic block, about twenty feet square by twenty-one feet high, surrounded on three sides by passageways which separate it from the walls of the cliff of the Mount of Olives.
You can watch my high resolution photo of Jerusalem on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 31° 46' 37.51" N 35° 14' 20.06" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Tomb of Absalom.
This famous windmill is located in one of the most beautiful neiborhoods in Jerusalem and maybe in Israel, Yemin Mosh neighborhood. Just a bit of walk to cross the road from Jaffa Gate in the old city to this neighborhood.
The name of the neighborhood is after Sir Moses Montefiore. Its a small, charming
picturesque neighborhood (aprx 130 houses) facing the western side of the Old City, It was established outside the Old City walls in 1891.
I warmly recommend you to walk in this area and feel the place, its a real beautiful area... almost made me feel like moving to live there... yeah as if i could afford it... Tp my opinion its a must see as its another face of Jerusalem.
The Tomb of Zechariah is an ancient stone monument adjacent to the Bene Hazir tomb.
The monument is a monolith -- it is completely carved out of the solid rock and does not contain a burial chamber.
You can watch my 2 min 23 sec HD Video Jerusalem Tombs of Zecharia, Bene Hezir and Absalom out of my Youtube channel.
You can watch my high resolution photo of Jerusalem on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 31° 46' 36.69" N 35° 14' 19.75" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Tomb of Zechariah.