Closures and Weird Hours Yet Still Productive

Considering the many unforeseen circumstances this week, I feel like it was very productive. I was faced with closures and weird hours on multiple occasions. Still, I was able to effectively cover the Christian Quarter, the Walls and Gates, and most of the Mount of Olives. In addition, I was able to cover some smaller items.

I started with the Christian Quarter, which is basically code for Constantine’s Holy Sepulchre. When I visited the modern day Holy Sepulchre, which is I knew was smaller than Constantine’s, I thought, “This place is pretty big.” I did not realize how much smaller the modern day Holy Sepulchre is compared to Constantine’s. One can see the modern day Holy Sepulchre on the left side of the image below, recognizable by the two bluish-gray domes. One cannot see is that it extends underground and a third dome is behind the tree.

Holy Sepulchre Panorama Attempt_3 pictures starting at WP_20160614_13_49_20

Now, if Constantine’s Holy Sepulchre was the same size as the modern day version, then one would not see my poor photo-editing skills. I spliced together three pictures I took from the Church of Redeemer’s Tower in an attempt to capture the size of Constantine’s Holy Sepulchre. Major remains of it are located in the building on the lower right side of the image, as well as in the building visible behind the tree. For the most part, the remains of Constantine’s Holy Sepulchre are readily accessible, but the main door of the atrium is located in the back of a store called “Zelatimo’s Sweets.” Unfortunately for me, “Zelatimo’s Sweets” is closed for the month of Ramadan, so I will not be able to see the main door of Constantine’s atrium.

Similarly, when I visited the Damascus Gate, the cafe containing some remains was closed. In addition, the museum at the Damascus Gate was closed for no apparent reason to me. Other than these closures, I was able to cover the Walls and Gates sufficiently. If I have extra time, I will check the Damascus Gate again, but it is not a top priority. More importantly, I planned to visit parts of the Nea Church on the same day I covered the Walls and Gates. When I came to where the remains are located, I found that the area was now a school. I asked around and was told that I probably will be able to see the remains of the Nea Church, but that I will have to get the keys from an office located on the Cardo and visit sometime after 4:30pm. Because of the specific time requirement, I was unable to visit the Nea Church this week, but will definitely try again next week.

My day on the Mount of Olives was probably the most frustrating in terms of closures and weird hours, yet was still rewarding. Almost everything on the Mount of Olives has specific hours that vary with the day of the week. Many places are closed for two and a half hours right in the middle of the day. This made it difficult to prepare and execute a plan, especially since the Mount of Olives is on the far side of the Old City. As I was executing my plan, I was affected by a late reopening and an unforeseen closure. For these reasons, I was unable to visit all of the sites I wanted. It is my hope that I will be able to spend another day on the Mount of Olives. This upcoming week, I do not expect to visit the Mount of Olives again. Instead, I plan on covering the City of David and the Kidron Valley, Mount Sion, the Armenian Quarter, Tombs in the Valleys, and continuing the Western Section of the New City.