Monday, September 29, 2014

Visiting Jerusalem

Standing at the Mt of Olives Cemetery
Sarah and a tired camel 
Our last destination, Jerusalem, was probably the most exciting, the most diverse, and the most holiest place we visited.  Jersulem is the capital of Israel and the most populous. It also acquires the most diverse people and religions.  Jerusalem has been the holy city for three different religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Muslim.  Jews believe that this holy city was the religious and political center during the biblical times.  Christians believe it to be the holy city because Jesus' crucifixion occurred in Jerusalem. Muslims deem this city as holy because the Prophet Muhammad rose to heaven from there.  All three religions have prospered in this one small but holy city, Jerusulem.  

Jerusalem has so many important sites that we visited the city twice to ensure we had time to see all the famous places. On both of the days that we visited, we had to where knee length dresses or skirts, and shirts that covered our shoulders for modesty.  The first day we visited, we went through an underground tunnel to look at the western wall from below.  During the biblical times, the city was actually much lower than it is today and so to see the actual streets, we had to go undergound. It was frightening walking underground, but then too see how huge each brick of the western wall was, just gave me the chills.  Its hard to believe that a brick the size of my stretched out arms,  could be lifted up and used to build the temple and its surrounding walls. After the underground tour of the western wall, we got to visit the remaining part of the wall today.  In the car on the way to Jerusalem, my mother gave us a small 
piece of paper to write our wishes, 
hopes and prayers for the future. 
We stuck the small papers into an already full wall of notes and observed the people praying to God at the Western Wall.   

Western Wall
The next day, we visited the city of David and walked through Hezekiah's Tunnel, a tunnel filled with fresh chilly spring water.  This hidden spring was a place where kings were coronated and an eerie dark feeling crept up my body as I started the long trek through a pitch black tunnel.  The first step into the spring water sent me shivering, but after a while, my body got used to the cool temperature as we silently, continued walking.  The water has flowed since the time of the Prophets and with our weak lit flashlights we saw the ancient shafts, walls, and fortresses of the city of David.  The city of David was the foundation of the holy city of Jerusalem.

Narrow streets and white stone buildings of Jerusalem 
The opening of the water tunnel

Under the Western Wall. Look at the size of those bricks!