|We've spent 2 days in Jerusalem and have pretty much done all we can in that short time. Our hotel is just outside the Damascus gate, and while we're here, there has been 2 stabbing instances at 2 other gates. Just a volatile area! And our hotel internet is impossibly slow!
Thursday, the 10th- started on Mt. Zion and the city of David, just outside the walls. Went to the traditional site of the "Upper Room", celebrating both the last supper and Pentecost. Kind stark rooms, built many years later after the many destructions of Jerusalem over the years.
Then to Dormition Abbey, one of the places were Mary supposedly was taken to heaven when here time on earth was over. Our guide and priest spent some time going over the religious stories from the various churches that piece together the story of Mary after the crucifixion, and it's fairly complex.
We visit other traditional sites like Tomb of David, before we entered the Old City.
Entered the Old City thru the Zion Gate and made our way thru the Jewish Quarter to the Western Wall. On the way, stopped by the Synagogue and a medieval German church ruin, and the gold menorah from 1900 years ago.
Spent 40 minutes at the Western Wall; Deb placed her paper full of prayers in a crack and we watched for awhile several Bar Mitzvahs. The wall is the only ruin left after the Romans destroyed the city in 70 ad. And it's the closest to the Holy of Holies which lies in the Muslem Quarter. We spent quite a bit of time learning the political and religious history which has made this probably the most contested area in the world. Very fascinating.
We we're very fortunate that we were here on one of the few days-and hours-that Christians could go on the Temple Mount. The Mount is the gold dome always seen in pictures that covers the rock that Abraham was to sacrifice his son, as well as the same rock Mohamud ascended it on heaven from. We are not allowed in that temple, but were able to walk the grounds for 30 minutes. A rare privilege for us.
Just down from the Temple,still in the Muslem Quarter, is the Church of St. Anne, mother of Mary. There's a grotto in the church that Mary was born and outside are the baths of Bethesda where Jesus cured a man after 38 years of illness. All in all, a pretty religious walk.
We had mass in the evening at the Fransican Convent across the street from the hotel, it was all in French.
It might not seem like much, but this was a full day of walking and a lot of stops to learn and to point out various places events happened over the years.