109 Photos - Oct 14, 2013
Photo: Dome of the Rock, the third-holiest site in Islam. Located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.Photo: Entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, venerated by many Christian churches to be the place of Christ's burialPhoto: Ceiling view in the Augusta Victoria Basilica / Hospital, located on the Mount of OlivesPhoto: Bethlehem overlook. If you look closely, you can see a flat-topped mountain way in the distance above some of the students. That's the Herodian, a man-made mountain palace and burial place of Herod the Great.Photo: Tell Beer-Sheva, where Abraham dug a well upon arriving in CanaanPhoto: Tell Jericho. The oldest structure known to man, the Neolithic Tower, is just behind me in a pit.Photo: Judaean wilderness overlook. This is the area where Jesus went to fast for 40 days. There is nothing to eat our here but stones!Notice a monastery built into the wall below to commemorate the event.Photo: The Ethiopian Church, located in central Jerusalem. Notice that there is a basilica inside the church (between the two pink pillars). It's a church inside a church!Church-ception.Photo: Zedekiah's cave, a 235-meter (770 ft) long quarry below the Old City. This is speculated that this is where they got the rock to build Solomon's TempleThe Free Masons used to hold their ceremonies in this room.Photo: Far back of Zedekiah's Cave. Notice how many times Stephanie appears =DPhoto: Rooftops of the Old City. You can see the Dome of the Rock between some of the buildingsPhoto: View from the top of a tell overlooking the Valley of Elah, where David slew Goliath. We went down there later that day and shot rocks out with slings!Photo: Columbarium - Pigeons were raised here for meat and dung.Yummy.1,900 pigeon holes are here.Photo: The Bell Caves, probably named because of their Bell shape. We sang hymns in here for a good half-hour. The acoustics are great!This may look familiar to you if you've ever watched Rocky III :)Photo: Jerusalem Overlook from the seventh floor of the BYU Jerusalem CenterPhoto: Central courtyard between the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Both of these are massive, beautiful pieces of architecture. They are truly a sight to see, and even the photosphere doesn't do them justice.Photo: Front entry to the Hagia Sophia museum. This was the world's largest church for almost 1000 years!Photo: Inside the Hagia Sophia. This thing is huge! Look for the giant black circles with Arabic script written on them. Hands down, Arabic has the best-looking calligraphy out there.Photo: Courtyard view of the Turkey Archeological Museum. Each of these buildings is a separate museum.Photo: Istanbul overlook from our hotel rooftop. See how many mosques you can pick out in the distance! (Hint: it's a round building with two towers called Minarets)Photo: Courtyard of the Blue Mosque. It's huge, and we haven't even entered the building yet!Photo: Inside the Blue Mosque. Muslims know how to do carpet really, really well. It's clean, soft and beautiful. They also know how to build huge buildings with beautiful domes.Photo: Just another great view next to the Hagia Sophia, and at the entrance to the Istanbul Archeological MuseumPhoto: Basilica Cistern: The largest cistern in the world! This holds 1.23859540 bajillion Swedish liter-gallons of water on a cold day.This cistern is used a lot in pop culture, such as Dan Brown's book "Inferno" and a bunch of other movies I can't remember.Photo: Just one of a bazillion views from within the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul. Notice the tear in the space-time continuum. I was pretty proud of that.Photo: Aegean Sea overlook from a graveyard at Gallipoli, a major WWI battle sitePhoto: Assos: city on a high hill. From this point we could see the Greek island of Lesbos. Yes, that Lesbos.Photo: Assos: one of the seven churches spoken of in Revelation. Paul also preached here. Aristotle also... philosophized herePhoto: (1 of 3) Top of the Acropolis at Pergamon. Check out the Temple of Athena, the theater and the valley belowPhoto: (2 of 3) Top of the Acropolis at Pergamon. Check out the Temple of Athena up closePhoto: (3 of 3) Top of the Acropolis at Pergamon. Check out the Temple of Athena, the theater and the valley below.Also notice my roommate AJ and his twin AJ. What great guys!Photo: Pergamon view from the theater overlooking the valleyPhoto: St. John's Cathedral, near Ephesus. Notice how I'm standing on top of a theater. Also notice the castle on top of the hill. Also also notice friends!Photo: The temple of Julius Caesar in EphesusPhoto: Main street in Ephesus - The tall building across the street is... you know, I actually have no idea. But it looks cool, right? Notice Nick Wallace in there twice. What talent!Photo: Courtyard of the Library of Ephesus.Photo: Library of Ephesus entrance up-close. Unfortunately, this library is all out of books :'(Photo: This is THE theater where Paul's companions were dragged to in Acts 19:23-41. Imagine being a missionary standing in the center of this massive stage for two hours while thousands of people shout, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" to your face.Photo: Walltop overlook of Miletus, one of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation.Photo: Sardis: one of the seven churches mentioned in the book of Revelation. Notice I'm standing on a wall separating the synagogue (tile floor) from the Greek gymnasium (tall building). Recall that Greeks play their sports naked. Imagine the tension between Jews and Greeks as only a wall separated two drematically different sets of moralsPhoto: Some awesome temple with really, really thick pillars near Sardis. It would take 4 or 5 people holding hands to wrap their hands around a pillar. Watch how many times our friends appear :)Photo: Ulu Cami ("Grand Mosque") - the largest mosque in... Bursa! Mostly it's just really beautiful with a great fountain in the middle for washing and tons of calligraphy on the walls, so I had to get a view of the inside.Photo: The formulation of the Nicene Creed started here in 325 AD. This is the Nicea overlook of Lake Iznik. Emperor Constantine's palace used to be where the water now is, but it was destroyed, and then the water level rose up. Nothing is left of it today.Photo: One of many Mosaic half-domes inside of Dormition Abbey.Photo: Temple Mount overlook. You can see the Western Wall straight ahead, and the Dome of the Rock off to the left. You get up onto the mount by going up that ramp on the right, which is heavily guarded by armed guards.Photo: Mount Nebo, where Moses looked into the Promised Land, but never went. On a clear day, you can see clear to the Mount of Olives, and even the Mediterranean Sea, as Moses did that day. Notice the Brazen Serpent memorial up on the wallPhoto: A "landmark" Mosaic map of the Near-East. Jerusalem, pictured much larger than others and at the center, seems to be at the center. This is located in a chapel in Madaba, near Mount Nebo. This was originally 45x15 ft. That's huge.Photo: Machaerus. A mountain-top palace where John the Baptist was probably beheaded. You can see a reflection of the dead sea under the sun.Photo: (Petra 1 of 6) The Monastery of Petra. This isn't the building you see in Indiana Jones. It's bigger and cooler and harder to get to. But seriously, this thing is huge! Look at how tall the people inside are.Photo: (Petra 2 of 6) "The View" - one of at least three places labeled "Best View" near the Petra Monastery. You get the canyons behind, and the monastery in front.Photo: (Petra 3 of 6) Top of the tomb complex. There are many tombs here that look much like what you saw in Indiana JonesPhoto: (Petra 4 of 6) Inside of the tomb from the previous picturePhoto: (Petra 5 of 6) This sphere didn't quite get finished, but you can see the entire tomb complex section of Petra along the canyon wall below and to the rightPhoto: (Petra 6 of 6) "The High Place" - An altar of sacrifice at the top of some mountain in Petra. It took 837 stairs to get up there.Photo: The Citadel in Amman, the capitol of Jordan. There used to be a 40-foot statue of Hercules here.Photo: (Jerash 1 of 4) Jerash! Awesome ancient city. Notice the Theater (with bagpiping Arabs), the colonnaded courtyard from Hercules, and some other ruins you'll see in a secondPhoto: (Jerash 2 of 4) The Hercules Courtyard! Think of the scene at the beginning of the movie when he destroys everything. This is it!Photo: (Jerash 3 of 4) View in front of a huge public fountain (the building) along the colonnaded walk in Jerash: the-city-of-cool-things-you-never-knew-existedPhoto: (Jerash 4 of 4) Jerashian temple of Artemis. It has big pillars that sometimes sway in the wind.Photo: Theater and stuff in Amman. There's a mini-theater off to the side! And you can see the Citadel at the top of the hill.Photo: Bethany beyond Jordan - Jesus was baptized in this river. You can still see people dressed in white getting baptized in the distance.Photo: Top of the tower at the King David Citadel Museum, at the west edge of the old city. Look for te Dome of the Rock (gold), the church of the Holy Sepulchre (grey dome), the BYU Jerusalem Center (right of a pointy tower), and the Israel flag flowing in the wind!Photo: Inner courtyard of the Herodian: The alleged burial place of Herod the Great. This was a palace built on the top of a mountain that was artificially raised up even higher than its natural height. It also has lots of tunnels underneath!Photo: A classic shepherd's field in Bethlehem. It is still used for this today! We saw one herd of sheep grazing at the bottom, and another herd following their shepherd along the top ridge. Imagine sitting here at night when an angel appears to announce the birth of Jesus Christ. Much like the angels, we sat on these ridges and sang praises to our Lord and King.Photo: Separation Wall between East Jerusalem, Israel and the west Bank. It was constructed between after the 2000 intifada to stop suicide bombers from coming into Jerusalem. The cars on the right are on the ancient road to Jericho, which is now obviously cut off by the wall.Photo: Russian Orthodox Basilica dedicated to the Ascension of Jesus, located on the Mount of OlivesPhoto: Looking over the fence into the Garden of GethsemanePhoto: Golden Gate Overlook. This gate used to lead up to the temple. It is now filled in. Also look for the Muslim Cemetery (all around), the Jewish Cemetery (other side of the valley), The Garden and church of Gethsemane (other side of the valley: the triangle-roofed building with garden to its left), and the BYU Jerusalem Center (really small in the distance).Photo: Terra Sancta: A franciscan church which would house pilgrims in Jerusalem. Orson Hyde stayed here when he came to dedicate the holy landPhoto: Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. That big building in the center of the room is venerated as Christ's burial placePhoto: Old City overlook from the Evangelical Church. You can see the Church of the Holy Sepulchre with its gray domes on the right.Photo: The British WWI CemeteryPhoto: Bet She'an - King saul's body was hung on the walls of this city after he died.Photo: Annunciation church of Nazareth - Dedicated to the angel's annunciation of the birth of Jesus to the virgin Mary. Throughout the church and its grounds are pieces of art commemorating this event from almost every country in the world.Photo: Mount Arbel - This is one of the high points that look over Galilee. Christ may have ordained his twelve apostles here (Mark 3:13-14)Photo: Capernaum (1 of 2) - located on the north end of Galilee. One of the earliest Christian church's remains are under the building on the far side. It may have been Peter's home, where worship was conducted before churches came about.Photo: Capernaum (2 of 2) - inside the ruins of an old churchPhoto: Gamla - A city near Galilee named because the mount it is built upon looks like a camel's back. According to Josephus, 9000 Jews faced their death here at the hands of the Romans or by running off the mountain's slopes during the Jewish revolt in 66-70 AD/CEPhoto: Some cool waterfall on a random hike we did near Galilee. The water was freezing cold!Photo: View of Galilee from the balcony of the LDS Tiberias branch building.Photo: The banks of the Jordan river - there are fenced areas where people can get in and be baptized among the fish. Notice them gathering around the feet of the guy sitting on the stairs.Photo: On the Galilean beach at Ein Gev Kibbutz, where we stayed for 10 days.Photo: The Jezreel valley, right next to Mount Megiddo. Christian lore dictates that the battle of Armageddon will happen here. There is some debate as to whether or not this is a literal battle, or if it refers more to the cosmic battle of good and evil.Photo: Megiddo (1 of 2) - The mount overlooking the Jezreel valley. This tell contains the ruins of 25 cities which have been conquered, destroyed and rebuilt 25 times.Photo: Megiddo (2 of 2) - The ancient world knew this as a place of constant, devastating war, which is why it is used to describe the final battle of Armageddon (Har Megiddo). There is some debate on whether or not there is a literal battle here or if it is simply figurative of the cosmic battle between good and evil.Photo: Har Bental - A mountain looking down across the Syrian border. In the distance you can see Mount Hermon, one of the possible locations of the Mount of TransfigurationPhoto: Nimrod Castle - An Islamic castle from 1100 ADPhoto: Banias (Caesarea Phillipi) - Phillip's city to Caesar. Here Christ asked his disciples, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" Peter replied, "Thou art the Christ." (Matthew 16:13-17)Photo: Tell Dan, the northernmost borders of ancient and modern Israel. Many passages in the Bible mention the entirety of its borders by saying "From Dan to Beer-Sheba" (1 Samuel 3:20, 1 Kings 4:25). Jeroboam, the first king of the North, built an altar here so that the Northern kingdom wouldn't have to go south to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices.Photo: The shores of Akko, an ancient seaport city with lots of underground castle stuff.Photo: Mount Carmel - Another possible site of the Mount of Transfiguration. I couldn't help but sing the Misty Mountains song from The Hobbit.Photo: Haifa - A really, really beautiful seaside city in Israel. The Bahai gardens and temple are just below.Photo: Caesarea (1 of 2) - The Aqueduct at CaesareaPhoto: Caesarea (2 of 2) - The city that Herod the Great build to Caesar. He created an artificial port using a concrete he developed to harden underwater. Notice the pool carved out down below.Photo: Qumran (1 of 2) - The Dead Sea Scrolls were found here. These ruins are from the Essene community, which wrote and stored the scrolls in the Qumran cavesPhoto: Qumran (2 of 2) - The Dead Sea Scrolls were found here. You can see Caves 4 and 5 just across the ravine, and to their left is the canyon which was dammed up to hold water for the Essenian community.Photo: Masada (1 of 5) - This mountaintop city is where the Jewish Zealots made their last stand during their 70 AD revolt, and committed mass suicide when the Romans breached their fortress. Look down to see the Roman Seige ramp which breached the wall.Photo: Masada (2 of 5) - This gives you an idea of just how high up Masada is.Photo: Masada (3 of 5) - Center of Masada - Ruins of the civilization of Masada all around.Photo: Masada (4 of 5) - Herod built a three-tier palace on the north end of Masada. This is a view from the bottom tier, which was used for banquets. Look for the dead sea in the distance, and the two upper levels of the palace.Photo: Masada (5 of 5) - View from the Eastern end of Masada. Look for the remains of the Roman wall that was built around the mountain during the seige.Photo: Ein Gedi - David hid here when Saul was trying to kill him. There's a nice waterfall, and everything is more green than what we usually see.Photo: Porch overlooking the Kidron valley (left) and the Hinnom valley (right), also known as Biblical Hell.Photo: Luke 19:41-44 - "And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it"

This is the temple overlook from Dominus Flevit, a church shaped like a teardrop inside to dedicate the weeping of Jesus.Photo: A truly rare sight - the Western Wall Courtyard when it's virtually empty thanks to the big Middle East snowstorm of 2013!Photo: Modern-day Damascus gate - if you look under the bridge to the gate, you can see archaeological remains of the ancient Damascus gate below.

This is the gate the students at the center usually take to get into the old city.Photo: The Garden Tomb (1 of 2) with a rare sight - snow!Photo: The Garden Tomb (2 of 2) with a rare sight - snow!Photo: One last view on the Temple Mount between the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque