“There’s a golden phone with a direct connection to God at the Vatican. To make a call, it costs $1,000. And there’s a similar golden phone offering the same service here in Jerusalem, where the same call costs only 25 cents.” When I asked why, he said, “It’s a local call.”Unknown
Jerusalem is complicated even for tourists. Before planning our days the tour guide asked me my religion. We were Jewish and Christian.
The Via Dolorosa is the mile long route that runs through the old city and leads to the place of the crucifixion.
At each of the fourteen stations of the cross, there is a marker or chapel. Pilgrims of all Christian denominations will take this walk which ends at the Church Of The Holy Sepulchre.
The Christian Quarter has about forty Christian sites and was built around the Church Of The Holy Sepulchre. As with other holy sites, dress modestly.
Local guides know that, among Christians interested in seeing Jesus’ tomb, most Protestants prefer the burial chamber outside the walls in the Garden Tomb, while Catholics prefer the tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is built upon the summit of Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified. Because it’s holy for all kinds of Christians, who see things differently and don’t communicate very well, it’s a cluttered religious hodgepodge of various zones, each controlled by a different sect. There are chapels for Greek Orthodox, Franciscans, Coptic Christians, Armenians,etc. There are many arguments.
As you enter, the first sight is the Stone Of Unction which is the place that commemorates where Jesus was anointed before his burial. The stone is always surrounded by pilgrims from all over the world,
On the second floor is the chapel of Calvary. The chapel is divided into two sections: the first one is where it is believed that Jesus was stripped of his clothes and nailed to the cross. In the second section, you can find the Rock of Cavalry, the site of Jesus’ crucifixion. The queues can be long to touch the stone but I have to admit that even though I’m not a Christian, watching people experience this was impressive.
The Greek Orthodox priest who is monitoring lines says “ One hundred are photographing and zero are praying”.
Located under the dome is the Tomb of the Holy Sepulchre which is believed to be the burial-place of Jesus. The queues are even longer here and can be a few hours.
The next day we take a taxi to the top of the Mount Of Olives. It is easier to take a taxi to the top and walk down. There is so much history here and such a beautiful view of the city.
The Mount of Olives has been used as a Jewish cemetery for more than 3,000 years.
Approximately 150,000 Jewish people are buried there including some of the greatest Jewish leaders, prophets, and rabbis of all time.
According to the Gospels, the Garden Of Gethsemane is situated on a slope on the Mount Of Olives.
Gethsemane means olive oil press in Hebrew
. It is here where Jesus and his disciples often went to pray and was betrayed and arrested on the night before his crucifixion.
Some of the world’s oldest olive trees dating back 2000 years are in this spot. When I was younger you could sit under them, now it is fenced in.
A number of Christian churches on the hill mark key events described in the New Testament.
It is peaceful on the Mount of Olives. A large Christian group from Indonesia is walking down near us, stopping everywhere for photos. All these conflicting religions are fighting over a place that is all about beauty and truth.