Sunday, June 16, 2013

Jerusalem - Christian Quarter

Today I realized a life-long dream.  We went to Jerusalem.  We traveled with our friend Katie from Tel Aviv, and met up with another friend there who gave us a tour of the Old City.  It was really amazing.  A big thank you to both Katie and our awesome friend who took us around!  There are so many pics from today, we are breaking it into three installments.  We'll start with the entrance and the Christian Quarter.

En route Eric found this statue of a chocolate coin and promptly tried to take a bite.

Here is Jaffa Gate, one of the entrances into the Old City.

Kylie and me, ready for an adventure!

Look over there!  Old stuff!

And there!  More old stuf!!

Katie and the Orthodox Priest walking quietly past the mosque en route to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Here's a closer look at that mosque.

Here we are at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the holiest site in all of Christendom.  It is here that the final stations of the cross are located, including the Stone of Unction and the Holy Sepulcher (tomb) itself.  The various Christian groups can agree on almost nothing.  A Muslim family has to keep the keys and open the Church every morning, because otherwise it would be chaos about whose turn it was to have the keys when.  That ladder you see there was put up to fix something in 1850 (it's fallen off a couple of times and been put back), and no one can agree on whether or not it should come down, so it remains.  Everyone, though, can agree that this is a pretty important place.  It did not disappoint.

Another view of the outside of the Church.

A peaceful courtyard.

Mosaics and beams of light.

The mosaic over the Stone of Unction.  We had Kylie touch the Stone along with the pilgrims.  Can't hurt.

Light flowing in through the dome.

A mosaic of Jesus watches over the faithful.

The tomb.

Prayers from around the world.

Nuns in the plaza.

Eric and Kylie enjoying the sun in a quiet courtyard.

The sprawling structure of the Church.

Cross graffiti from centuries of pilgrims.

A tiny baby waits outside of a tiny door.

Latin inscription at the 6th Station of the Cross.

Stations of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa, or Way of Pain.

Touching the spot that Jesus touched, and that millions of pilgrims before me had also touched.

Up next, the Jewish Quarter...

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