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, August 28, 2013

14. Roman Column (1800 years old)-a lamp post for a bar in Jerusalem Old City.

Photo: 7 May, 2010.
This early 3rd century AD Roman triumphant column was discovered in 1885. Today, it serves as a lamp post of a bar in Jerusalem Old City. The Latin engravings on the column are dedicated to Marco Junio Maximo, an emissary of the 10th Legion under the Roman emperor Septimius Severus (145-211 AD). Remember, the same legion under the command of Titus was responsible for the siege and destruction of Jerusalem in the year AD 70. 

Father Jerome Murphy-O'Connor translates the inscription: "M(arco) Iunio Maximo leg(ato) Aug(ustorum) Leg(ionis) X Fr(etensis) Antoninianae C. Dom(itius) Serg(ius) str(ator) eius". He further writes, 'The inscription honours Marcus Iunius Maximus, Legate of the Augusts (i.e. the emperor Septimius Severus and his eldest son Caracalla), which implies that he was the governor of the province of Judaea, and Legate of the Tenth Legion Fretensis. It was erected 200 by one of his aides, C. Domitius Sergius Honoratus. After participating in the capture of Jerusalem in ad 70, the Tenth Legion was based in the city for over 200 years, occupying the area that is now the Armenian Quartern' (The Holy Land: An Oxford Archaeological Guide from Earliest Times to 1700, 5th Edition, 2007, p.66-67).


The Roman column is located very near Jaffa Gate. Look for the second side street to the Christian Quarter, which is to your left while entering the Old City from Jaffa Gate. A few feet inside the street, you should find 'New Imperial Hotel' or 'Versavee Bistro, Bar & Cafe’; the column is in the middle of their courtyard with a flag/lamp post on top of it advertising ‘Bar & CafĂ©’!