Saturday, April 5, 2014

Old City, City of David, the "Shuk"

Because there were a few of us who were interested in fabric, our guide Ron took  us to one of five shops in the world that can still purchase Syrian silk.  Everybody was amazed by the beauty and quality of the fabrics.  I bought a jacquard silk scarf pour moi, and a table runner for my in laws.  I could have gone home with bolts of fabric.

 As we walked through the city to the gate that would lead us to the City of David, a few sights...mosaics
the 3000 year old wall that surrounded the original Temple 
 synagogue next to a mosque.
The City of David, the original settlement, was built about 1000 BCE, on the south side of the hill, with the 1st Temple on the top.
 Looking at the south wall of the city and Temple mount from the City of David.  The Jewish people always believed they would be attacked from the north (Romans, Syria, Iran...) so the northern walls were always higher, and their homes on the other side.

 The Kidron Valley, to the east side of the Old City. 

Excavation has is controversial, as to whether the land should be disturbed.  This was probably a palace, because of its size, number of rooms, view of the valley. 

 A toilet.
 While we were listening to our site guide, we heard popping noises, coming from a Palestinian area.  We all looked to Ron, our guide, who told us it was just fireworks.  He pulled out his phone, started searching for info.  The noised continued, a helicopter came, and buzzed around in circles.  More popping, more buzzing, it was hard to concentrate on the passionate guide.  We left, headed toward our bus stop.  Ron told us some kids were probably shooting something up at the helicopter, of course the helicopter knew how to be out of range.  Fridays are a "big" day in Jerusalem.  Arabs are required to go to Mosque, and it is the Sabbath, so the police make a presence.  There were about 10 of these vans, loaded with munitions, about 2 police for each.  We saw them as they were leaving the area, pulling off their kevlar, etc. These guys made me feel safe, when Israeli security acts, it acts.

On our way to the old Jewish market, the Shuk, we got a good view of the security wall that separates Israel from a Section A area, which is Bethlehem.  We saw more of this the next day. 
We arrived to the market, which was a bustling, fun outdoor expanse of streets, lined with stalls.  Because the Sabbath was approaching, the prices were falling on all perishables.  Those that didn't sell would go to the poor. 

Fresh many people don't know that garlic is supposed to be purple?
We went back to the hotel and had a final dinner with our group.  Almost all travelers left after midnight...we had all day Saturday, so we arranged for a driver/guide.  Tomorrow, south to Herodium.

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