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.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Rose of Jericho or Resurrection Plant (Anastatica hierochuntica) from Uvda Valley.

Wikipedia lists many other names for the Rose of Jericho such as dinosaur plant, Jericho rose, Mary's flower, Mary's hand, Palestinian tumbleweed, resurrection plant, St. Mary's flower, true rose of Jericho, and wheel. Legends has it that Virgin Mary clenched this plant while giving birth to Jesus. Another tradition says that while the Holy Family fled through the desert from Judea to Egypt, Virgin Mary was impressed with the magnificent qualities of the Rose of Jericho and blessed it. It is also identified with the "wheels" mentioned in Psalms 83:13 ("O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind").

In nature, the plant lives in absolute desert conditions with meagre amount of water to survive with and appears as a dead dry mass of ball.  As soon as it receives water, within a a short time it will open up, and spread its branches like the fingers of a hand – wide open! Just as if it had returned to life. When the conditions become dry it will shrink again and close its "fingers" and return to the dry state. This action can be repeated for over 20 years! No wonder why it is called the Resurrection Plant.

The good news is that you can today buy the plant and keep in your living room and observe the resurrection process for years. You can find many online stores selling "Rose of Jericho" for a price 20-25$! We just picked one of the plant from the Uvda valley and immersed in a bowl with water and found that it bloomed in approximately 30 minutes. Also it returned to its dry state when the water was removed. Yes the resurrection works. Find the pictures below.  




7P: I need to identify this plant below.
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