Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Jerusalem: the Old City tour

It was day six of our amazing journey through Israel, when we explored the Old City of Jerusalem. The tour began on Temple Mount where we learned about the two ancient temples that have since been destroyed, along with the recent Dome of the Rock that resides on top of the mount. 

Dome of the Rock

When we first arrived on Temple Mount, Amir discussed the significance of the courtyard that now holds a beret of broken Corinthian columns. This area had special significance to Christianity since this was where Jesus entered into Jerusalem for the first time. He was obviously outraged at the behavior being exhibited in the holy city that he pushed over the “sinners” tables in disgust. Just one of many religious stories that took place on the Temple Mount. Over the years this location has become sacred to all of the monotheistic religions. The Muslims are now in control of this area and I must say they take excellent care in preserving this holy site. It remains a place of worship to many Muslims living in and around Jerusalem, along with many Muslims from all over the world, travelling to this scared spot. There was a sense of peace and social cohesion throughout. After experiencing such a magnificent site, I expected all the other holy sites throughout the Old City to be on par.

As we walked the Via Dolorosa and observed the fourteen Stations of the Cross on our way to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, I expected to be overwhelmed with emotion due to my Catholic upbringing. 

Instead, I was gravely disappointed at the chaotic atmosphere of the street and church. I expected the church to be more sacred, but instead there were hundreds of people walking around, pushing to get to the different areas, virtually mayhem. The direct opposite of what I wanted to see in the holiest spot for Christians. After studying and living in Rome which was surrounded by grand Cathedrals, I guess I just expected the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to be equal if not more prestigious than Saint Peters Cathedral. 
This is the site of the crucifixion?

The location of the crucifixion and the burial site of Jesus are two pivotal moments in Christianity, it is just a shame at how it is being displayed. All in all, I am not a Catholic because of the preservation of churches. Regardless of how disappointed I was at the Christian sites in the Old City, it is important to see and experience all the religions and understand the differences and similarities amongst Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in order to create and increase religious tolerance. Ignorance derives from a lack of education. 

1 comment:

  1. Hey Laura, amazing blog. With no doubt I can say that Jerusalem is a city of overwhelming emotions, a city that promises a religious and spiritual experience, excitement and pleasure, interesting tours and entertaining adventures. I have spent their 2 weeks with my friends through Jerusalem is also very important to Christianity, as Jesus Christ lived and died here. Jerusalem’s heart is the Old City, which is surrounded by a wall and divided into four quarters - Jewish, Armenian, Christian, and Muslim. Inside the walls the Western Wall, which is holy to the Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount are available. I advice to all they should have once a travel trip to Jerusalem in their entire life time to experience the all the religions and understand the differences and similarities amongst Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.