Posted by: englishdubai | March 31, 2007

And did those feet in ancient time

In the last nine months since moving from the UK to Dubai I have been privileged to go a number of places I thought it would be unlikely I would ever visit. One of the places that was furthest from my mind about this time last year was Jerusalem.

As a regular British lad growing up through the eighties and nineties some of the major history making events kind of brushed passed my attention as merely something to occupy the ITN news. Even the Falklands war, the falling of the Berlin wall and the first Gulf War were distant events brought to my lounge by the ever present Trevor McDonald and Kate Adie. The situation in the middle east over the disputed territories and recent military action in and around Beirut comes into razor focus when you live in the region.

On my guided tour to the city last week I was amazed that three major religions intersect into a very small piece of geography over a period of thousands of years. Wikipedia as usual has a concise account of the history.

For the day of my tour of Jerusalem we had a personal guide who as well looking after tourists had a part-time job as an archaeologist – the chap was a walking encyclopaedia and seemed to know nearly everyone. The first stop on our tour was the Mount of Olives. This offered magnificent panoramic views of the ancient walled city of Jerusalem. The gold dome you can see is the Dome of the Rock.

We then drove down towards the ancient city and got to take a short walk to see the Western Wall which is also known as the “Wailing Wall”

Walking around the walled city was fun and I often felt like I was on a movie set, half expecting someone to be jumping between the roof tops. Here is a shot of the main market street:

The array of goods on sale was quite remarkable:

As a Christian the thing that caught my attention the most was our visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This church was built up on the ground where Jesus was crucified according the new testament.

The picture below shows one of the altars – this one marks the spot of the crucifixion. It was quite an emotional time for myself visiting this and I had to take a few moments to take all of it in:

The Stone of the Anointing, believed to be the place where Jesus’ body was prepared for burial. It has a smell of rose oil on touching it:

Below is the The Edicule of the Holy Sepulchre – here it is believed that this was the Tomb of Christ:

It was an intense experience visiting all of these places. The history and intersection of Christianity, Islam and Judaism making for a visit that will be hard to forget if somewhat humbling.

The super tour guide we had used the phrase “mind boggling” a number of times during our trip – looking back I could not agree with him more.


%d bloggers like this: