Week Near the Western Wall

As I began thinking about this week’s blog post last night, I wondered about the picture I would use. I could not think of one that would work well, so I hoped I would be able to take the picture today. I was wrong about that. My problem was that I did and saw so much, but could not think of one moment that really stood out or a specific unifying theme. I started going through all the pictures I took this week, then I saw this picture I took on Wednesday, and I knew that this was the picture that best sums up my week.

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Although I started my week at the Tower of David Museum, I spent the rest of my time in the vicinity of the pictured area, the Western Wall. The golden dome in the top-left-center is the Dome of the Rock on the Haram esh-Sharif, or the Temple Mount. The wooden bridge in the center allows one to reach Moor’s Gate, the only access point to the Temple Mount for non-Muslims. The Western Wall is the wall of the Temple Mount, the wall attached to the wooden bridge. I visited all of these this week. (Note: I was not allowed inside any buildings on the Haram esh-Sharif.)

What I visited just outside the pictured region was more interesting to me though. Just barely out of the picture to the left is the entrance to the Western Wall Tunnel. The excavations there are quite interesting, mostly covering the Roman Period, but also other periods as well. Off the right side of the picture, at the southwest corner of the Temple Mount, is the Jerusalem Archaeological Park and Davidson Center. My time there was well spent. The center’s excavations cover the First Temple Period on to the present. In the past, it was possible to walk through a house from the Byzantine Period. Unfortunately, the entry is now blocked, but I was still able to take a good look at it. These two locations were both very informative.

Also informative was the time I spent in the Jewish Quarter, behind me in the picture. I was not quite able to cover all of the locations on my list for the Jewish Quarter because of the timing of openings and closings, but I did cover the majority of top priorities. I visited the old Israelite and Hasmonean Walls, the Burnt House Museum (Katros House), the Wohl Museum of Archaeology (Herodian Quarter), an old paved street, and most importantly the Cardo Maximus. I will definitely cover the Nea Church next week, and finish the rest of the Jewish Quarter if I have time. I will also cover as much as I can of the Christian Quarter, the Mount of Olives, the Walls and Gates, and the Western Section of the New City.