Three Days in Jerusalem

I started my journey this week, when I began flying on Tuesday, May 31 but did not arrive in Jerusalem until about noon on Wednesday, June 1. On Thursday, I began my research. I had planned to visit the Citadel, now the Tower of David Museum, but it was closed for some reason. Instead, I decided to visit the Tower of David Museum on Friday, and started with the Muslim Quarter, which included visiting the Monastery of Flagellation, Church of St Anne, Ecce Homo Arch, Antonia Fortress, and Via Dolorosa (a road).

I started at the Monastery of Flagellation with the hopes of going to the archeology museum there. Unfortunately, it was closed, and will remain so for about a year. The rest of the area’s attractions were open, so I spent some time there helping to build my overall understanding. Also helping to build my general understanding were my visits to the Ecce Homo Arch, Antonia Fortress, and Via Dolorosa. These visits have been beneficial, but their true potential is even greater, as I will be able to better place them in context. For example, the Ecce Homo Arch and the Damascus Gate greatly complement each other. The above visits were relatively quick due to their nature, but the opposite was true for my visits to the Church of St Anne and the Tower of David Museum.

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The picture is from my visit to the Church of St Anne, traditionally the birthplace of Mary, mother of Jesus. At the top, one can see the modern day Church of Saint Anne, and in the bottom left one can see a sheltered region that holds mosaics from the Byzantine Church. The bulk of the picture is excavations that cover periods from the third century BCE on. The only disappointment was that the mosaics are not currently being shown, but they may be available to view at the end of June, so I will have to come back. Basically, the entire area shown here was once half of a Byzantine Church. The easiest remains of the Church to see in this picture are columns. I was overjoyed with my time at St Anne because it helped me a lot in understanding and visualizing the things that I have been reading.

Besides the Church of St Anne, I enjoyed visiting the Tower of David Museum. I went on a special tour, only offered on Fridays, in order to see the moat (which contains part of Herod’s swimming pool) and recent excavations. I think it was worthwhile because without the tour I would have missed some interesting places. Because almost everything closes early on Friday, and there is so much to see and learn at the Tower of David Museum, I will have to come back Monday. In addition, next week I plan on visiting the Christian Quarter, Jewish Quarter, Haram esh-Sharif (Temple Mount), and Excavations at the Western Wall Plaza. I may not be able to see all of these things next week, so they may have to wait until the following week.