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.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Promontory Palace or the Palace of Procurators, Caesarea. Described by Josephus as the "Most Magnificent Palace" that Herod the Great built (1st Cent. BC). St: Paul may have been imprisoned on the grounds of this palace (Acts 23:35).

The palace was built on a rock promontory jutting out into the sea. It was a large complex (110 x 60 m) with a decorative Olympic-sized  pool, surrounded by porticoes. What you see in 1P to 3P are the only remains visible today.  The more obvious remains (4P to 6P) are now a large colonnaded courtyard (42 x 65 m) with a replica of 'Pontius Pilate Inscription' in the middle. All the columns are restored. This part  is believed to be where once the palace of Pilate stood.

Remember that Caesarea has an important role in New Testament  history. Here the baptism of Roman officer Cornelius-the first non-Jewish convert to Christianity took place; (Acts 10:1-5, 25-28) from here Paul set sail for his journeys and here he was taken prisoner and sent to Rome for trial. (Acts 23:23-24).

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