On the second full day of my pilgrimage through the Holy Land I basically visited sites of the Old Testament. I hope you will follow me throughout my world trip by LIKEING svGuidingLight and sharing these blogs to anyone you think would be interested in learning more about Israel.
As I wandered within the city walls of Jerusalem I enviably ended up at the Western Wall (also known as the Wailing Wall). Before we get into my experience here let me paint a picture of the area. You see on the northeast part of the walled city there is a rectangle area of 37 acres that sits 5-7 stories above the rest of the city. This is the Temple Mount and was the home of the Temple housing the Ark of the Covenant. The temple was destroyed in 70AD by the Romans, but the huge flat area remained. The Western Wall is the western retaining wall of this raised platform and is the closest you can get to the formal temple without ascending the Temple Mount. For this reason, this is considered the holiest site for Jews and they come here to pray and slip notes into the crevices for God to read. Since this is such a sacred site I was curious but did not want to show any disrespect and was hesitant at first. I was put at easy by several Rabbis and told the wall is for all to approach. They welcomed me to pray, ask questions, and feel free to take photos. The only request they made was that I don a kippah on my head and offered me one as a souvenir.
Now it was time for me to accent the Temple Mount where the Dome of the Rock was built in 691 on the exact spot of the formal Jewish temple. This is considered the 3rd holiest spot in the Muslim religion because Muhammad ascended to heaven here. In order to ascend the Temple Mount you have to go through heavy security (which they confiscated the kippah gift I had just been given). Once up on the top you can walk around and take pictures of the Dome of the Rock
exterior, but non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the building or even pray anywhere on the Temple Mount. I did find it curious that the holiest sites for Christianity and Judaism invited all to enter and observe while the Muslims did not make me feel very welcome at their site. I do not say this as a type of commentary on the different religions, but merely as an observation.
My next stop was very cool from an
archeological view point, because I visit the City of David where they have found the remains of the city King David conquered 3000 years ago and the beginnings of Jerusalem. My favorite part of this site was the nearby spring which the city was built next to and the walls built to protect it. You can even walk through one of two tunnels dug to direct the flow of water. The first one is the original water route, but is now dry and there are lights leading the way. The “wet” tunnel was built latter as a way to protect the water even more. This is the much more
fun way to go. Make sure you bring clothes and shoes you do not mind getting wet and a flashlight. The water will end up coming to around your mid-thigh. Once down to the bottom you can walk all the way up to the city walls via an underground tunnel that use to be a wide street used by pilgrims.
The last two sites I visited today were right next to each other. The first was a simple yet elegant tomb for King David. You are welcome here, but remember this is a very moving place for Jews and they may be praying to the king. The second spot was the Upper Room where Jesus had his Last Supper. This is one of the most disappointing places I went in Israel, because not only
had this area been destroyed in the first century but it has been rebuilt as a church during the Crusades. The room might be in the same spot as his breaking of bread, but not only was it not the same room….it did not even look like a room. Instead it looked like the chapel it was. I don’t mean any disrespect. I was just expecting to see a table, chairs, and a location I could imagine Jesus would have spent his last day with friends. That is all.
Come back on Thursday and I will take you through the contested West Bank to see the birth of Jesus and his baptism, plus a site I did not even know about.
#photooftheday #hiking #travel #adventure #photo #tripofalife #vacationofalifetime #worldtrip #journey #solotravel #roundtheworld #memories #explore #amazingview #middleeast #mustsee #israel #pilgrimage #inspiringothers #lovetotravel #biblical #jerusalem #westernwall #templemount #domeoftherock #cityofdavid #davidstomb #upperroom #lastsupper #holyland