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, July 17, 2011

Far-views from Arbel Cliffs: special focus on 1) Safed-one of Judaism's four holy cities, along with Jerusalem, Hebron and Tiberias; 2) Nahal Amud-a popular Nature Reserve in northern parts of Israel and 3) Huqoq-the traditional site where biblical Prophet Habbakkuk is burried.

1: Mount Mitzpe Hayamim (734 M); 2: Kadarim-a Kibbutz from 1980; 3: Amud Stream or Nahal Amud; 4: Livnim-a Jewish Communal Settlement (1989); 5: Huqoq-a Kibbutz (1945) built near the Arab village of Yaquq; 6: Safed-the Jewish Holy City; 7: Mount Kena'an (917 M).
Biblical city of Hukkok is mentioned in the book of Joshua (19:34). Hukkok's association with Prophet Habbakkuk who worked and lived in Judea is highly disputed. The issue has been addressed in a 2007 article came on the newspaper 'Yediot Ahronot' see link:
Amud Stream or Nahal Amud. Today a nature reserve, the Amud Stream is surrounded by abundant fruit trees; some of the largest plane trees in Israel; ancient flour mills, wild life and pre-historic caves.One among the caves is the 'Cave of the Skull' discovered in 1925, where the 'Galilee Skull' -belonging to a Neanderthal man dated 100,000 BC was discovered!
Safed from Arbel using a zoom lens. Safed or Tzfat as known in Hebrew is the highest located city in Israel (900 M). One among the four holy cities of Judaism, Safed is today the epicenter of Jewish mysticism-the kabbalah. In Kabbalistic tradition, Jerusalem is earth; Tiberias is water; Hebron is fire and Tzfat is air! Today, visiting this spiritual and artistic city with its clean and fresh mountain air, picturesque alleyways and charming stone houses is a heavenly experience. Sad to say, I couldn't  manage to visit this historic city during my stay in Israel, though I strongly wanted to be there once.

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