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.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Terebinth or Pistacia atlantica. Variously translated as "terebinth", "oak", "balsam" and "mulberry" in English Bible. The Hebrew word for Pistacia is "elâh". Some of these trees can grow upto 1000 years! What we saw is said to be 400-600 years old.

In Israel there are 5 species of Pistacia: 1) P. lentiscus; 2) P. atlantica; 3) P. saportae Burnat; 4) P. palaestina; 5) P. khinjuk Stocks. The Atlantic Pistacia is the larger one and therefore assumed to be the one referred to in the Scriptures.
Famous biblical personalities associated with pistacia are
1) Abraham: The “oaks of Mamre,” where Abraham settled in Hebron (Genesis 13:18).
2) Gideon: He was by a large pistacia when called by God (Judges 6:11).
3) David: He faced Goliath in the Valley of the Pistacias (I Samuel 17:2).
4) Absalom: His head was trapped in a large pistacia (II Samuel 18:9).



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