A Travellerspoint blog

Last day on Israel

It's a nasty day. Cold, wet, windy but we headed out early to get in line to The Dome of the Rock. Hours are limited and even in the rain the line was long. We enjoyed watching the Bar Mitzvah processions heading to the Western Wall. Lots of singing and dancing before the solemness of the actual ceremony at the wall. We didn't get in by the 10:30am cut off so we moved on to see the Church of the Holy Sepulcre. This is arguably the most sacred place for Christians. It is the location of Jesus crucifixion, preparation for burial and the cave tomb. Built around all of this is a magnificent church/cathedral that has seperate churches for several Coptic religions and Catholic. After spending some time here we headed back to the line for The Dome of the Rock. This is Muslim controlled and security is tight which is part of the reason for the line moving slowly. While in line we started chatting with a young American who is Jewish and had been on a special trip for any Jew under the age of 26. It is a free trip, paid by a Jewish foundation so that young Jews can experience Israel. He was on his own for a few more days and seeing the sites in The Old City. So we finally make it to security and two of our group are denied entry because the have crucifixes they had purchased as gifts for family. They had to put them in a holding locker before they were allowed in. Our young friend was questioned for several minutes about why he wanted to visit the site, had to show his passport etc. But he did get through. Once passed security you walk up a wooden bridge. Near the top there is riot gear stored for easy access if needed. The Dome of the Rock is a beautiful structure that presumably covers/protects the "rock." The first thing that God ever created. Some believe the Ark of the Covenant is also buried here so it is the Holy of Holies as well. Only Muslims are allowed in and visitors are closely monitored to ensure no one touches the building. There is also an ancient mosque on the site and no one but Muslins are allowed entry. We left there and headed off to lunch at a falafel place near the Fifth station on Via Delarosa. Once again the food was plentiful and yummy. Good thing I am doing a lot of walking! We went our separate ways for the rest of the day. I wandered around for a bit more and then headed to the South Rampart walk. The ramparts are the walkway at the top of the walls complete with lookout points and areas big enough for weaponry used over the centuries to protect/defend the city. We had a lovely closing meeting where we each shared our impressions of the trip and then over to a restaurant off of Jaffa St for our farewell dinner. A few intrepid folks continued on to a New Years Eve party but the rest of us headed back to the hotel in a downpour. Soaked but happy we said our goodbyes. Even though this group was all mych younger than I, I know we will all keep in touch and maybe even travel together again.

Dome of the Rock view

Dome of the Rock view


Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock


The mosque at Dome of the Rock

The mosque at Dome of the Rock


Streets of Old Jerusalem

Streets of Old Jerusalem


Information

Information


Excavation in Old Jerusalem

Excavation in Old Jerusalem


"Old" street scene

"Old" street scene


Put yourself in the scene

Put yourself in the scene


Another street in Old Jerusalem

Another street in Old Jerusalem


Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre


Inside the Church

Inside the Church


Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre


Where Jesus was prepared for burial

Where Jesus was prepared for burial


The dome inside Holy Sepulchre

The dome inside Holy Sepulchre


Inside the church

Inside the church


Crusade columns in Church of Holy Sepulchre

Crusade columns in Church of Holy Sepulchre


Stairs up to the South Ramparts

Stairs up to the South Ramparts


To the Ramparts

To the Ramparts


The South Ramparts

The South Ramparts


Mt. of Olives view from South Ramparts

Mt. of Olives view from South Ramparts

Posted by CWalts 17:00 Archived in Israel

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