Saturday, 12 February 2011

Jerusalem Part 2 - Day 6


So today we made it to the most sacred and controversial site in the whole of Jerusalem - Temple Mount! Woohoo!

Dan Hotel in Jerusalem - just the driveway.

(On a completely different tangent - have you seen the videos of the supposed 'UFO' descending and then ascending on Temple Mount? I'm pretty sure it's a hoax.)

But anyway, back to the topic here.

On day 6, we visited Temple Mount and the Western Wall in Jerusalem. It was freezing that day and everyone was huddled in layers of clothing. I was in a dilemma as to whether to keep my hands in my pockets where it was infinitely warmer or bring out out into the wind and cold to take pictures! I think in the end pictures won out though, since it was sort of once in a blue moon trip! My fingers were frozen stiff after though!

Yep, mine is the only one with gloves - although I bet everyone else was wishing it was theirs instead! ;)
Picture by Zhu Ping Loh.

Red Riding Hoods visit Jerusalem - look out, wolf!
Picture by Zhu Ping Loh.

Yup. Hair all mussed up from the wind!

The Temple Mount is is one of the most controversial sites in the world. It is special to many Jews because it was the site of the first and second Temple. Some also believe that it will be the site of the final Temple. The Temple is however also special to the Muslims because the Dome of the Rock is built there. The Dome of the Rock is believed to be the spot from which their prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.

Picture by Zhu Ping Loh.

Must be a Qur'an study?

A little further out, there were a lot of excavated findings. This is just one of the door entrances that must have belonged to the wall? It's actually quite a small archway. I don't think the typical Aussie would be able to walk through without stooping. I can of course because I'm not a typical Aussie. :D

Guess what? You're right. It's a toilet... no really, it is.

The Temple Mount is built on Mount Moriah (where Abraham nearly sacrificed Isaac and also where Jesus stayed behind to talk with the elders and priests of the Temple after his parents had left the Temple)

Picture by Zhu Ping Loh.

We also visited the Western Wall (aka Wailing Wall) on that same day. The Wall is divided into 2 sections. Only men were allowed in the left part of the wall, and only women were allowed to pray at the right end of the Western Wall. There were bits of paper stuck all over the wall - in every nook, cranny and crevice. White bits, yellow pieces, pink slips and what not. You name it. There were also white plastic chairs placed just in front of the wall for women to sit on and pray in front of the wall (those not able to stand for long periods of time). Silence was observed when one was standing in front of the wall - everyone prayed fervently but quietly. Also, after prayer, it is tradition and etiquette (I suppose) to back away from the wall. One was not allowed to turn their back to the Wall. I guess it was sort of like bowing out of a Chinese Emperor's presence - one didn't just turn and walk away. Well, I had to learn that the hard way. I didn't know about that until I had walked about 4-5 meters away from the wall, and there was this middle-aged lady who keep signalling a circle to me. She didn't say a word! I just stared at her blankly, like - are you talking to me? what are you saying? SPEAK! Yeah well, I eventually got the message that I was meant to walk backwards. Awkward.

I really like this picture. I think it's very touching - especially when you think about how much this Wall means to the Jews - and the reality of war in their lives. Any day, any moment could be their last - or that of a loved one.

Adam and John Tay at the Wailing Wall.

Subsequently, later in the afternoon, we visited the Jewish Quarters. I guess this was more like the suburbian area for the Jews? There still were tourist shops in that area, but the stuff there were sold at much cheaper prices than those in the more 'touristy' areas.

Houses in the Jewish Quarter
Picture by Zhu Ping Loh.

Picture by Zhu Ping Loh.


While at the Jewish Quarters, we were taken to visit the Burnt House Museum. This is the remains of a house in Jerusalem, probably belonging to a rich Jewish family before it was destroyed by the Roman soldiers in 70 AD. Archaeologists found a kitchen, work rooms and a small ritual bath. There were also some interesting other remains dug up at the site.

A picture of archaeological findings at this site. In the bottom right picture you can see a girl's arm and a broken spear head. Picture by Zhu Ping Loh.

The basement of the Burnt House - where the girl's arm bone and spear head were found.


Picture by Zhu Ping Loh.

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