27 – Jerusalem – The Old City

The Old City refers to the part of Jerusalem that still has the old wall around it. It covers roughly 220 acres and the walls date back to Suleiman the Magnificent in the Ottoman Empire (1520-1566).

The Old City has a total of eleven gates, but only seven are open. One of the closed gates is the Golden Gate, just below the Temple Mount on the east side. It is only visible from outside the city. According to Jewish tradition, when the Messiah returns, he will enter this gate. In order to prevent his return, Muslims sealed up the gate. Apparently they never read the Scriptures. The Bible says that Jesus will enter the gates He once walked through. Since Sueilman’s gates didn’t exist in Jesus’ day, this can’t be the gate He will return to. But it was nice of them to think of the Messiah anyway.

The Old City is divided into four neighborhoods, which are named according to the ethnic affiliation of most of the people who live in them. These quarters form a rectangular grid, but they are not equal in size. The dividing lines are the street that runs from Damascus Gate to the Zion Gate — which divides the city into east and west — and the street leading from the Jaffa Gate to Lion’s gate — which bifurcates the city north and south. Entering through the Jaffa Gate and traveling to David Street places the Christian Quarter on the left. On the right, as you continue down David Street, you’ll enter the Armenian Quarter. To the left of Jews Street is the Muslim Quarter, and, to the right, is the Jewish Quarter.

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The Jewish Quarter is usually clean. The Muslim Quarter .. well, we’ll just say the Jewish Quarter is clean. And I probably wouldn’t recommend wandering around the Muslim Quarter by yourself.This map shows the City of David in the lower right, along with the Pool of Siloam (Hezekiah’s Tunnel ends there). You can see Via Dolorosa in the center and the Western Wall on the west side of the Temple Mount where the Dome of the Rock sits today. Gethsemane is on the far right. What this doesn’t show clearly is that there is a huge valley between the Temple Mount and Gethsemane. It’s called the Kidron Valley.

For a series of diagrams showing the city of Jerusalem through the ages, be sure to visit the Jerusalem Ages link.

For more on this, be sure to see the movie clip section.

This is a section of the wall that Nehemiah built when he returned from exile in Babylon. Took him 52 days to finish the wall. That’s a lot of rocks in 52 days. It stood some 20+ feet high. To see its location relative to the rest of Jerusalem, be sure to visit the Jerusalem Ages pages.
A Greek mosaic of the ancient city of Jerusalem.
Archaeologists had to tunnel down below existing buildings in order to uncover the mysteries of the past. In this spot, for example, are some apartment buildings above ground. This site is directly under those apartments.
No one mistook me for a Jew. I wonder why. If you don’t have a hat when you come here, they have small cardboard hats you can (must!) wear.

This is the part of the Western Wall that’s outdoors. To the north is Wilson’s Arch (and below that is the Rabbinical Tunnel where we saw the rest of the foundation of the Temple Mount). The ceiling of Wilson’s Arch is 25′, but back in Jesus’ day, when the ground was lower, it was around 75′ high.

(For more on this, be sure to see the movie clip section)

Maybe if I got one of those head-box-scripture things they might mistake me for a Jew.Have you ever priced them on eBay? They’re outrageous!

This is inside Wilson’s Arch.

There are several alcoves containing small libraries in here. Not sure what they’re for.
Wilson’s Arch. Men only.
Observant Jews come in all shapes and sizes.
The entrance to Wilson’s Arch is just to the right at the base of the flagpole.At the wall, men and women pray in separate sections. Men on the left, women on the right. We saw some people (both men and women) praying in the Rabbinical Tunnel. There’s a spot 1/2-way along the tunnel where people believe is the closest spot to where the Temple actually stood.

(For more on the Wailing Wall, be sure to see the movie clip section)

Israelis with machine-guns are everywhere. Both in-uniform and out of uniform.Jews are required to serve in the military and when they’ve finished their service, they keep their gun. It’s not uncommon to see parents or grandparents with a machine-gun while tagging along with their kid’s school field-trips. If anything violent happens, I bet it doesn’t last long.
That would be the same guy from the movie “Schindler’s List”.
Bethlehem is visible from Jerusalem. It’s controlled by Palestinians. Despite the bickering, the Israeli-built wall has resulted in a downward trend in violent crime in Jerusalem. I guess the moral of the story is this: when you stop law-breaking outsiders from coming in, good things happen.Not all Muslims live in Palestinian-controlled areas. In fact, quite a few Arabs and Muslims live in Jerusalem. Many of them are Israeli citizens.
Flying Israeli flags is not at all uncommon. In fact, most houses and businesses flew an Israeli flag. Or two. Or more.
The Temple Mount as seen from the south, with the golden Dome of the Rock (which is not a mosque) and the al-Aksa mosque (small gray dome). They were built in the 7th century. The dome is bright polished gold, a clarion call to all who see it to convert to Islam.
Ummmm.. No thanks. That’s the Kidron Valley on the right (east). The Mount of Olives and Garden of Gethsemane is further east, just off the photo. The City of David is roughly in the very center of this photo. Bathsheba’s house would have been in the lower right corner of this photo.