We started off our first day of the “official” tour of Israel by getting a great view of the Temple Mount from behind the Mount of Olives. As you can see from the picture, even now, they are still adding more graves in the cemetery.
It has been a Jewish cemetery for over 3,000 years and holds over 150,000 graves. It costs approx. $22,500 for a burial plot. https://www.touristisrael.com/mount-of-olives/27213/
After our bird’s eye view of this biblical land, we visited the City of David and the Pools of Siloam. The tour guide provided by Archaeological Paths, Imre, is very knowledgeable, but for this part of the tour, we had the archeologist who was in charge of the excavation of this site as our guide Eli Shukron.
I will say he beamed a huge smile of pride when I pointed to a picture located at the entrance to the exhibit of a small golden bell and said “Your find.” Eli then asked me how did I know about this since he did not even start his lecture, I replied, “I read.”
Pro Tip: Always read or watch videos on the places you will visit before any trip. It makes the visit much more exciting. http://www.cityofdavid.org.il/en/archeology/finds/golden-bell
It was fantastic to hear from the man himself the history, culture, science, and archaeology of the place where Jesus healed the blind man. https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-sites-places/biblical-archaeology-sites/the-siloam-pool-where-jesus-healed-the-blind-man/
After Eli’s talk, we were given a choice to go through either Hezekiah’s Tunnel that was constructed in 7th century BCE, is approx 600 yards long, and has up to 18” of water in it, or the Canaanite Tunnel built in 18th century BCE, approx. 583 yards long, and had no water in it. Anyone who knows me should know which one I picked, the more adventurous wet tunnel. I am on tour with 8 other lovely ladies, but everyone else decided the dry tunnel was best for them. I did not mind, I would have gone alone, but Imre joined me, and Eli took the rest of the group through the dry tunnel.
Here is a little history on tunnels:
“When Jerusalem was preparing defenses against the approaching Assyrian army in the 8th century B.C.E., King Hezekiah decided to protect the water source by diverting its flow deep into the city with an impressive tunnel system. “It was Hezekiah who stopped up the spring of the water of Upper Gihon, leading it downward west of the City of David; Hezekiah prospered in all that he did.” (http://www.cityofdavid.org.il/en/virtual_tour/hezekiah%E2%80%99s-tunnel-city-david
I took a video of my enjoyable water journey, but it is too long to post presently(approx. 15 min). Perhaps when I get back, I can speed it up and post it, but here is an excellent video on the experience.
After this, we also got to see the ancient road that goes from the city of David up to Temple Mount that is presently being excavated.
We then headed up to the Wailing Wall. I internally reflected and looked to see if my placed prayers from yesterday’s visit were still in place. The answer is yes, and they should remain there until the head Rabbi for the area decides all the cracks on the wall are too full to place anymore. He will have them removed and have them buried forever in the Mount of Olives cemetery.
After lunch, we then waded through tons of other tourists, worshipers, members of the clergy to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Last but far from least, we had a private tour of the Israel Museum with a curator who is also an Archaeology specialist of the Archaeological Wing. We then went to see the display of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
About the White Shrine and the Black Wall.
“The contrast between the white dome and the black wall alongside it alludes to the tension evident in the scrolls between the spiritual world of the “Sons of Light” (as the Judean Desert sectarians called themselves) and the “Sons of Darkness” (the sect’s enemies). The corridor leading into the Shrine resembles a cave, recalling the site where the ancient manuscripts were discovered. ” https://www.imj.org.il/en/wings/shrine-book
If you enjoy reading my posts about Egypt, STEM, Drones, MIT, mountains, or mysteries I hope you will want to run out and purchase my first book, “Osiris Returns”. With some luck, it should come to market late 2020 / early 2021. Please consider staying in the loop. An email sign-up form can be found at the bottom of my home page along with my social media links. Your email will only be used to alert you when it comes out. I will not use or share your email for any other purpose.