Wednesday, January 7, 2009

PJ in Jerusalem?


I had the opportunity a few weeks ago (before the present rukus got going) to spend the day in Jerusalem. Work was kind of slow so four of us chartered a guide and did the tourist thing. Starting in the morning it was about a 2 hour drive from Haifa to Jerusalem.

The first place we stopped was the Mount of Olives. There is an excellent view of the old city from here.
The Golden Mosque is of course the Dome Of The Rock. Could say that the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religions got their start here. This is the place where Abraham was supposed to sacrifice his son but God allowed him to sacrifice a sheep instead (at the last minute). We were not allowed to get too close to this Mosque or the Al- Aksa Mosque so this photo will have to do. The shiny roof was donated by the King of Jordan in 1994

Next stop was the garden of gesthemane (hope I got the spelling). For Christians this was where Jesus was arrested. Some of the olive trees here are well over 1000 years old!

Going down the hill and across the street we finally got to the old city itself

The old city is pretty much in a constant state of reconstruction/excavation.

The western wall - ladies on the right, men on the left. This is apparently all that remains of the 2nd temple of Solomon after the Romans got through with it.

The Via Dolorosa. This is the route that Christ took to his execution. The Christians have helpfully broken it up into several (14) stations with souvenir shops and a small chapel at each one. My hand is in an impression of the rock created where Jesus apparently steadied himself by placing his hand on the wall. Jesus must have had really really big hands.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Doesn't look like much from the outside but the inside is something else again....Much like a tartus unit. I was curious about the ladder(upper right) and later on I found out that it had been sitting on that ledge for over 150 years! How cool/retarded is that? The keys to the door to the chuch have been in the same family since the time of Saladin.

The same church from the inside. My camera can't really do justice here. The whole interior is domes and arches.

Whats this you are wondering? Its the crux of the biscuit imho.

This is apparently a scale model of the planned 3rd Temple. And the small print on the left says: "Buy now before the temple is rebuilt and the prices go up". And guess where this temple is planned to be built....Won't that stir up the Anthill? Can't see this happening anytime soon but there is an element of the population of Israel that wants to see it happen.

Jerusalem as seen from the Old City. Its really quite amazing to see how all of this was built in such rugged country. And its more than a little ironic that a place with such religious significance of three major world religions is such a source of contention between them.

Hope you enjoyed the show.



Rob Baiton said...

What is it that you do that when work is slow you charter a guide and spend the day in Jerusalem? :D

rima fauzi said...

o man it's beautiful! i wish to go there someday..
why weren't u allowed near the mosque?

pj said...

Rob - I do oilfield services. I won't go into too much detail as it gets dry quickly.I was hoping to put some aspects my work into some postings - will see how that turns out.Although I work globally so I was really quite surprised when I got the call to come here - usually I'm up and down west africa. Timing couldn't be worse eh.

Rima - Honestly I did not ask! I think this a politically sensitive issue for the Israelis and Palestinians. Not everyone gets acess to the Dome and non-muslims would be at the end of the queue. Either that or my guide was feeding me porky pies.

Honestly you need a week or two to really get a feel the old city. Every house and boulder has a story to it. I'm hoping for another trip - this time to galilee for bread and fish.