Sunday, March 30, 2014

Walking the Streets of The Old CIty and The Western Wall Tunnels

Some of the sights we saw as we walked the streets of the Old City:

 This store has an exposed section of the Temple Mount wall.

 Brooms, brushes

 Lots of narrow passageways, lots of cobblestones.

 Cat on a hot tin roof...bada bing.
My first view of the Western Wall, or Wailing Wall:
 A little history:  about 20 BCE, Herod the Great built 4 retaining walls around the alleged Mt. Moriah, where Abraham was commanded by God to kill Isaac, which is where the two Jesish Temples were built.  After the second Temple was ransacked in 70 CE, Romans ruled Jerusalem for about 700 years, then the Muslims.  The Muslims built the Arc of the Dome, because they also trace their religious roots to Abraham.  This is the Muslims third holiest site, next to Mecca and Medina.  There is controversy about where the Temples were, who has rights to the Temple make a long story short, nobody can change anything.  There have been excavations, that prove the site of Solomon's Temple.  We took an underground tour of the part of the Western Wall which was built on.  The tunnels go under the Muslim quarter of the Old City which abut the cannot go under the Temple Mount.  Herod was a megalomaniac, probably died of syphilis...think Henry VIII.  The detail he required was crazy.  Each stone had to be chiseled down 1/4 inch, to give detail.
This one block was like 80 feet long.
 Walking along the wall.
 We entered this vault, which contained a cistern.

 The Western Wall is important to Jews because it is the closest spot to where the Ark was, the Holy of Holies.  Now the Arc of the Dome covers the area...a real sore spot.  To enter the Western Wall area, you have to go through security, the tunnels also.   
The men's side of the Western Wall.
This picture shows the screen that separates the men from the women. 
 The women's side.
 And the minaret from Al Aqsa Mosque, towering above the Western's crazy.  Three major religions in such a small area, all claiming to be THE religion... 
Some ongoing excavation on the most southern part of the Western Wall and the southern wall.
 The Mount Of Olives is seen in the background.
Next up, the Qumran Caves, Masada, Dead Sea.

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