JERUSALEM-the 50 sites you may overlook

In a historic and religious city like Jerusalem there is so much to see no matter how much you tour. When time is a limiting factor, even the most efficient tour guides have to compromise while deciding what to incorporate in the itinerary. Although it depends on the interest of the individual visitor as well, there is still a huge must-see-list in Jerusalem that cannot be avoided. At every stop so much information is thrown on a visitor that sometimes s/he tends to forget the details after leaving the place.

I remember when I first visited the Church of Holy Sepulcher, it appeared to me more like a small museum than a church. I was virtually clueless inside a dark and dull overcrowded massive complex of more than 25 chapels with several curious artifacts and antiques scattered under some dusky arches and dingy columns. It took me at least three visits with a proper map in hand to understand the Church complex. A normal visitor for instance would be satisfied with Golgotha, the ‘Stone of Unction’ and the ‘Holy Sepulcher’, but the oldest part of the complex, viz. the first century tombs inside the Syrian Orthodox Chapel could be easily missed.

In the upcoming posts I plan to upload 50 such sites from Jerusalem that I believe can be easily overlooked or go unnoticed by an average visitor. I am incorporating the following sites from my previous visits, again with no specific order of importance. I am sure that a serious traveler who loves history, traditions and the Bible has noticed or been to most of them.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Park of Olives and Olive Columns in Ramat Rachel, Jerusalem.

Designed by the Israeli sculptor Ran Morin (1984), the Olive Park consists of 200 olive trees planted in 27 concentric rows around three 33 foot tall columns, each supporting an olive tree. I wonder how the roots absorb water and the plants get irrigated. Thanks to the advanced Israeli irrigation technology. However, the trees on the top of the columns did not appear very healthy to me.

According to the official site of Kibbutz Ramat Rachel, "the sculpture symbolizes the link between modern and ancient times: its stone pillars appear to rise, like sturdy tree trunks, out of the ancient soil, their roots giving life to the lofty olive trees - the traditional symbols of fertility, life force, and, of course, peace. The roots of these trees, reaching deep into the past, juxtaposed with the man-made pillars of stone reaching skyward, are a moving expression of awe for the power of nature".

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