Jerusalem, Part Twosalem

So, this spring has just been crazy busy so far, hasn’t it? Isn’t it time to be sipping cold beer and claras on terraces or something? Because no one has informed me. I’ve been here and there and guiri running and visitor hosting and a little bit of pretending to work in between.

With all of the April and May madness, I’ve barely even thought about my trip to Jerusalem. I started out with a post on a visit to the Western Wall with high hopes of writing a bit more about the trip, but got sidetracked along the way.

Then, I remembered the awesome title I came up with a few weeks ago (most likely after a glass of wine or two) and thought, “how can I just ignore such title greatness? Somebody upload some photos already!”

Via Dolorosa | Jerusalem
The Via Dolorosa is, of course, the path that Jesus walked with the crucifixion cross, 12 stations in all. The first 6 stations run along the via and the last 6 stations are in the site of the crucifixion, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The Sixth Station on the Via Dolorosa
The Third Station on the Via Dolorosa
church of the holy sepulchre
The church of the holy sepulchre, the site of the crucifixion. Also, the church where you always see those crazy fights break out between the six different Christian sects who claim rights to the site.
immovable ladder
See the ladder under the window on the right? Its appropriately called the immovable ladder. It’s believed that the ladder has been in the same exact spot since around the 1750′s. It’s called “the immovable ladder” due to the fact that no property at the church may be moved, rearranged, or altered without the consent of all six Christian orders. Kind of makes you want to move it and put a big, fluffy teddy bear in its place just to freak them all out, doesn’t it?
Stone of Anointing, Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre really deserves its own post, but the history is just so complex and my feeble mind and limited time mean I really wouldn’t be able to do it justice. Anyway, this is the Stone of Anointing, where many people come to pray directly on the stone. According to tradition, the body of Jesus was laid on this stone after it was removed from the cross.
Roof top at the austrian hospice | Jerusalem
I took this photo from the top of the Austrian Hospice located in the muslim quarter. The views from the rooftop are incredible as were the coffee, Sachertorte and apple strudel we devoured on the terrace. If you ever find your way to the Holy City, a rest stop in this place is a great option.
Jerusalem- Crusades Cross
The Crusaders’ Cross is the symbol of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem during the crusades and can be found throughout Israel. We heard quite a few versions of its origen. Due to its combination of five crosses, some think it symbolizes the five wounds of Jesus.  The four smaller crosses are said to symbolize either the four Gospels or the four directions in which the Word of Christ spread from Jerusalem. Our guide told us that the four smaller crosses represent four of the five countries that comprised the Crusades (England, France, Spain and Germany) and the center cross represents Italy and the Pope.
Damascus Gate Jerusalem
The Damascus Gate opens up into the Arab market and is the most imposing of the eight gates in the old city. The gates were built by Turkish Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent as protection. All the gates are still in use today with the exception of the Gate of Mercy, which was closed off by the Sultan for fear of the traditional Jewish belief that the Messiah will one day pass through this gate.
The Dome of the Rock
The only thing I regret about our trip is that we didn’t get to go into the Dome of the Rock area. Non-muslims can’t go in the mosque itself, but they do let a limited number of people per day enter the surrounding area. It’s  supposed to be just spectacular to see in person. We arrived too late to go in and I’ve been kicking myself ever since. Oh well, just an excuse to go back.

Here are a few more random photos of the city:

Streets of Jerusalem
Doesn’t matter where I am in the world, I’m fascinated with people carrying food on their head. I’m going to start carrying pata negra on mine through the streets of Madrid. What do you think?
Spices Jerusalem market
To be honest, I’m not really big into food and spice markets. I’m fine to wander though one now and then, but I get bored pretty quickly. Jerusalem’s market was pretty interesting though and it made for a good stroll.
Jerusalem Spice Market
Muslim Restaurant
Our lunch in the muslim quarter was unbelievable. It was such a simple, non descript place, but damn, they brought out so much food to our table that we couldn’t keep up. The hummus and bab ghanouj were so addictive that I needed hummus detox when I made it back to Madrid.
Mount of Olives
Studies have shown that Jerusalem’s historic Mount of Olives have the oldest olive trees in the world.
Studies have also found that this is the saddest looking donkey in Jerusalem.
Interestingly, studies have also found that this is the saddest looking donkey in Jerusalem.

Anyway, I’ve got a few more things to tell you about Israel. I’ll try to keep it brief, but it’s not easy. Despite its constant conflictive state and the distinct tension that is innate to the country itself, Israel is just so damn intriguing that it’s incredibly hard to describe my experience of traveling there.

Oh well, maybe I’ll just stick with ‘your mom’ insults and silly donkey jokes…

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2 Responses to Jerusalem, Part Twosalem

  1. I’ve wanted to go to Jerusalem so baddddddd since I was a kid! We have neighbors who are Greek Orthodox, and the father is a priest. They’d show us their pictures from all of their trips to Holy Places and I was immediately stuck by Jerusalem. Was it hard to get to?

    • Hamatha says:

      Hi Cat,

      No, it wasn’t hard to get to at all. We flew into Tel Aviv and took a taxi to the Old City. You should go if you get the chance. It’s certainly unique – not exactly beautiful by most standards, but it’s a fascinating place to see. Seeing the Ultra Orthodox religions just walking around on the street was just so surreal. I’ve seen photos and knew what to expect, but I’ve never seen anything like Friday night at the Western Wall.

      Let me know if you need any help with planning a trip. We stayed at a great hotel and hired a guide for a few days that took us to a few places like the Sea of Galilee, Belen, and Masada. It’s definitely worth it to go, especially if you’re into history at all.

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