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, July 10, 2010

The Storeroom Complex of Masada. 29 such long rooms were built by King Herod in 1st Cent. BC to hold food, liquids, and weapons.

"Josephus describes about the storeroom complex: "For here had been stored a mass of corn, amply sufficient to last for years,abundance of wine and oil, besides every variety of pulse and piles of dates." (Josephus Flavius, The Wars of the Jews, VII, 296).

Three pits, discovered in one of the storerooms’ plastered floors, attest to the storage of liquids. Josephus states that when the rebels took the fortress, they found well-preserved food supplies, which he attributed to the arid conditions, "although from the date of storage to the capture of the place by the Romans well-nigh a century had elapsed." (Josephus Flavius, The Wars of the Jews, VII, 297).

Herod’s discerning taste was evident in the contents of the storerooms, which included a large number of storage vessels, unique in its quantity, bearing ink inscriptions. Among the inscriptions are those noting a shipment of amphorae to Herod, King of Judea in 19 BCE from southern Italy by a supplier named Lucius Lanius.

According to Josephus, Herod had a special wine servant, and among the delicacies served at Masada was a fish sauce known as garum, from southern Spain. Fish bones from this sauce were found in the remains of one vessel. The king ended his banquets with apples or apple liqueur brought from Cumae, Italy".

(Texts above taken from the leaflet published by the Masada National Park)

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