Pilgrimage to Israel (2007)- Album

Jaffa - part 1

Jaffa - part 2

Marker on street - to Jerusalem & Egypt -- Beth Eshel St. - way out to Jerusalem; Yefet St. - Gaza Road to Egypt. Marker is located at Clock Tower Square.

Marker on Clock Tower Square.

Shopping Mall

City Center - City Hall. Located across from Yizhak Rabin Square.

Modern shopping mall (at night)

Shopping along Ha Carmel Street

Shops close and garbage accumulates.

Trip to Dead Sea via Jerusalem -- Jerusalem is seen in the background.

Great highway system

Driving near Jerusalem

Driving through outskirts of Jerusalem

View of Jerusalem

Leaving Jerusalem

View of Old City

View of Old City and Dome of the Rock

View of Dome of the Rock

Outskirts of the city

Agricultural activity near Dead Sea

Marker: -300 meters below sea level

Dead Sea comes into view

Following an Israeli jeep

Dead Sea Qumran caves (background). Scrolls were discovered in 1947. The remains of an Essene monastery (1st century BCE) were unearthed.

Ein Feshka (Fashka). An oasis and former Essene settlement (1st century BCE). Featured in my book - - http://www.wigowsky.com

Entrance to Ein Feshka area

SPNI - Society for Protection of Nature. Ein Gedi Field School in the Judean Desert. Established in 1959.

About the Ein Gedi Field School. "The walls of the classrooms are canyons and cliffs; the ceiling - the skies of all seasons; the floor - sand and stones, trails or springs. The aim is to study nature directly within nature itself, by leafing through the scenery instead of through books."

Ibex at the Ein Gedi Field School

Nahal David - Waterfall & Wadi (valley)

Ein Gedi Field School, an oasis

Ein Gedi Oasis, Map

Sign points toward Masada. Masada was King Herod's mountain-top fortress, overlooking the Dead Sea.

View of Masada, mountain-top fortress. About 440 meters (1,300 feet) above the banks of the Dead Sea.

Small model of Masada -- at the visitor's center

Mural of Masada -- at the visitor's center

At the beginning of the Snake Path -- The trail to the top takes about 45 minutes to walk. The trail takes the name of "Snake Path" from the writings of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus.

I get ready to take the trail ("Snake Path") up to Masada.

Guide Charlie wishes me a healthy walk. Charlie's web site

Cable Car takes visitors to the top

View half-way up the Snake Path

On top of Masada, archaeological site. Masada was the last stronghold of the Jews in their fight against the Roman Empire. The defenders held out three years before the last 960 survivors committed mass suicide, prefering death to captivity.

Model of Masada at the site. Impressive remains of the walls of the fortress, Herodian palaces, water cisterns, towers, dwelling places, and synagogues and churches.

Looking east over Masada ruins. Storerooms complex. Josephus writes: "For here had been stores a mass of corn, amply sufficient to last for years, abundance of wine and oil, besides every variety of pulse and piles of dates." (Josephus Flavius, The Wars of the Jews, VII, 296)

Tower, overlooking the plateau. In Herod's day, the tower served as a guards' lookout.

Plateau of Masada, in Judean Desert. The plateau, 450 meters above the level of the Dead Sea, is approximately 650 meters long and 300 meters wide. Masada's remote location and its natural defenses were the advantages that transformed it into a fortress during the Second Temple Period (1st century CE).

Commandant's quarters (facing west). The Great Revolt broke out in 66 CE. Masada was taken by the rebel Sicarii, who were headed by Menahem, son of Judah the Galilean, who was murdered in Jerusalem in 66 CE. After the murder, Eleazar Ben Yair fled from Jerusalem to Masada and became commander of the rebel community (which apparently included Essenes and Samaritans).

Masada's well-preserved Bathhouse

Various rooms of the Bathhouse

The upper floor stood on brick and stone columns. Hot air flowed under the floor and rose through clay pipes embedded in the walls.

Charlie explains the cold & hot room use. The cold room (fridgedarium) had a stepped pool. The tepid room (tepidarium) had heated water channeled to it.

Model of Palace of King Herod. The large Northern Palace complex was Herod's private residence. It was built on three levels; the middle terrace had a circular hall used for entertaining, the lower had a bathhouse.

View of Circular (middle) terrace. In the center of the middle level of the palace was a circular hall for banquets and receptions, surrounded by columns of which only the foundations remain.

View from the top of Masada. -- looking toward the Dead Sea and Ein Gedi.

Synagogue, enter from east, face west. Facing west means one is facing in the direction of Jerusalem.

Sign describing the Synagogue. Two pits dug in the floor of the back room were found to contain biblical scrolls. Among the scroll fragments discovered was Ezekiel's vision of the valley of the dry bones. This is one of the only synagogues dating from the time of the Second Temple, which was destroyed in 70 CE.

The "Casement of the Scrolls" (sign) Outstanding among the finds south of the synagogue was a large number of parchment and papyrus fragments. Rolling stones and hundreds of ballista balls were also discovered in the room.

Columbarium Towers. The square towers in which pigeons were raised were also used as lookout and guard towers.

The Roman ramp - western entrance. In 73 or 74 CE, the Roman Tenth Legion, led by Flavius Silva, laid siege to Masada. Eight camps were built around the base, and a ramp was constructed to finally enter the walls of the fortress.

Steps down the Snake Path.

Plastered channel for water (to cistern) The Water Cisterns were large storage tanks. Water was collected from the nearby Wadi Masada (during rainy season).

MINERAL - a place to bathe in Dead Sea. The Dead Sea (which is actually a lake) is 76 km (47 miles) from north to south and less than 16 km (10 miles) across. At 411 m (1,348 ft) below sea level, it is also the lowest point on earth.

Mineral, a small resort north of Ein Gedi. The water is so mineral-laden that it is around 26% solid.

Joining the crowd of bathers. The therapeutic qualities of the water and its mud have been praised since ancient times.

Floating in the Dead Sea. It's almost impossible to drown, and floating in the water is effortless.

Covered with black mud, "for my health." The black mud is supposed to draw out all the impurities within the skin.

Swimming in the Sulphur pool.

Sign at entrance to Sulphur Pool. The water in the pool originates from natural thermal underground springs found 400 meters from Mineral Beach. The water is 39 degrees Celsius.

Elvis American Diner near Tel Aviv. Charlie takes us to a favorite hang-out of locals and tourists alike.

Inside the Elvis American Diner. Elvis is alive and well in Israel.

Elvis music is everywhere in the diner.

A new day over Tel Aviv. View from Sheraton Moriah hotel. Mediterranean Sea is the western border of Israel.

Drive through Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv University. Matatia Gate.

Map of Tel Aviv University

Beth Hatefutsoth, Jewish Diaspora museum. History of Jewish people in modern times (within complex of university). Note: there was an ongoing teacher's strike, thus there were no students. The strike was about salary and class size.

Beth Hatefutsoth, Jewish Diaspora museum

Inside the museum. After the destruction of the first temple (589 BCE), exile in Babylon; after destruction of the second temple (70 CE), diaspora (dispersal) throughout the world.

Relief of Romans plundering the temple. Relief shows Romans carrying the ark of the covenant and the menorah away from the temple to Rome. Orthodox Jews believe the treasures are still under the Temple Mount.

Relief of Temple treasures carried away. A similar relief is set in stone in Rome on the Arch of Titus.

Book containing Pentateuch portion. Pentateuch portion "Shelah lekha" (Numbers 13-15), manuscript from Egypt, 1106 CE

Mohel (Circumcision) book. Illuminated manuscript from Hamburg, Germany. 1178 CE

Model of Passover (Pesach) Seder. Jewish way of life: "A tree may be alone in the field, a man alone in the world, but no Jew is alone on his holy days." Abba Kovner

Wedding Ceremony. From "Arba'a Turim" manuscript, Mantua, 15th century.

Minyan - a congregation of 10. A praying congregation cannot number less than ten ("a minyan")

Model of Great Synagogue, Aleppo, Syria. The Great Synagogue housed the ancient bible manuscript, the Aleppo Codex. [Note: After destruction of the Second Temple, the synagogue represented Jewish continuity.]

Danan Synagogue in Fez, Morocco. Built in mid-17th century.

Mural of Synagogue of Dura-Europos. On Euphrates River in Syria.

Great Tlomackie St. Synagogue, Poland Warsaw, Poland

Tempio Israelitico in Florency, Italy Built in 1882

Replica of ceiling of synagogue, Poland. The ceiling has figures of the zodiac on it.

One Culture - Many Facets (famous people) - Exhibit

Mural of Jews in Alexandria, Egypt

Roman milesone, found near Cyrene. Mentions destruction of highways during Jewish Revolt.

Exilarch in Royal Splendor. King Chosroes I of Persia (531-559 CE)

Ecclesia and Synagoga (symbolic figures). Jewish figure is a crownless, blindfolded queen. Christian figure is the crowned figure of the Church. ["Can He be God if he can only be worshipped in one way?" - Seer of Lublin, Rabbi Yitzhak Yaakov]

Menorah - cut out in wall. "To remember the past, to live the present, to trust the future." Abba Kovner

Driving north from Tel Aviv to Caesarea. On Highway 2. Industrial area.

Caesarea National Park

Moat around the wall (Crusader era)

Moat around the wall (Crusader era)

Inside Watchtower (Crusader era)

Crusader Fortifications, Caesarea (sign) The fortifications visible today were built anew by Louis IX, King of France, who came on a crusade to the Holy Land in the middle of the 1200's.

Harbor (map) - archaeological sites. Map shows ancient sites of the the Temple plateau, the Wall and moat, the Harbor, the Hippodrome, the Theater, and other sites.

Walking through the ancient ruins

Remains of Roman era

Ruins from Roman period: 37BCE - 324 BCE

Visitor's center. Crusader Period: 1099-1291 CE

Paul at Caesarea. Paul the Apostle was imprisoned in Caesarea (Acts 23:33-35).

A large artificial harbor ("Sebastos") was built here during the time of Herod. Most of the harbor is now under water (in ruins).

Another view of the Harbor area. The ancient harbor had an outer quay with a 400 meters long breakwater, an inner quay, and an anchorage area along which stood columns and mooring stones.

Model of ancient Harbor

Another view of the Harbor area.

View of ancient Caesarea. From Visitor's Center.

Caesarea National Park. In the 9th century (Arab period: 638-1099 CE), a fortified city surrounded the harbor. The Arab city walls were later incorporated into the impressive fortifications of Louis IX, which consisted of a high perimeter wall (900 m long and 13 m high), and a 9m deep dry moat.

Medieval fortifications in Caesarea. "You are looking at the western part of the southern city wall. This section was built on top of a breakwater of the Byzantine Period (324-638 CE)."

Hippodrome - built by King Herod. At the height of his power, in 29-22 BCE, Herod the Great built a splendid city (and Hippodrome) over the site of an ancient Phoenician port and dedicated it to Augustus Caesar, the Roman emperor.

Me at the Hippodrome (Gr. Hippos="horse")

The hippodrome (chariot race track) was one of the largest in the Roman Empire.

Artist's reconstruction of Hippodrome

The Hippodrome ("Circus") Built in the 2nd century CE for chariot racing, this hippodrome was 450 m long and 90 m wide, and could seat some 30,000 spectators.

Another view of the Hippodrome

Artist's rendering of Herod's palace

Promontary Palace. Jutting into the sea, just west of the theater, are the excavated remains of an impressive palace with a pool in its western section. The site is assumed to be "Herod's Palace," mentioned by Josephus. If so, this was the location to which the Jews of Jerusalem came in order to beg Pilate to remove the imperial standards -- images of Caesar -- he had ordered placed on the Temple Mount.

Columns near Herod's Palace

The Theater. This is the most ancient of all theaters found in Israel. Built in Herod's time, it had two cavea (seating areas) and could accommodate 4,000 spectators.

Paul at the Theater. The theater, now restored, is one of Israel's most popular venues for summer cultural events.

Artist's rendering of the Theater. The scaena frons--the multi-storied wall behind the stage--was constructed of three parts: in the Hellenistic style of a square center segment and two semicircular side wings.

View of Theater entrance

Spectators arrive in the Theater

Mt. Carmel in the distance. Driving on Highway 70.

Carmel Forest. 80 km range

Carmel Range

Yisrael Valley; Yisrael = "Planted by God"

Sign - Nahalal (place of Moshe Dayan)

Orchards in the bountiful valley

Driving through Nazareth. 70,000 people live here

Nazareth - site of childhood of Jesus. Hilly area, on a rise between the Jordan Valley and the Jezreel Plain.

Maya Tours - our tour bus

Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. Built in 1969 over the ruins of the original Byzantine church, and the successive Crusader church. Inscription on wall: Domini Nuntiavit Mariae Verbum Caro Factum est Habitavit in Nobis (The Angel of the Lord brought tidings unto Mary And the Word was made flesh, And dwelt among us.)

Inscriptions of the Four Evangelists: The Four Evangelists are shown with their symbolic signs: Matthew (Aquarius the Man), Mark (Leo the Lion), Luke (Taurus the Bull), John (Scorpio the Eagle)

Basilica of the Annunciation – Sign: "Historians tell that the Grotto and its surroundings, being the site of the Annunciation, were turned into a worship place in the 1st and 2nd century. Early sources referred to the place as being 'The House of the Virgin Mary' "

Mural of the Annunciation – Philippines. The vast upper church is decorated with mosaics of the Virgin donated by communities from around the world.

Mosaic from Ukraine: Bogoroditsa = Mother of God (“Holy Mother of God, Pray for Your Ukrainian People”)

Mary of Nazareth: On all the walls of the upper Church, as well as in the atrium surrounding the Church paintings, sculptures, bass-relief represent the Marian Sanctuaries of the world, donated by Christian communities around the world.

Vatican's mosaic of the Annunciation


Egyptian Queen of Heaven (probably based on Isis)

Slovenia's Madonna

Korea's Mother and Child

Italy's Mary with the Sacred Heart (“Madonna Delle Lacrime di Siracusa”)

Spain's tiled representation of Mary (“Mare de deu dels desamparats Patrona del reone de Valencia”)

Vietnam and Thailand

South Africa and Guatemala

Icon from Greece

Holy Doors. Inscription above the doors:
Multifariam, multisque modis olim Deus loquens patribus in prophetis
God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets. (Hebrews 1:1)
Vocavit discipulos suos et elegit duodecim ex ipsis quos et apostolos nominavit he called unto him his disciples: and he chose twelve of them, whom also he named apostles. (Luke 6:13)
Left Panel: Adam, Abraham, Elias, Moses, David
Right Panel: Peter, Jacob (James), John, Matthew, Jacob Alphaeus
Door (top left, counter-clockwise): Birth in Cave, Holy Family in Egypt, Nazareth, John the Baptist, Sermon on Mount, Crucifixion

Mass at the Cave of Annunciation. The crypt includes the Cave of the Annunciation, where the angel Gabriel is said to have appeared to Mary.

the interior of the Basilica

Mural in the front of the Basilica

Mural in the side of the interior

Ceiling (Dome) 16 sections. The modern Church of the Annunciation is topped with a uniquely-shaped concrete dome 55 meters high. Its shape is based on the Madonna lily, a symbol of the Virgin Mary.

Franciscan altar. Inscription: Super muros tuos, Jerusalem, constitui custodes I have set watchmen upon thy walls,O Jerusalem (Isaiah 62:6) Deus Meus et Omnia, "My God and My All." Motto of the Franciscan Order.

Franciscan mural

Marble floor design

Virgin of Guadalupe

Japanese Madonna

Exterior (side) of Basilica

Wedding at the Basilica

Haifa harbor (at night) We stayed overnight at the Dan Carmel hotel.

At Druze village Dalit-el-Carmel; Wall pictures inside the house of Adal (Abu Antar Halbi)

Learning about the Druze Religion The Druze refer to themselves as Ahl al-Tawhid or "al-muwahhidun" ("people of Monotheism"). The religion developed out of Ismal in the 10th century, creating a whole new religious body influenced by Greek philosophy, Gnosticism, and Christianity, among others. Hindu influence is reflected in their belief of reincarnation.

Posing with Adal (Abu Antar Halbi) Only the initiated know about their sacred scriptures, collectively know as "Kitab Al Hikma" (Book of Wisdom). A Druze author writes: "the true Druze faith is the gnostic wisdom of Greece, Egypt, Persia, and Islam all in one."

Druze Cuisine

Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery, Haifa -- On much of the upper slopes of Mount Carmel are wide stretches of vegetation, the remnants of an ancient forest. On these slopes, to the southwest, is the Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery (founded by the Carmelite order).

Church "Stella Maris" (sign) - "Star of the Sea"

Inside the Stella Maris church

Elijah's Cave (altar), "Elias Thesbites" -- Below the monastery is Elijah's Cave, with its small altar, where Elijah is said to thave lived and meditated before defeating the pagan prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel.

Cave of Elijah (Elias) Some say the actual cave is further down the mountain (not in the church itself).

Ceiling (Dome) - Chariot of Fire : The ceiling has a mural of Elijah ascending into the heavens on a chariot of fire. Sorry -- the picture was too dark.

View of Haifa from Mt. Carmel

Trail to Elijah's cave (another cave) Another version: Elijah's Cave is located just a short walk from the National Maritime Museum (the Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum is just below the National Maritime Museum). The cave is also accessible via a steeply inclined path, from the Carmelite Church on Stella Maris Rd.

Trail to Elijah's other cave -- Further down the mountain.

A third cave discovered? There's just too many caves around here!

The Holy Family Chapel ? -- I did find a Holy Family Chapel, though.

View of Haifa from Dan Carmel Hotel -- We stayed at the beautiful hotel, Room 516

Baha'i Temple and gardens in Haifa -- The Baha'i faith claims that no religion has a monopoly on the truth, and aim to integrate the teachings of all holy men. The ornate temple houses the tomb of Bab, the herald of Bahaulla (1817-92).
View from bottom to the top. The Bahai faith stresses the unity of God and the brotherhood of mankind.

Cooling plants near Haifa -- I thought at first that they might be nuclear reactors.

Leaving Haifa

At Acre (Akko) Citadel -- Historic Acre (Akko) dates back to Canaanite times. The form in which it survives today was set by the Arabs and their Crusader foes.

Entering the gardens at Old City Akko

Citadel (Crusader Walls) -- Akko's Citadel was built by the Turks in the 18th century on top of Crusader fortifications. At certain times in its history, the building served as a prison.

Inside the Citadel, arched ceiling

Old Acre (Map)

arched ceiling

Tour guide Vered gives historical view -- Acre was the capital during the Crusader Period (1099-1265). Four major countries participated in the Crusades: England, France, Spain, and Germany. Thus, the Jerusalem Cross has four small crosses in the quadrants.

Unique Men's Public Toilet

"Refectorium" -- Gothic-arched hall : Some call this place St. John's Crypt, and others say it was used as a Dining Hall.

Underground passageway -- Below the refectory is a network of underground passageways.

Crusader Tombstone, 1290 -- Templars, Hospitallers, and other orders of knights came to the Holy Land during the Crusade Period.

Masika Family gift shop -- As usual, a tour ends with a visit to a gift shop. Here the owner of the shop demonstrates the art of copper work.

Copper art work

More Copper art work

Special Pesach (Passover) plate -- Six sections: bitter herbs, egg, parsley, lettuce, charoses, and shankbone (each a symbolic representation of an event in the Passover - Exodus from bondage in Egypt - story).

At Rosh Hanikra, view toward Haifa -- This point on the Israel-Lebanon border has become a favorite tourist attraction. The cliff area has, throughout human history, served as the passage point for trade caravans and armies between the northern cultures of Lebanon and Syria, and the southern cultures of Israel and Egypt.

Cable car to Rosh Hanikra Grotto -- The Rosh Hanikra landscape is unique in all of Israel. Its cliff is the foot of a chalk mountain range which dips into the sea, creating a steep, white pillar, 70 meters high. Three layers: top layer is made of hard chalk rock and dolomites; middle layer is comprised of soft chalk; bottom layer is hard chalk (mostly beneath the sea surface).

Cable car to Rosh Hanikra Grotto

The Bridge and Railway Tunnel -- During WW2, the British dug a tunnel 250 meters long for the railway running between Haifa and Beirut, thus allowing easy access for army cargo shipped from Egypt to the north.

View of Tunnel and Railway

Rosh Hanikra's natural grottos -- These are cavernous tunnels formed by sea action on the soft chalk rock. The total length is some 200 meters. They branch off in various directions with some interconnecting segments.

Rosh Hanikra's natural grottos

The cliff and the sea-shore -- This rare beauty was made accessible to the general public when a tunnel was dug to the natural grottos in 1968.

Unique formations at Rosh Hanikra

Israel-Lebanon Border Crossing -- Jerusalem is 205 km south, and Beirut, Lebanon is 120 km north.

Israeli flag flies at border crossing

Druze tour group arrives at Rosh Hanikra

Road to Lebanon -- Over the mountain range.

Drive to Zefat (Safed) on Hwy. 89 -- Upper Galilee area. Banana plantations (note blue bags to preserve bananas).

Shops and cobblestone streets in Safed -- The holy city of Safed, perched on a mountain top in the upper Galilee, conjures many images to all lovers of the city. The romantic flavor of narrow cobblestone lanes and ancient synagogues fills one's lungs with a new spirit. The rusty old houses with their domed roofs clearly identifies the city with the mysterious past of the Holy Land.

Abuhav Synagogue -- Historical sources indicate that the original Abuhav synagogue was destroyed in the 1759 earthquake. This building, known then as the Great Synagogue, was subsequently renamed Abuhav Synagogue. It houses the famous "Abuhav Torah Scroll," scribed by Rabbi Abuhav himself.

Abuhav Synagogue in Safed (Zefat) -- This 16th century synagogue was named after Rabbi Yitzchak (Isaac) Abuhav of Portugal.

Interior of the Great (Abuhav) Synagogue

Interior of synagogue

Ceiling (oval) of synagogue

Twelve tribes of Israel (surround dome) Some of the symbols I could decipher were: Issachar=grapes, Joseph=sheaves, Naphtali=deer, Asher=Olive tree, Gad=camp

Tribe (Zodiac) symbols -- According to the Kabbalists, each tribe represents a sign of the zodiac. Thus the symbols are shown around the dome. Some of the signs (left to right): Zebulun=ship, Judah=lion, Simeon=vase&sword, Reuben=field, Benjamin=wolf.

Inside the synagogue – wall paintings; symbolic curtains, benches, tables, etc.

Inside the synagogue

Yosef shows the Abuhav Torah Scroll

The Holy Ark -- Upon entering a synagogue, the Kabbalists would recite the formula: “I take upon myself the positive commandment to love my neighbor as myself.” (Levit. 19:18) They sought to come close to G-d not only through prayer but also by drawing closer to their fellows. After reciting the formula, they would act on their declaration by making donations to charity.

Paul the Kabbalist -- Safed is one of the four holy cities in Israel, together with Jerusalem, Hebron and Tiberias.
For a long time Safed has been a well kept secret, even to most Israelis. However, according to the great mystics of the past, Safed is to play an important role in the final redemption. The Meam Loez, in the name of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, says that the Messiah will come from Safed on his way to Jerusalem. The Ari HaKodesh said that until the Third Temple is built, the Shechinah (God's Manifest Presence) rests above Safed.

More artists' shops in Safed. Safed is the highest town in Israel. This section of town is known as the Artists' Quarter.

Peace (Dove) Art

Musician playing the Baliphone -- the baliphone is a bamboo "marimba" with a size and design similar to a normal vibraphone or marimba

Students on a field trip in Safed

First view of Sea of Galilee -- also known as Lake Kinneret

Deck's Restaurant in Tiberias Boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and dinner at the restaurant. Tilapia - Saint Peter's Fish.

View of Tiberias from Lake Kinneret -- Shimmering night lights in the water make this a beautiful sight. We took an evening boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.

View of Tiberias from hotel room (1018), the Sheraton Tiberias.

Sunrise over the Sea of Galilee

Crusader or Ottoman Walls in Tiberias

Crusader or Ottoman Walls in Tiberias

Fisherman's boat on Lake Kinneret. Lake Kinneret is also known as Lake Tiberias. Also, Sea of Chinnereth. The larger boats are the ones tourists go on.

Unique Tree near The Scots Hotel

Hotel Scotland, Scots Hotel -St. Andrews

Lake Kinneret in the morning light

Eucalyptus tree at Sea of Galilee

Eucalyptus trees with egrets in it

Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret) -- The sea (lake) is 21 km (13 miles long) and 9 km (6 miles) wide.
Another figure I got was 24 km by 18 km. Go figure!

Paul of Galilee -- The chief source of water, the Sea of Galilee lies 212 meters (696 feet) below sea level and is fed and drained by the Jordan River.

Leaving Tiberias

Banana plantation beside the Sea

View of Tiberias across the lake -- Tiberias is the largest town on the lake. It was founded during Roman times by Herod Antipas, who dedicated it to the Emperor Tiberius.

Entrance to ancient Capharnaum -- Capernaum - known as the town of Jesus. On the northern shoreline of the Sea of Galilee. Caphar = "fish" / naum = "village"

Capharnaum - the town of Jesus (sign)

Capharnaum in the Bible (sign)
"He left Nazareth and went to live in Capharnaum by the sea." (Matthew 4:13)
"On leaving the synagogue he entered the house of Peter and Andrew." (Mark 1:29)
“I am the Bread of Life” …(John 6:48)
"These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capharnaum." (John 6:59)

Simon Peter statue -- Caphar-naum, village where Peter becomes one of Jesus' first disciples.

Ancient ruins of Capernaum

"White Synagogue" -- White Synagogue (late 4th century AD), built upon the remains of the "Synagogue of Jesus"

remains of the village of Capharnaum

Columns from Roman era --The synagogue was built by pagans for the Jews. The entrance was set toward Jerusalem (where there are no seats). 749 AD - great destruction by an earthquake.

Synagogue columns -- Vered, the tour guide, related the following:
Jesus was born to a Jewish maiden, therefore he was a Jew. His cousin, John the Baptist, belonged to the Essene order, and he baptized (initiated) Jesus into the Essene order ("Sons of Light").

Housing area

Map of Capharnaum -- Shows Simon Peter's house, an octagonal church, the synagogue and other excavations.

Site of Simon Peter's house -- Actually, it's the foundation of the church that was built upon the ruins of what is said to have been his house.

Mosaics (tiles) - ground floor of church

Column of Synagogue - has Star of David

Map of KfarNahum (aerial view)

"Crown of Thorns" bush

Golan Heights, north of Sea of Galilee -- Drive to Golan Heights, on Hwy. 87, 98.
Pass Mt. Bental, Merom Golan. Enter Volcanic Park Golan.

Volcan Caldera (grape vines growing) -- Volcanic Park Golan

Mt. Avital - Mt. Bental Nature Preserve -- The reserve is situated on the ash cone whose western side was swept away by a lava flow.

Compound on top of the hill

Distance markers -- Jerusalem 155 km

Border with Syria -- white buildings on the right are UN buildings - "keeping the peace"

Looking toward Damascus, Syria

Looking toward Mt. Hermon

Looking into Syria - towards Iraq

Bunker on top of the military compound

Mt. Hermon (range) -- 2814 meters high

Israeli soldiers at military compound

Israeli soldiers come here to train - Topographical map reading and locating of major landmarks.

Paul at Golan Heights.

Paul of Damascus -- Damascus, Syria is 42 km away.

Israeli soldiers at compound (bunkers) -- They had binoculars and topographical maps.

Israeli tanks -- Israel produces the best tanks in the world.

Drive down Hwy 98 to Kfar Haruv -- East bank of Sea of Galilee

At Kfar Haruv, a kibbutz on plateau -- The kibbutz overlooks the Sea of Galilee (from east bank). We had cafeteria-style lunch here.

View of another kibbutz - En Gev

Overlooking Sea of Galilee -- from southern part of the Golan Plateau

Paul at the Kibbutz

Kibbutz guide - Collette
Talk of Kibbutz life. Conceived by Eastern European Jews, the first kibbutz was founded in 1909. The guiding ideals behind Israel's kibbutzim are self-sufficiency and equality, with everyone working for the common good. The kibbutz at Kfar Haruv ws started in the 1970's. A total of 300 people reside here (100 are members).
[Note: original motto was "from each according to his ability to each according to his needs"]

Kfar Haruv - "the village of the Carob" -- The tour guide shows us the Carob tree (biblical "Locust" tree, which John the Baptist ate). The kibbutz was build on the ancient grounds of the carob village.

Paul investigates the Carob (Locust) -- This scholar believes that John the Baptist actually ate the fruit of the Locust Tree, not the insect. After all, John was an Essene, and the Essenes were vegetarians.

The carob pod-like fruit.

Drive south to Beit (Beth) She'an -- Driving along the border with Jordan. Along Hwy 98 and 90.

Along the border with Jordan -- Barbed wire is seen along the road.

Jordan River -- flows from Sea of Galilee south to Dead Sea

Along the Jordan River

Jordan side (fertile valley)

Fish Ponds in the Jordan Valley

Down the Centuries in Bet She'an -- A timeline of Bet She'an's historical highlights:
Settlement of Bet She'an first began in the fifth millenium BCE on the Tel (mound) rising to the south of the Harod River.

Model of Bet She'an (Roman & Byzantine) -- Bet She'an is mentioned in the Book of Samuel, where the corpses of King Saul and his sons were displayed on the city walls after the Philistine lords defeated them.

Model of Bet She'an - city quarters -- The city had four quarters and walls. The center was the most important, the "soul" of the city (compared by an Italian guide to the soul of man).

Guide Vered gives historical perspective:
The first period, late Canaanite period (16th - 12th centuries BCE), the city became the seat of Egyptian rule. It was the highest hill in the Jordan Valley. At the end of the 2nd century BCE the city fell to the Hasmoneans - Greek (Hellenistic) Period.
During the Roman Period (after the Roman conquest in 63 BCE), the city was rebuilt, and a theater, hippodrome, and bathhouse were added. As one of the ten cities of the Decapolis, it became the most important city in northern Israel.

Main Plaza (shopping area) -- This was an important town until the Middle Ages. Eighteen layers of cities (like at Megiddo) have been unearthed by archaeologists.

Excavations reveal ruins -- Most of the site has been excavated during the last 15 years.

The monumental colonnade -- Originally, the main street was a Roman road flanked on one side by a monumental colonnade. The earthquake of 749 CE leveled columns and structures along the street.

Amphitheater -- Built in the 1st century CE, the 7,000-seat theater seen today is the product of renovations carried out at the end of the 2nd century.

Mosaics (tiles) in Bathhouse -- Two colors, black & beige. The Byzantine bathhouse contained hot and tepid bathing halls with a heating system.

Walking down colonnaded street -- The street leads to the top of the Tel (mound), which provides a vantage point over the city and its surroundings.

Another view of the colonnade -- Orthodox Jews visit the ruins, also.

Ha-Gai Valley Road (sign) -- This sign is along the trail leading to the top of the Tel (mound): “The Roman and Byzantine road ran along the Amal Wadi (Valley), leading from the city center to the north-eastern gate. On either side of the basalt paved street, stood more than 200 capitalled columns. Beyond them were roofed pavements re-tiled with mosaics during the Byzantine period. The pavements were flanked by shops. Residential buildings stood here in the Ommayad and Abbasid periods. Ruins caused by the devastating earthquake of 749 were found lying on the road.”

View from Tel Bet She'an -- In Arabic the Tel is called Tell El-Husn - "The Fortress Mound."
Some twenty settlement strata were uncovered on the Tel (similar to the strata at Megiddo).
The Source, by James Michener, describes the evolving life on a Tel(through many generations).

The Joshua tree on top of the Tell - A lone dry Joshua tree is propped up to keep from falling over.

Bet She'an National Park -- The park extends over an area of 400 acres, and it incudes the ancient city of Bet She'an-Scythopolis and the imposing Tel Bet She'an.

Egyptian Governor's quarters -- On top of the Tell is the renovated Egyptian Governor's Administrative quarters.

View toward the Jordan River -- The top of the Tel offers a 360-degree view of the surroundings.

The Roman Temple stood here -- The huge drums belonged to the temple. The columns stood 13 meters high.

The Splendor of the City & the Last Days -- Signs on lower section of the trail down from the Tel describe the splendor of the city during the 2nd century (Roman Period) and the Last Days of Nyssa-Scythopolis (when the earthquake brought the city down).

Monument (artistic rendering) -- The sign shows the glory of the city with its lavish structures.

Corinthian column tops in ruin

We enter Jerusalem at night (bus – Vradim Tours)

View of Jerusalem's Old City walls -- View from our room 914 at the Dan Panorama Hotel.

Morning in Jerusalem -- View of Old City and Mt. Olivet in the background.

Morning walk in Jerusalem -- to the Old City walls.

Paul at Zion Gate

View of Mt. Olivet -- To the right is the large Jewish Cemetery.

Dung Gate -- Entrance to the Kotel (Wall, Western Wall, or Wailing Wall).

Inside the Dung Gate -- The dome of the El Aqsa Mosque is visible.

The Kotel (Wall) in the morning -- The morning is the best time to come to the wall. There is no overcrowding!

Saying "Shema Yisrael" at the Wall -- Shema Yisrael: Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Ekhad. Veaharta eit Adonai Elohekha bekhol levavekha, uvekhol nafshekha, uvekhol meodekha. (Hear, O Israel: The Eternal is our God, the Eternal is One! You shall love the Eternal One with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your being.)

Paul at the Wall --
The Sages said about it: "The Divine Presence never moves from the Western Wall." How true!

Orthodox Jews gather for morning prayers

A tunnel leads towards underground wall -- The Western Wall is all that remains of the Second Temple. The great Herodian stones rest one on top of the other. More than half of the wall is below the present day ground level.

Plaza in front of the Wall -- During the years that Jerusalem was controlled by the Jordanians (1948-1967) access to the Wall was forbidden. Afte the reunification in June 1967, the site was cleared, the crowded hovels around it were pulled down, and a vast paved plaza was constructed.

Jewish Cemetery in Kidron Valley -- It is believed in Jewish tradition that the Messiah will come from the east, pass the Mount of Olives and continue through the Kidron Valley before arriving at the Temple Mount. Impressive burial chambers testify to the belief that the dead close to the mount will rise first to escort the Messiah into the city.

The pyramid-roofed tomb of Zechariah in the Valley of Jehoshaphat (meaning "Yahweh judges," Yahweh being the Hebrew name for God).

View of Mount Olivet (Mount of Olives) -- Mount Olivet is known in Arabic as Jebel et-Tur, "Mount of the Summit"

Church of St. Mary Magdalene -- Russian Orthodox Church, with typically Muscovite gilded onion domes. It was built by Tsar Alexander III in memory of his mother, whose patron saint was Mary Magdalene.

Church of All Nations -- The church is also known as the Church of the Agony because it is built over the rock in the Garden of Gethsemane on which it is believed Jesus prayed the night before he was arrested.

View of Mt. Olivet from Muslim cemetery

Paul at the Golden Gate -- Also known as the Gate of Mercy (Bab el-Rahma), the Golden Gate was one of the original Herodian city gates. According to Jewish tradition, the Messiah will enter Jerusalem through this gate, which is said to be the reason the Muslims walled it up in the 7th century.

The Golden Gate -- The Golden Gate is situated in the east wall of the Temple Mount enclosure.

Church of All Nations

Lion's Gate -- The gate is named after the pair of lions who guard it (on each side of the top of the gate). The gate is also known as St. Stephen's Gate; according to tradition he was martyred nearby.

Entering the Lion's Gate -- In the Moslem Quarter

Near the former Antonio Fortress

Pilate's Door -- Inscriptions above door:
Pilatus adduxit foras lesum et sedit pro tribunali in locum qui dicitur Lithostrotus (John 19:13) “When Pilate heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.”
Tunc ergo apprehendit Pilatus Jesum, et flagellavit.(John 19:1) “So the Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him”
Tunc ergo tradidit eis illum ut crucifigeretur (John 19:16) “Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified.”

ECCO HOMO ("Behold the Man") -- Inscription above door:
O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam, attendite, et videte si est dolor. sicut dolor meus
["O all ye that pass by the way,attend and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow."] - Lamentations 1:12

Man carrying crosses -- Via Dolorosa as the ancient "Way of Sorrows" walked by Jesus on the way to his crucifixion has more to do with religious tradition than historical fact.

Armenian Catholic chapel - 3-4 stations -- 3rd and 4th stations of the cross are commemorated in the little Armenian Catholic chapel

Via Dolorosa Way - 5th station -- Simoni Cyrenaeo, Crux Imponitur = Where the cross is laid upon Simon of Cyrene

School children on the Via Dolorosa

School children on the Via Dolorosa

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Steep street in Christian quarter

Jaffa Gate

Jaffa Gate (outside city wall) -- This is the busiest of the seven Old City gates. It is the main gate for traffic and pedestrians coming from modern West Jerusalem.

Sign on road that encircles the old city

YMCA building on King David St. -- Distinctive Bell Tower of the YMCA was built in 1926-33 by Arthur Loomis Harmon, who also created New York's Empire State Building.

Painting of Ancient Jerusalem

Sarcophagus at the Israel Museum -- The sarcophagus is from Caesarea, Roman period. It is decorated with a scene from the myth of Leda and the Swan (Zeus comes to Leda in the form of a Swan).

Model of Jerusalem - 2nd Temple Period

Model of Ancient Jerusalem -- Second Temple in foreground.

Sign explaining the Model of Jerusalem -- The model, which now stands in the Israel Museum, was built on a 1:50 scale. It was constructed according to the measurements given in the Mishnah and Talmud, and it follows the description in the histories of Josephus Flavius.

Eastern View from the Mount of Olives

Sign - Eastern View: 5. Temple 6. Basilica 7. Antonia Fortress 8. Shushan Gate 9. Pool of Israel 10. Sheep pools 11. Tomb of Alexander Jannaeu 16. Palaces 24. Theater 25. Psephinus Tower 36. Citadel (from here the First Wall continues directly to the Temple Mount).

Southern View (from the “Promenade”) – Map: 12. Kidron Valley 13. Siloam Pool 14. Lower City 15. Theodotos Synagogue 16. Adiabene Palaces 17. Tomb of Huldah the Prophetess 18. Huldah Gates 19. Valley of Hinnom 23. David's Tomb 25. Theater 26. Monumental Stairway ("Robinson's Arch") 27. Bridge ("Wilson's Arch")

Southern View – Model

Southwestern View from Ketef Hinnom (map) : 20. Herod's Palace 21. Upper market 22. Palace of Caiaphas, high priest 24. Hasmonean Palace, etc.

Southwestern View – Model

Northwestern View from the New City (Map): 33. Golgotha (Calvary) 38. Kotel (Western Wall)

Northwestern view – model

Place of Golgotha -- Outside 2nd City Wall

Second Temple

Shrine of the Book -- This innovatively designed underground hall houses the Dead Sea Scrolls

Shrine of the Book – entrance

Dead Sea Scrolls - copies -- No original scrolls are located here.

Dead Sea Scroll – copy

Knesset -- The Knesset (Assembly) is the seat of the Israeli Parliament. It takes its name from the Knesset ha-Gedola (Great Assembly) of 120 men that governed the political and civic life of Jews in the Second Temple Period.

Sculpted menorah near Knesset -- The seven-branched menorah (candelabrum) is the symbol of the State of Israel. It is the work of British sculptor Benno Elkan and was a gift from the British parliament.

Menorah Base & Trunk -- The relief work on the menorah branches depicts crucial moments in Jewish history and is accompanied by biblical quotations. From top: CENTER (Trunk) of Menorah:
(1) Moses, Joshua, and Hur, during the war with Amalek, the cruelest enemy of the Jewish people.
(2) The Tablets of the Law and the Ten Commandments, the essence of the Jewish religion.
(3) Rachel the Matriarch, the favorite wife of Jacob mourns her children who have gone into exile. Ruth, the Moabite, wife of Boaz, the great-grandfather of King David.
(4) The Prophet Ezekiel and the vision of the dry bones, symbol of the Jewish people in exile in Babylon; after Cyrus’s proclamation (538 BCE) and the ensuing restoration to Zion, the people comes to life.
(5) The Uprisings in the Warsaw Ghetto and other ghettos against the Nazis and their collaborators.
(6) “Hear O Israel,” a central verse in Jewish prayers; it is recited three times a day.
(7) The renewal of Jewish Settlement in the Land of Israel; the struggle to found a Jewish State and the Founding of the State of Israel.

Left arm of the Menorah -- LEFT SECTION (Left Branch):
(1) Isaiah the prophet and his vision of the end of Days: “and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up swords against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)
(2) Rabban Yochanan Ben-Zakkai. At the height of the civil war in Jerusalem (66-70CE), he requests and receives Yavneh (Jamnia) from the Romans in order to found a center there for renewing the study of the Law.
(3) Spanish Jewry enjoys its golden age under Muslim rule during the 10th and 11th centuries C.E.
(4) Babylonian exiles by the river of Babylon lament the destruction (587 BCE). Central Branch:
(1) Ezra the scribe assembles the returnees to Zion (5th century BCE) and reads aloud the Law to them with the assistance of the Levites.
(2) Job and his Three Friends as the symbol of the eternal question about the suffering of the righteous and the prosperity of the wicked.
(3) The Talmud. (The Oral Law) “Moses received the law on Mount Sinai and handed it on to Joshua, and Joshua (handed it on) to the Elders, and the Elders (handed it on) to the Prophets…”
(4) The Aggadah (Legend) about King Solomon’s going out to listen to poetry of birds in the wild, as one of the seventy languages he knew.
Right Branch:
(1) David and Goliath, symbolizes the triumph of spirit over physical force.
(2) The illegal immigrants into the land of Israel in violation of the Mandatory Government’s quota.
(3) Abraham the Patriarch, the father of his people, buys the first parcel of land in the promised land.

Right arm of the Menorah -- RIGHT SECTION – (Right Branch):
(1) The Prophet Jeremia reproaches the people and laments the destruction of the First Temple: “how lonely sits the city that was full of people. . she that was like a Princess amongst the cities.
(2) The Maccabees heroically battle against and repel the Hellenized Syrians who attempted to destroy their Law; the Maccabees found a dynasty which lasted for some 100 years.
(3) The Hassidic Movement founded in Europe in the 18th century preaches integrity.
(4) Nehemiah restoring the walls of Jerusalem.
Central Branch:
(1) Hillel the Elder and the gentile who asks him to teach him the Law in one quick lesson; among Hillel’s most famous sayings: What is hateful to you, do not do unto others.
(2) Rabbi Hanina Ben-Teradion, teaches the Law in violation of the Roman prohibition, and is immolated, wrapped in a scroll of the Law.
(3) The Kabbalah – Jewish mysticism.
(4) The Halakhah (Religious Law): what is forbidden and what is permitted in the daily life of the Jew.
Left Branch:
(1) Bar-Kokhba, symbol of the war of the few against the many, the weak against the strong. Rabbi Akiva (2nd century CE) considered him the Messiah.
(2) The Messianic Hope of mankind in every generation for the coming of the Messiah as prophesized in the Bible.
(3) Jacob the Patriarch wrestles with the Angel of the Lord who blesses him and bestows the name of Israel upon him.

Paul at the Menorah

Menorah symbols – details (booklet)
Large view
Menorah symbols – details (booklet)

Bible Lands Museum

Bible Lands Museum - City of Babylon

Bible Lands Museum - sarcophagus

Bible Lands Museum

Bible Lands Museum - Egypt (pyramids)

Bible Lands Museum – Jerusalem

Bible Lands Museum - Sumeria -- Model of the Ziggurat of Ur

Bible Lands Museum - children's tour

Yad Vashem - Holocaust Museum -- Yad Vashem, meaning "a name and a place" (from Isaiah 56:5). The museum is a monument to perpetuate the memory of the more than six million who died in the Holocaust.

Yad Vashem - Children's museum -- Memorial to the one and a half million children who perished in the holocaust.

Yad Vashem - Uziel - "strength of God" -- Memorial erected by Abraham and Edita Spiegel of California in memory of their son Uziel, who was killed in Auschwitz in 1944.

Yad Vashem - Children's museum -- A million and a half symbolical lights (stars) light up the night sky inside the Children's museum, reflecting the number of children killed.

Yad Vashem - triangular building -- The museum is one long corridor, carved into the mountain, with 10 exhibition halls, each dedicated to a different chapter of the Holocaust.

Yad Vashem - Hall of Names -- The Hall of Names is devoted to recording the names of all those Jews who perished, along with as much biographical detail as possible.

Yad Vashem - Torah Ark -- Synagogue - "Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them." (Exodus 25:8)

Touring friends - Monastersky family --Inscription on entrance: "I will put my breath into you and you shall live again, and I will set you upon your own soil." (Ezekiel 37:14)
In Memory of my friend, Jerry Monastersky, who passed away.

Drive past village of Ein Kerem -- Ein Kerem ("the vineyard spring") is the place where John the Baptist was born and lived here.

Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center -- A splendid cycle of 12 stained-glass windows decorates the synagogue at the Hadassah Hospital. The windows were created in 1960-61 by the Russian-Jewish artist Marc Chagall. Each of the windows represents one of the 12 tribes of Israel (Genesis 49).
Best site:

Chagall Windows - Dan, Gad, Asher -- Tradition associates each of the tribes with a symbol, a precious stone and a social role.
WESTERN VIEW (view from inside the building)
1. Dan - "justice" candelabrum (scales of justice), with serpent - "will be as a serpent
2. Gad - warriors of northern border; 2 circles in figure 8 = infinity of God
3. Asher - dove, peace, 7-branched candelabrum; crowned – bird

Chagall Windows - Naphtali, Joseph, Ben -- NORTHERN VIEW
1. Naphtali - "like a deer," bird (like eagle) = endurance
2. Joseph - golden; sheaves of wheat, sheep cows; Joseph = crowned purple bird; two hands holding shofar horn; red tree, identifies with Judaism
3. Benjamin - circles that represent shields (brothers protecting him); wolf = fierce and warlike

Chagall Windows - Reuben, Shimeon, Levi EASTERN VIEW
1. Reuben - "unstable as water" (fish & fowl - creation)
2. Shimeon - "blood red - a murderous deed" - continuing story of creation (dispersal)
3. Levi - 10 commandments and candles; prayerbook
Another good site for the windows (view from outside the building):

Chagall Windows -Judah, Zebulah,Issachar -- SOUTHERN VIEW
1. Judah - rich red; hands; city of Jerusalem; lion
2. Zebulah - fisherman, boat, fish
3. Issachar - stars indicate they were astrologers; agriculture, donkey, pacifists
[Another site for viewing the Chagall windows:
The Hadassah site has the following cardinal order for the windows:
Eastern - Dan, Gad, Asher Western - Judah, Zebulun, Issachar
Southern - Naphtali, Joseph, Benjamin Northern - Reuben, Simeon, Levi]
I bought the following book to verify the correct cardinal order:
The Jerusalem Windows by Marc Chagall, Text & Notes by Jean Leymarie, ISBN 0-8076-0807-6
The correct cardinal order is:
Eastern - Reuben, Simeon, Levi; Southern - Judah, Zebulun, Issachar
Western - Dan, Gad, Asher; Northern - Naphtali, Joseph, Benjamin [page xiv]

Mount Herzl Park -- named after Binyamin (Theodore) Herzl, visionary of the Jewish State

Mount Herzl Park - portrait of Herzl -- Herzl was born in 1860. In the year 1896 he published his book "The Jewish State."

Mount Herzl Park - artist Epstein --"Matityahu and his Sons" by Yehuda Epstein. A gift to Herzl.

Mount Herzl - First Zionist Congress -- In 1897, Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress, at which the World Zionist Organization was founded.

Teacher's strike at Supreme Court -- The teachers set up camp in the olive park in front of the Supreme Court. They are fighting for a better salary and for lower class size.

Dinner at Jerusalem restaurant -- Our tour group enjoys a Last Supper together.

Entertainer-singer at the restaurant --Lots of popular songs, and lots of Hebrew songs.

Tour group's Last Supper

Dancing to the music

Painting of Second Temple at restaurant

Sunrise in Jerusalem

New Gate -- This gate was added in 1889 to allow pilgrims in the compounds outside the walls direct access to the Christian Quarter.

Northwestern side of city wall

Damascus Gate

King Solomon Quarries - Zedekiah's cave -- This is an enormous empty cave stretching under the Old City, with its entrance at the foot of the wall between Damascus and Herod's gates. The quarry is also known as Zedekiah's cave, after the last king of Judaea who, legend has it, hid here during the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 586 BC.

City wall built on solid rock foundation

Herod's Gate

Stephen's (Lion's) Gate - Walk down the road from the gate to get to the Mount of Olives.

Tomb of the Virgin Mary

Cave next to Tomb of the Virgin Mary

Church of All Nations - tympanum -- Inscription under mosaic: "Preces supplicationesque sum clamore valido et lacrimis offerens exauditus est pro sua reverentia" (Offering up prayers and supplications with a strong cry and tears, he was heard because of his reverence.)

Garden of Gethsemane -- Traditional site of betrayal of Jesus by Judas.

Franciscan monk Gabriel and me

Gethsemane - sign -- "Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered." (John 18:1) / Basilica of the Agony, Architect Antonio Barluzzi, 1924 [Then Jesus withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.’ – Gospel of Luke 22:41-42]

Antonia Fortress - sign – 1st Station of the Via Dolorosa / Children use the site as a school.

St. Paul's Hospice - building --Visible from the ramparts, across from Damascus gate

Dormition Abbey on Mt. Zion -- Crowned by a tall bell tower and a dome with four small corner turrets, the Neo-Romanesque Church of the Dormition dominates the Mount Zion hilltop. The church stands on the site where the Virgin Mary is said to have fallen into an "eternal sleep."

King David's Tomb – sign [Ministry of Religious Affairs]

Rabbi praying at King David's tomb

King David's tomb -- Beneath the Hall of the Last Supper, on the lower floor of the Crusader building, are some small chambers venerated as King David's Tomb. The main chamber is bare, apart from a cenotaph covered by a drape. The Tomb covering has musical instruments on it.

King David's tomb - Grotto (crypt) Honor of being the closest one buried to the Wall (so he'll rise first when the Messiah comes).

Paul at King David's tomb -- A small tomb became a bigger tomb each time the city wall was moved.

Room of the Last Supper -- Hall of the Last Supper, or Coenaculum. Christian tradition says this is the site of Jesus' last meal with his disciples.

Zion's Gate -- bullet-ridden --Zion Gate was constructed Suleyman the Magnificent's engineers in 1540. Fighting was very fierce here in 1948. The outside of the gate is terribly pockmarked by bulletholes. In Arabic, the gate is known as Bab el-Nabi Daud (Gate of the Prophet David).

Wohl archaeological museum -- In the era of Herod the Great (37-4 BCE), the area of the present-day Jewish Quarter was part of a wealthy "Upper City", occupied for the most part by the families of important Jewish priests.

Wohl archaeological museum – mosaic: Replica of mosaic of Holy City of Jerusalem (one of the first maps of the city)

Wohl museum - Roman columns: The Roman columns indicate this was a shopping area, oriented North to South

Wohl museum - excavations

Wohl museum - Herodian quarter

Wohl museum - Jewish ritual bath

Wohl museum - general view of excavation

Wohl museum - meander mosaic

Wohl museum - Palatial Mansion

Wohl museum - Palatial Mansion -- The most complete of all the Herodian buildings is the Palatial Mansion, with more splendid mosaic floors and ritual baths.

Jewish Quarter - Painting of Lion of Judah

Jewish Quarter – mosaic: Mosaic depicts Moses and the Ten commandments, the Exodus out of Egypt, and a circular zodiac of the 12 tribes. The emblems of the circular 12 tribes of Israel zodiac (clockwise): (1) Reuben=sun (2) Simeon=tower (3) Levi=breastplate (4) Judah=lion (5) Zebulun=ship (6) Issachar=donkey (7) Dan=scales (8) Gad=tent (9) Asher=olive tree (10) Naphtali=deer (11) Joseph=sheaves of wheat (12) Benjamin=wolf
[Note: This same order of the 12 tribes of Israel is found in the four-square design of the Chagall Windows] Another version of this circular 12 tribes of Israel zodiac is found at:
Emblems of the Twelve Tribes of Israel

Entering Western Wall plaza

View of El Aqsa Mosque

View of Dung Gate area

Dome of the Rock -- One of the first and greatest achievements of Islamic architecture, the Dome of the Rock was built in AD 688-91 by the Omayyad caliph Abd el-Malik. At the center stands the Rock, variously believed to be where Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac, where Muhammad left the Earth on his Night Journey, and the site of the Holy of Holies of Herod's Temple.

The Kotel (Wall) plaza -- The Western Wall is a part of the retaining wall of the Temple Mount. The Western Wall Plaza functions as a large, open-air synagogue where groups gather to recite the daily, Chabbat (Sabbath) and festival services of the Jewish faith.

Divine Presence at Wall (sign) -- "Jewish tradition teaches that the Temple Mount is the focal point of Creation. In the center of the mountain lies the "Foundation Stone" of the world.Here Adam came into being. Here Abraham, Isaac and Jacob served God. The First and Second Temples were built upon this mountain. The Ark of the Covenant was set upon the Foundation Stone itself. Jerusalem was chosen by God as the dwelling place of the Shechinah. David longed to build the Temple, and Solomon his son built the First Temple here about 3000 years ago. It was destroyed by Nevuchadnezzar of Babylon. The Second Temple was rebuilt on its ruins seventy years later. It was razed by the Roman legions over 1900 years ago. The present Western Wall before you is a remnant of the western Temple Mount retaining walls. Jews have prayed in its shadow for hundreds of years, an expression of their faith in the rebuilding of the Temple.The Sages said about it: "The Divine Presence never moves from the Western Wall." The Temple Mount continues to be the focus of prayer for Jews from all over the world."

Ethiopian congregation at the Wall

Jewish Torah arks at the Wall

Torah ark - open display

Bar Mitzvah ceremonies

Shrines in the tunnel area

Bar Mitzvah ceremonies at the Wall

Bar Mitzvah ceremonies at the Wall

Reading the Torah at Bar Mitzvah

The Kotel (Wall) plaza -- A massive, blank wall built of huge stone blocks, the Western Wall (Ha-Kotel in Hebrew) is Judaism's holiest site, and the plaza in front of it is a permanent place of worship. The wall is part of the retaining wall of the Temple Mount built by Herod the Great during his expansion of the Temple enclosure. The huge, lower stones are Herodian, while those higher up date from early Islamic times.

Arab market in Old City

III Station of the Cross - Via Dolorosa --Jesus falls under the Cross for the first time.

At a corner in El-Wad Road stands the Polish chapel. A high-relief above the entrance, by Thaddeus Zielinsky, shows Jesus falling under the cross.

IV Station of the Cross - Via Dolorosa -- Jesus meets his mother.

V Station of the Cross - Via Dolorosa --Simon the Cyrenian is forced to carry the Cross. (Mark 15:21)

V Station of the Cross - "Simoni Cyrenaeo Crux Imponitur"

VI Station of the Cross - Via Dolorosa -- Veronica wipes the sweat from Jesus' face.
Traditional site of Veronica's house.

Inscription: Pia Veronica Faciem Christi Unteo Deterci

VII Station of the Cross - Via Dolorosa -- Jesus falls for the second time.

VII Station of the Cross - Via Dolorosa – Painting inside chapel

VII Station of the Cross - Via Dolorosa – engraving on arched chapel wall

VIII Station of the Cross - Via Dolorosa -- Jesus consoles the women of Jerusalem (Luke 23:28). The spot is marked by a Latin cross on the wall of a Greek Orthodox Monastery. IC XC NI KA

Walking toward the Holy Sepulchre

IX Station of the Cross - Via Dolorosa – Outside Holy Sepulchre

Stone of the Anointment, where they put Jesus after he was taken from the cross (Luke 25:53).

Stations of the Cross - Via Dolorosa -- Mural shows 10-13 Stations. These four stations (Jesus is stripped of his clothes; he is nailed to the cross; he dies; he is taken down from the cross) are all in the place identified as Golgotha -- "Place of the Skull" -- (Calvary). All are within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Last Station of the Cross - Via Dolorosa -- The last station of the cross is the Holy Sepulchre itself. The tomb belonged to Joseph of Arimathea, who asked Pilate for Jesus' body.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre – ceiling – Christ Pantocrator surrounded by 16 figures

Church of the Holy Sepulchre – stairway

Church of the Holy Sepulchre – Golgotha

Church of the Holy Sepulchre – Cross

Holy Sepulchre - Chapel of Adam -- Immediately beneath the Greek Orthodox chapel on Golgotha, this chapel is built against the Rock of Golgotha. Tradition holds that this was the burial place of Adam's skull (See Apocraphal Book of Adam and Eve). Christian tradition holds that Christ was crucified over the burial place of Adam's skull (first recorded by Alexandrian Origen).

Holy Sepulchre - Chapel of Adam -- The crack in the Rock of Golgotha, clearly visible in the apse, is held by believers to have been caused by the earthquake that followed Jesus' death (Matthew 27:51).

Paul at Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre – exterior

Suleyman's Wall -- Jerusalem's walls were built in the first half of the 16th centur (in part on the line of earlier walls) on the order of the Ottoman sultan Suleyman the Magnificent.

Walk on the Ramparts - Terra Sancta [Terra Sancta = Holy Land] Jerusalem Cross indicates Franciscan Order custody of Holy Land.

Walk on the Ramparts - view -- Notice the profusion of aerials and satellite dishes inside the walls, evidence of the large number of people who continue to live in the Old City.

Walk on the Ramparts - rooftops -- At a certain point the level of the rooftops falls below that of the ramparts, affording a fine view of the golden Dome of the Rock.

Walk on the Ramparts - Damascus Gate

Walk on the Ramparts - Jeremiah's Grotto

Paul on a Walk on the Ramparts

Walk on the Ramparts - view of Mt. Olivet

Walk on the Ramparts - Russian Church --In 1885, Tsar Alexander III had this Russian Orthodox church built. It is pleasantly set among trees, and the seven gilded onion domes are among the most striking features of Jerusalem's skyline when viewed from the Old City.

Walk on the Ramparts - view of Dome

Tomb of the Virgin Mary -- An impressive flight of Crusader steps (47) leads into the cruciform underground church. Tradition says this is where the Virgin Mary was laid to rest.

Inside small chapel of Tomb of the Virgin Mary

Tomb of the Virgin Mary -- The first tomb was cut in the hillside here in the 1st century AD. The cruciform crypt as seen today, much of it cut into solid rock, is Byzantine. The Tomb of Mary stands in the eastern branch of the crypt, which is decorated with icons and sacred ornaments typical of Orthodox Christian tradition.

Garden of Gethsemane

Garden of Gethsemane -- Rock at which Jesus supposedly prayed the night of his betrayal. The Church of All Nations is also known as the Church of the Agony because it is built over the rock in the Garden of Gethsemane on which it is believed Jesus prayed the night before he was arrested. In the center of the nave is the rock of the Byzantine church, surrounded by a wrought-iron crown of thorns.

Church of All Nations – mosaic -- The mosaic in the apse represents Jesus' agony.

Church of All Nations – dome -- The present church was built on the foundations of former churches. It was built in 1924 with financial contributions from 12 nations -- hence the church's name and its 12 domes decorated with national coats of arms.

Church of All Nations – mural -- Mural depicting the betrayal by Judas (with a kiss).

Jewish Cemetery -- The Kidron Valley separates the Old City from the Mount of Olives. The valley was also known as the Valley of Jehoshaphat (meaning "Yahweh judges"), where it was believed the dead would be resurrected on the Day of Judgment. For this reason, the valley sides are densely covered with Christian, Jewish and Muslim cemeteries.

Tomb of the Prophets at Mt. Olivet -- An unusual catacomb containing Kokhim (oven-shaped) graves is held by Christian and Jewish tradition to enclose the tombs of the 5th-century BC prophets Haggai, Malachi and Zechariah. The graves actually date from the 1st century AD.

Dominus Flevit chapel at Mt. Olivet -- Dominus Flevit means "the Lord wept." This chapel stands where medieval pilgrims identified a rock as the one on which Jesus sat when he wept over the fate of Jerusalem.

Famous Dominus Flevit window -- The view of the Dome of the Rock from the altar window is fantastic.

Famous Dominus Flevit window -- Close-up of the window.

Dome of the Rock -- View of the Dome of the Rock from Mount of Olives.

Paul at Mount of Olives (Olivet)

Church of the Paternoster at Mt. Olivet -- By Crusader times, the church had been rebuilt three times and the grotto was known as the place where Jesus had taught the disciples the Paternoster (meaning "Our Father"), or Lord's Prayer. Today the 19th-century church and its cloister are famous for the tiled panels inscribed with the Paternoster in more than 60 languages.

Lord's Prayer in Ukrainian

Lord's Prayer in Latin

Lord's Prayer in English (old script)

Chapel of the Ascension at Mt. Olivet -- The chapel became a Muslim shrine after Saladin's conquest in 1187. The adjacent minaret and mosque are 17th century.

Hotel 7 Arches at Mt. Olivet

Hotel 7 Arches at Mt. Olivet (featuring the 7 arches) - probably based on the seven-branched Menorah

The Sun sets over the City of Jerusalem

Sunset view from Mount of Olives

Good-bye - Jerusalem, City of God!

Flying over Tel Aviv

Leaving Tel Aviv, view of Mediterranean Sea (and shoreline)

Good-bye Israel - Shalom!