Theme: Landmarks, Walking, Religious, History, Architecture, Culture/Tradition
City of David, Jerusalem
HaKotel Street, Jerusalem
Tif'eret Israel St, Jerusalem
Ha-Yehudim St, Jerusalem
This will be an action packed indeed! We'll start our day at the City of David where you'll see where it all began. You'll go back 3000 years in time and see actual remains of the First Temple period that is the time period between the moment King David conquered the city in 1004 BCE and the destruction of the First Temple by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. This is one of these wow! moments when archaeology confirms the biblical narrative. You'll see a short film in 3D explaining the history of the City of David, we'll go to a viewpoint where its geolocalization becomes clear and then we'll make our way through the ancient Canaanite tunnel dug hundreds of years before King David in order for the waters to flow from the nearby Gihon spring to the Siloam pool south of the city. Oooh!!
A short shuttle ride will take us back to Dung Gate where we'll enter the Old City and you'll get your first-hand experience of the Western Wall. The Wailing Wall as it is also called is the last vestige of the retaining walls of the Temple Mount built by King Herod to support his monumental project of making the Second Temple the most beautiful site the world had ever witnessed. The Temple Mount was about 450 meters long, nearly 280 meters wide, 144 000m2. It was almost entirely destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE and this little bit of retaining wall is all there is left. This will be an opportunity for you to place your prayer in the cracks between the stones. You don't want to miss being able to have direct contact with the Almighty!!
Let's make our way back up to the Jewish Quarter where we'll visit two museums, the Cardo (the main north-south thoroughfare during Roman/Byzantine times) where you'll have time for some quality shopping, discuss the history of the Jewish Quarter during the War of Independence of 1948 and finish our day at the most outstanding view of the Western Wall at Aish HaTorah where you will also have the opportunity to see a model of what the Temple actually looked like according to the descriptions of Josephus Flavius, the Jewish-Roman historian as well as in the Mishnah.
The result of the 1948 War of Independence was that the Jordanian army took over the Jewish Quarter. They destroyed it, tearing to the ground nearly 50 synagogues. In 1967, during the 6-day war, Israel won back the Jewish Quarter after very intense fighting. In terms of its archaeological history, this was a blessing in disguise. While reconstruction was on the way, the Israel Antiquity Authorities kept falling on remains of ancient occupation and most significantly, remains of the city prior to the destruction by the Romans in 70 CE as mentioned above. We will visit the "Burnt House", the house of the Katros family, undoubtedly the family of a high priest due to the presence of several "mikvaot" or ritual baths in the basement of the house and its proximity to the Temple itself. A short film will explain to you what happened exactly on that fateful day of 70 CE, on the 9th of Av. We will then continue on to the Wohl Archaeological Museum or Herodian Quarter where you will see how the affluent lived at the time of the Second Temple.
We will then check out the restored Hurva Synagogue with its unique history followed by the Four Sephardic Synagogues, each with their own history and lore. We'll exit the Jewish Quarter via Zion Gate in order to get a glimpse of the first Jewish neighborhood outside the walls of the Old City namely Mishkenot Sha'ananim and walk back to our starting point of the day, Jaffa Gate.
There may be little additional "surprises" on the way, time permitting, but don't worry....I promise, we will stop for lunch!
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