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.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

RAMPARTS WALK IN JERUSALEM (Walking on the top of Old City's Walls, Jerusalem; from Jaffa Gate to Dung Gate; 1.3 km).

One of the best way to know the Old City of Jerusalem is to walk on the top of city's walls. At present, the Old City of Jerusalem is surrounded by a 4.5 km long wall which is around 500 years old (of course the foundations are more than 200o years old). The walls are 10 ft thick and can reach upto 50 ft height. Altogether, the walls contain 35 towers and 11 gates. Only seven of the gates are presently open. There are two routes: 1) The shorter one is from the Jaffa gate to the Dung Gate through the Zion Gate. The total length is 1.3 km and the walk gives you a nice picture about the Armenian and Jewish Quarters, and the Kidron Valley. 2) The longer route starts from Jaffa Gate and takes you through, the New Gate, Damascus Gate, Herod Gate and finally drop you at the Lion's Gate. This route is ideal to know about the Christian and especially the Muslim Quarters. Since the Golden Gate (sealed) is part of the higly sensitive 'Temple Mount' compound, it cannot be accessed by Ramparts Walk. The following snaps are taken from the shorter route, i.e from Jaffa Gate to Dung Gate.