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, March 15, 2010

Arab Village of Abu Tor and the 'Valley of Hinnom' (Synonymous to Gehenna or HELL)- Jerusalem. Jewish section of Abu Tor is known as Givat Hananya.

The green slopes you see below are part of a valley called "Gey Ben Hinnom" in Hebrew today. Identified as the biblical 'Gehenna' or 'Hinnom Valley', where once pagans sacrificed children to their God Moloch. Later, it became an ever burning garbage dump of ancient Jerusalem. Gradually 'Hinnom Valley' got associated with  a place of filth, abomination, unquenchable fire and even as an entrance to hell! In Christian traditions it is the site of Aceldama where Judas Iscariot hanged himself after betraying Jesus. No wonder why in English Bible, the word "hell" is sometimes used to replace the Hebrew word Gehenna.



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