Israel 2012 – Day 6

Day 6 we headed to the Temple Mount (where the Dome of the rock is located).  We arrived a little early than we have in other locations.  It took about an hour to go through security.  Here is the third most holy spot in Islam (Mosque of Omar), here is a picture as we were walking into the Temple Mount.    I appreciated our bus driver (Uni) as we had to navigate the narrow streets and lots of other tour buses.

Group of armed guards walked by while waiting in line

Entrance for Men (Jewish) and Woman separated.  Tourists could go through the entrance ways, but even if the Men entrance is empty, Jewish women out of respect wouldn’t go through the entrance.

I told Austin to enjoy being able to do this while he was young!!

Security entrance going into the temple mount, they’d do a metal detector and search your bags.

Picture of the Western Wall, this is the most sacred spot for Jewish religion.  It’s the only remaining portion of the second Temple.  When we visited this spot on Saturday morning, we couldn’t take pictures as it was their Sabbath + a holiday (Purim)  I wore head covering (Kippah) or Yarmulke? (I thought it was spelled yamaka) out of a sign of respect.   Men and woman are separated when they go to the wall and pray, the woman’s spot is a little farther down the wall.  It was quite an experience, I was grateful to the worshippers they let tourists come and mingle among them while they are worshipping.    

Here is a couple pictures of the Temple Mount, the area around is quite open and people are “playing tourist”, “worshipping”.  The area is controlled by the Muslims, so there is no digging or archeology happening here.  It would be curious to see what is buried here J since this is where the original temple was located.  I’m not sure all the story why Muslims control this area. 

Dome of the Rock.

Group of soldiers

Dome of the Rock, it wasn’t as shiny as pictures portrayed.  It’s pretty big though.

This became my new favorite place to try to take pictures, it’s the church honoring Mary Magdalene, it was done by the Russians.  I probably took more pictures of this one trying to get a great shot than anything in Jerusalem.  Here are the two best pictures of it.   Directly behind me was the Dome of the Rock, the Garden of Gethsemane is in the general area as the Church.  I think of all things, this was my favorite “building”. J



Always on the lookout for interesting signs, I’ve never seen a sign that had Emergency Entrance, usually it’s Emergency Exit J

This is a game from a place where people would play games, notice the circle with the lines.  The area we were in was a place where they’d question people.  There wasn’t too many spots to take good pictures. 

Here was a group carrying a cross.

I’m sorry, forgot what this was about…There was a couple churches I missed the meaning and explanation.  I could go to Jerusalem again on a guided tour and spend several days revisiting these sites. J

That is an actual street and how they collected garbage

This was the coolest “church” we visited.  It’s called Saint Anne’s church (’s_Church,_Jerusalem) This was to celebrate the birth of Mary (Jesus’s mother).  The reason I liked this we sang “Amazing Grace”, after he “chorus”, we’d pause and the sound would continue to echo.  Have you ever been someplace where you yell and it continues to echo.  Imagine 47 people singing.  It was amazing!

Right outside the church was the Bethesda pools, the place where Jesus healed.  Read John 5:1-8.  The ironic thing, my oldest son Marcus is stationed in Bethesda Maryland for the US Navy! 

Notice the clothes drying in the background?  People live that close to these holy spots. J

This was Stephens gate.  The “first marter” for Christ  Read Acts 6 – 7 for the complete story.  The gate was under construction, so I couldn’t get a good pic with me in it.  My name is spelled Steven, although it’s “close”.  And yes, notice the two cars trying to leave and come into the Old City.  There were more cars than I realized. 

Put picture of the Kidron Valley panoramic

Here is a picture of the Church of All Nations.  Next to it, the left is Garden of Gethsemane.  Notice in the upper right hand corner, the Mary Magdalene church.

This is the cemetery that people believe when Jesus comes back, they’ll be the first to rise. They are buried such that when they “sit up” in their grave they’ll be looking at Jesus.   I recall its 20k per plot!  They have openings.  Remember when I said I appreciated our bus drivers, notice all the buses in the background. 

Kidron Valley panoranmic.  Pretty cool I think J

The next place we headed was some ‘caves’. 

My picture doesn’t show too well, but notice the two holes.  It’s believed to hold people’s hands while they were questions (probably tortured).  It was a surreal spot knowing this could have been a place Jesus was kept.

Remember my comments on churches, there is one dedicated to Peter, when he denied Jesus three times as predicted.

Notice the Crow on top

Here is actual road Jesus did travel while dragging his cross.   They don’t let people walk on it anymore

The Church of Saint Peter in Gallicantu

The next place we visited was the “upper room”.  I didn’t realize two significant things happened here, 1) was the last supper and 2) Jesus appeared in the room after he had came back.   Luke 22:7-23 and Luke 24:36-45

Dr Williams reading scripture


The last place we visited after lunch was the Israel Museum.  It has a Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit and a BUNCH of really old stuff.  Dr Williams was in his element.  They didn’t let us take pictures.  The coolest thing was the replica of Jerusalem (1/50th) size.    By this time of the day, my brain was pretty full listening to all the great information.   (I don’t think I slept much the night before either).  I got lost from the group at the museum, I went on my own little expedition until I ran into the group.  I could just hear our Israel tour guide yelling at me going STEVE!  It would have been done with lots of love!

This picture is from Kim Sutton.  Great pic Kim  The neat thing about this picture, if you have it local, you can really zoom in for a close-up.  I can’t believe the pictures, I wish I knew more how to do stuff in photoshop or Gimp.

Of course, looking out for individual pictures.  I joked, there are tour sizes of all kinds.  The Green bus is the normal size, the moped is the personal tour transportation! 

This ends Day 6, not sure if I have evening pics.  The ancient history lesson by Dr. Williams stories was awesome.  It is one thing to go to Jerusalem, the other is to hear someone with his knowledge.   If you ever plan a trip, I definitely suggest a guided tour with a person who has a lot of background and experience.    When we got back to the hotel, I left the camera and went wandering with a larger group to the old city.  We went shopping, I think I bought seven t-shirts and one sweatshirt.  I bought a 2 XL (XXL) hoping it wouldn’t shrink, it did.  My youngest son got all my shirts.   My wife’s sweatshirt fits (so it wasn’t a total bust)>  I’d love to take them back and say “Hey your Jerusalem cotton shrinks A LOT!”.   Thanks everyone for waiting the 30 minute while I got the shirts printed…

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