Posted by: griswoldfun | April 13, 2012

Israel: Day 9

Day 9 (March 16th): Our first stop was the Jerusalem Archaeological Park.    The Park is all around the “recent” Temple Mount discoveries including the South and West Walls. We walked under the Robinson Arch which would be the remains of King’s entrance…

And then we walked up the steps on the South entrance which are the same steps Jesus would have used.  Our guide had us take off our sunglasses to go up the steps as they were a blinding white and were designed to draw a “reverence” from those climbing them to the Temple.

We spent some time in awe of the stones used to construct the wall.  I begged Mr. G to be my model for size comparisons:

Next, we went to the Wailing Wall or Western Wall which is the most holy place accessible to the Jewish people because of Muslim control of the Temple Mount.  It was built by Herod the Great as a retaining wall of the Temple Mount complex.  This is a close up of the wall…

The plaza (behind us) was created as an area for prayer when Israel captured the Old City in 1967.

It is called the Wailing Wall because Jews would come here to weep over the loss of the Temple, yet now there are tears of joy because of the Jewish return to the land.  The area is separated with men on the left and women on the right. And most of the women in our group did put a prayer in the wall.

We then picked up Via Dolorosa at Station #3 and finished it.  The Via Dolorosa is the route that Jesus took between his condemnation by Pilate and his crucifixion and burial.  The route is marked by 14 “stations” which represent different events on the Via Dolorosa.  Most of the stations have a church or something else built on it.  This is the mark for Station 5:

Station 5 was “Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry His cross” and was marked by this building:

The Via Dolorosa was interesting and the one tourist attraction that I knew of before going to Jerusalem. But the Via Dolorosa was extremely crowded with other tour groups, locals, and pickpockets – so we did not get to take out time and ponder all of the stations and that surprised me. Here is a shot of the street  – narrow and uneven (made of stone) and at this point there were several steps.  Loved the guy carrying the bread!

Our next stop was the Tower of David Museum which is housed in an old Citadel that was built by Herod the Great.

The museum traced Jerusalem history from David’s time to 1948 and also had amazing views from the top of the Citadel towers.

After lunch we  went to Church of the Holy Sepulcher which was built by Emperor Constantine’s mother in 330 AD.  The church stands on the site that many believe is the site of Golgotha (Calvary) and the tomb (sepulcher) where Christ was buried.

The “traditional” tomb:

The church has been a pilgrimage site since 4th century and there are hundreds of crosses carved into the rocks by Russian pilgrims.

Archaeological excavations have proved that this site is outside the city, but close to one of the gates which would have made it a good site for the crucifixion.  Today the church controlled by Greek Orthodox Church which makes for some “ornate” decorations.

We ended the day at Golgotha & the Garden Tomb  which is another traditional site for Calgary and Christs burial (most often believed site by the Protestants).  Golgotha was found in 1883 and looks like a skull as mentioned in the Bible (John 19:17, 41).  Our guide told us that when discovered, it appeared the skull had a mouth, but the mouth has now been covered by a bus barn. And on top of the skull? A Muslim cemetery (push back from your computer screen to see the skull more clearly).

Nearby the Garden Tomb was discovered in 1867 and a short time later was identified as the burial-place of Jesus because of its location to the area that was identified as Calvary.

Regardless of which site you claim as Calgary and Christ’s burial, remember that He’s not buried anywhere on this earth!

We ended our day with communion in the Garden celebrating Christ’s resurrection

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.  1 Peter 3:18


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