We woke up bright and early to make our pilgrimage to the Temple Mount in anticipation of the long queue of visitors like us (there was a long queue when we arrived). We were informed the day before to avoid carrying backpacks as security is extremely tight in this place and bringing one would cause delays at the security check. And when I say security is tight, it really is (just imagine passing by law enforcement officers with guns strapped on less than a metre of space between us and they were all sitting in a single file on the bridge that would take us into the place).
The Temple Mount is a site which holds special significance to the Jews and Muslims. It is also the place where Jesus was presented in the Temple by His earthly parents Joseph and Mary and later stayed behind to debate with the teachers. It’s now a mosque and as you can see there are Arabic writings on the tiles. Fun fact: See the dome at the top of the mosque? Its measurements and dimensions were modelled from a similar dome of a church nearby.
You wouldn’t believe how many visitors come by the Temple Mount each day but I managed to get a clear shot void of any tourist!
This is the Dome of the Tablets/Spirits and there’s a theory that this dome marks the site of the Holy of Holies in the Second Temple, as the east-west line aligning the Mount of Olives with the Eastern Gate and the Temple cuts through this very location.
You wouldn’t believe that there’s a mini protest happening while we were there. I couldn’t hear what they say but it seems that the people were against tourists visiting the place. =S
Sometimes the access to the Temple Mount is restricted due to protests happening (and apparently one took place a day or so before), so it seems like Daddy God aligned everything so that we can visit this holy place. :)
There are several cats within the premises, I can’t help but snap many pictures of them!
Remember the pool of Bethesda in the Bible? Bethesda means House of Mercy, and this is where people would wait to be the first one into the waters after it was stirred by an angel. This is the same spot where Jesus healed a paralytic of 38 years :)
I really like this particular kitty!
Yet another kitty!
We then had lunch before we went to check out the Via Dolorosa, which means the Way of Suffering in Latin. We went underground first, to see the markings which by now had become faint. Avi was trying to show us that there are inscriptions of the battalion’s symbol and a crown of thorns on the flagstone.
The circular discs seen on the buildings mark the various spots on the path.
As we walked the path, I could imagine that it was a very busy street that Jesus walked through then.
Another picture of a kitty.
It seriously is a very busy place and it’s of utmost importance to stick close to your group/guide as there are many tour groups around.
Too many cats around in this place!
Oh yes, we spotted little children and adults alike dressed up like it’s Halloween, but it’s not – it’s Purim (Festival of Lots)! I can’t believe our trip coincided with one of their Jewish holidays and we get to see them celebrate it. :D
Purim is a celebration of the deliverance of the Jews from Haman (you can read it in the Book of Esther). The tradition of dressing up is based upon the way Esther concealed her Jewish identity at the beginning. Some of their costumes really deserve awards! I saw this particular guy’s costume that was of someone who’s in the portaloo and it’s really darn good!
Bob the Tomato from VeggieTales!
This is a replica of a temple menorah and it’s been fashion from one piece of solid metal – gold. If my memory didn’t fail me, the original one had been taken away to Rome but its whereabouts to this date still remain unknown.
I spy with my little eye, I see a dog in there!
This is the road that Jesus walked on 2000 years ago. WOW.
A mosaic map of Jerusalem back in the days. It’s pretty cool how they actually managed to match the location of places of the past to the current day Jerusalem.
We then had some time to spend at the Jewish Quarters. It’s filled with many stores and art galleries.
Look the star of the framed picture sitting in front! After I snapped this picture, many others followed suit hahaha
I wasn’t joking about the level of security in this place. Here we have some Israeli soldiers near the Western Wall.
Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. ~ 2 Chronicles 7:15
So, we were at the Western Wall (also known as Wailing Wall) which is part of the remaining wall from the time of the Second Temple surrounding the Temple’s courtyard. This is the most sacred and the holiest spot in Jerusalem after the Holy of Holies. Men and women are segregated to pray at different portions of the wall, with the men wearing a kippah before doing so. As I struggled to make my way to the wall. I see ladies rocking themselves standing with their faces in their copies of Torah, wailing. Some of them were reading the Torah with their hand on the wall. As I got closer, the ladies exiting walked backwards from the wall (it’s their custom). When I finally reached the wall, I placed my finger on the wall (with the help of my tourmates because it’s just too crowded!!), said my silent prayers and left. I also observed many notes containing written prayers were left in the crevices of the wall.
Interesting note: There’s a live cam streaming the happenings at the wall and you can check it out here!
Southern Wall – built during King Herod’s time. It’s made of limestone and it can be easily identified that the style was Herodian by the margins of the block with a slightly raised centre.
At the Southern Steps, and we had a short sharing over here. Jesus climbed these very steps when He visited the Temple and this is the place where 3,000 were saved and baptised in the Holy Spirit!
With that, we ended our day of sightseeing :)