104 Photos - Feb 1, 2009
Photo: Photo: The Jaffa Gate into the Old City of JerusalemPhoto: One of the marketplace streets in the Old CityPhoto: The Western Wall, Judaism's holiest sitePhoto: This is a place of perpetual worship.  It is a part of the Temple Mount, built by Herod in 20 B.C.Photo: This is a place of pilgrimage for Jews where they lament the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. As result, over the centuries it became known as the Wailing Wall.Photo: At any one time, there are a few hundred persons here.Photo: Men and women each have their own portion of the Wall.Photo: The Wall Plaza functions as a large open-air synagogue.Photo: The remains of streets, columns and plazas immediately south of the Western Wall.Photo: Part of an arch which was once a portion of a a bridge connecting the Temple Mount and the commercial area.Photo: The Temple Mount is a large rectangular plaza. It is considered the site of Solomon's Temple. Later, it housed the Second Temple, enlarged by Herod and destroyed by the Romans.Photo: The El-Aqsa Mosque, originally built in the eighth century.Photo: The mosque is the main site of Islamic worship in Jerusalem and is very crowded on Fridays for noon prayer.Photo: The head garb colors distinguish the person's origin.  The black-and-white keffiyeh is associated with the Palestinians.Photo: The Dome of the Rock, a building that stands out all over Jerusalem.  It was built in the late 7th century AD. The rock inside is said to be the site where Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son, where Muhammad is said to have been carried one night from Mecca to this site in Jerusalem ascending to God and then returning to Mecca in the morning.  This is the third holiest site of Islam after Mecca and Medina.Photo: The El-Kas Fountain dating from 1320. Muslims wash here before entering the Mosque.Photo: The site is also considered to be that of the Holy of Holies of Herod's Temple.Photo: A view of a portion of the Temple MountPhoto: Looking towards the women's mosquePhoto: Looking towards the Mount of Olives. Here it is said that God will redeem the dead when the Messiah returns on the Day of Judgment. This is  a preferential place for Jewish burials and it is the world's oldest continually used cemetery. 150,000 persons are buried here.Photo: The Dominus Flevit 
Chapel on the Mount of Olives.  The Garden of Gethsemane is nearby.Photo: More views from the Temple MountPhoto: Church of St. Mary Magdalene.  The Russian Orthodox church at the Mount of Olives was built by Tsar Alexander III in honor of his mother, whose patron saint was Mary Magdalene.Photo: The octagonal arcade of the Dome of the Rock invites Christians to recognize the truth of Islam.Photo: Gate on the Temple MountPhoto: Small door at the gatePhoto: Another gate on the Temple MountPhoto: Photo: St. Anne's Church, built in the 12th century.  It is believed to be the spot where Anne and Joachim, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, lived.Photo: The interior of St. Anne's Church.  Over the years, the site has been controlled by both Christians and Muslims.Photo: A statue of Mary and her Mother, Anne.Photo: The church's altarPhoto: Christmas manger at the churchPhoto: The Pool of Bethesda site; at this site, Jesus cured a paralyzed man.Photo: Chapel of Flagellation, a 1920s chapel on the site where Jesus was scourged.Photo: It is also believed that at this site Jesus was tried before Pontius Pilate.Photo: The dome of the chapelPhoto: Photo: The Chapel of Condemnation; Pilate washes his hands of Jesus.Photo: The floor of the chapel showing typical features of Roman pavements.Photo: Walking on the Via Dolorosa, the path Jesus walked to crucifixion.Photo: The Ecce Homo Arch which spans the Via Dolorosa. Legend says that it was here that Pilate proclaimed "Behold the man!"Photo: Religious goods for sale along the Via DolorosaPhoto: A Polish chapel commemorating Jesus falling for the first timePhoto: Chapel for the fourth Station of the Cross--Jesus meets his Mother.Photo: The Armenian Church of our Lady of the Spasm at the fourth Station on the Via DolorosaPhoto: Pilgrims walk the Way of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa. This is the sixth Station-Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.Photo: The seventh Station-Jesus falls a second time.Photo: The eighth Station-Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem.Photo: Pilgrims carry the cross.Photo: Many street vendors in the narrow streets of old Jerusalem sell this type of cake--sort of a bitter, brittle-type cake.  One could develop a taste for it, especially with a good cup of coffee.Photo: One of the market streets of the old city--we spent a lot of time wandering through these bazaars--virtually anything can be purchased.Photo: The last five Stations are at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  In addition to the Stations, the church contains the site of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection.  It is the most holy church in Christendom and jointly administered by several Christian religions.Photo: A monk at the churchPhoto: Photo: The dome of the churchPhoto: The church contains many side altars and chapels.Photo: The Edicule or little house over the tomb of Jesus.  There is almost always a long line here to enter the structure.  This is considered the most holy site in Christendom.Photo: The Stone of Unction--this is where Christ's body was anointed and wrapped for burial after death.Photo: Another view of the EdiculePhoto: Pilgrims have etched crosses in the walls over the years.Photo: Constantine built the first church here in the 4th century at the urging of his mother.Photo: It was destroyed by the Muslims in 1009 but rebuilt around 1040 A.D.Photo: The Crusaders enlarged the church considerably in the 12th century.  It experienced a huge fire in 1808 and an earthquake in 1927, both of which caused extensive damage.Photo: Up steps from the main floor is the Greek Orthodox church on the site of Golgotha where Jesus was crucified.Photo: Like all Orthodox churches, it is very ornate in comparison to other Christian religions.Photo: Pilgrims kneel under the altar to kiss the spot of Jesus' death.Photo: Monks continually monitor the site and keep the long tourist lines moving.Photo: Another view of the Stone of UnctionPhoto: An outside entrance to the church.  We visited here three times while in Jerusalem.Photo: Frankincense and myrrh in the marketplacePhoto: Photo: After leaving the marketplace, we headed towards an archeological museum that showed some of the excavations that have been done in the Temple Mount area.Photo: The remains of streets, houses and plazas are displayed here.Photo: From the museum, we headed towards the Western Wall where near the entrance stood this  solid gold menorah, a replica of one from the ancient Temple.Photo: Approaching the Western WallPhoto: This time we actually visited the Wall.  Security here was extremely tight to enter the wall area.Photo: For many Jews (and others also), this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to visit this holy place.Photo: A boy was making his Bar Mitzvah on this day.Photo: Others pray, some in trance-like conditions.Photo: Pilgrims for centuries have inserted their prayers in the wall.  Many famous persons including popes have done this.Photo: Photo: This Jewish worshiper rocked back and forth while praying; later, the guide said he did that to improve his concentration while praying.  The guide said he had tried it too and it seemed to work.Photo: Photo: The ladies area of the Western Wall.Photo: Returning from the Western WallPhoto: Next we visited the Western Wall tunnels, a 1,500 foot tunnel on the northern extension of the wall.  Archeologists here have tunneled to the original street level in Jerusalem.Photo: This tour is very popular and has to be reserved weeks in advance.Photo: The tour is not for the claustrophobic. While in there, a bit of small rubble from excavations above came down on us.  Given the history of earthquakes in the area, one wondered at that point...Photo: Some foundation stones on the wall are enormous--one weighs 570 tons.Photo: The tunnel emerges back on the Via Dolorosa.Photo: Once back in the bazaar area, we noticed this unusual restaurant venue.Photo: Heading towards the Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion.Photo: All Christian churches still had Christmas decorations displayed (January 5).Photo: At this site, the Virgin Mary is said to have died or fallen into an eternal sleep before being called to Heaven.  The church has been heavily damaged in years past in Israeli-Arab conflicts.Photo: A mosaic of Mary and JesusPhoto: Christmas creche at the churchPhoto: The exterior of the Dormition AbbeyPhoto: The Room of the Last Supper.  The site is also considered the spot where the apostles received the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.  The room has been destroyed several times in the area's conflicts; this room dates from the time of the CrusadersPhoto: Pope John Paul II visited this room in 2000.Photo: The Tomb of King DavidPhoto: There is controversy about whether King David is actually buried here but this site has acquired special reverence notably during 1948-1967 when Jordanians controlled access to the Western Wall and Jewish pilgrims came here instead.Photo: Leaving the walls of old Jerusalem after a very busy day.