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.

Monday, February 22, 2010

REVISITING TEL MEGIDDO NATIONAL PARK or BIBLICAL SITE OF 'ARMAGEDDON'. Also popularly known as 'King Solomon's Chariot City'-1st JANUARY, 2010.

1st JANUARY -the NEW YEAR DAY: what could be better than starting a year by visiting the historic Megiddo. Hope we are going to have an explosive year ahead!!!!It's my second visit to Tel Megiddo. In fact, the trip No:1 was done more than a year before and I still remember how dry were the landscapes in that hot summer. If you can go through my blog archives (September, 2008 in, you can compare the stark difference in the same landscape between summer and winter. Do also go through the texts I have appended during my earlier visit.  

No doubt, today what makes Megiddo so special is its association with the Christian tradition of doomsday.  According to the last book of Bible, Armageddon is the traditional site of the final battle between Christ and Satan-the site of the "Battle of the End of Days". Just quoting the passage from bible:

"12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs [come] out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, [which] go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. 15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed [is] he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. 16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon" (Revelation 16:12-16).

Although Megiddo was first conquered by Israelites under Joshua's leadership (17:11), it remained out of Israeli control until King David. Megiddo reached its peak under his son, King Solomon (10th Cent. BC). Solomon built Megiddo as one his district administrative capital and one of the three royal chariot cities (the other two are Hazor and Gezer). "And this [is] the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised; for to build the house of the LORD, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer" (I kings 9:15). Solomonic Megiddo was destroyed by Pharaoh Shoshenq (Shishak in the Bible) in 922 BC. Megiddo was rebuilt to even greater magnificence by either Omri or Ahab in the middle of the 9th century BC. Megiddo has also witnessed the death of two Jewish kings on its soil viz. Ahaziah (9th Cent. BC) and Josiah (7th Cent. BC)-II Kings 9:27; II Kings 23:29; II Chronicles 35:20. The Israelite Megiddo finally fell to Tiglath-Pileser III king of Assyria in 732 BC.

Brief Itinerary
05.30-Sede Boker-Metropolin 60
07.05-Beer Sheva-Metropolin 370
08.50-Tel Aviv CBS-Egged 835
10.10-Tzometh Megiddo
10.30-Reached Megiddo National Park after walking 2 km through Highway 66.

10.30-Megiddo National Park-12.30

12.30-Walked back (2 km) to Tzometh Megiddo
13.10-Tzometh Megiddo-Sherut
14.40-Tel Aviv CBS-Egged 370
16.30 Beer Sheva-Metropolin 60
17.25-Sede Boker

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