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Israel 

Jerusalem sights

The Old City
The Old City includes four quarters: Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Armenian. A beautiful wall, built by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, surrounds all of them.
The wall has eight gates:
The Golden Gate- which is the only gate closed today.
The Zion and Dung Gates - in the southern wall.
The Jaffa Gate - in the western wall.
Herod's Gate and Damascus Gate - in the northern wall.
The Lions' Gate and Golden Gate - in the eastern wall.
The New Gate - in the northwestern corner of the wall.

The Old City is filled with interesting Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sites. The Jerusalem municipality gives free guided tours of the different quarters on Saturdays.
 
 
Temple Mount
The site of the First and Second Temples. Today there are over 100 structures from many different periods on the Mount, the most famous of which are the (Gold) Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aksa Mosque.
The present Temple Mount area is the result of King Herod the Great's extension of Mount Moriah in order to enlarge the premises surrounding the Second Temple. On the summit of Mount Moriah is the ''Foundation Stone'': ''from which the world was created.'' According to Midrashic literature, the Binding of Isaac and other key events in early Jewish history happened at this site.
Hours: Winter - 7:30-10:30, 12:30-13:00 Summer - 8:00-11:30, 13:30-15:00 except Fridays. Tel: 02-6226250
 
Via Dolorosa
This was the way that Jesus was taken, bearing his cross on his back to the place of his crucifixion. Via Dolorosa is one of the holiest sites in Christendom.
The tradition for pilgrims to walk along the route taken by Jesus began in the Byzantine period (between the 4th to 7th century), with the processions of the faithful from Gethsemane to the Golgotha, via the Kidron Valley, the house of Caiaphas on the slopes of Mount Zion, and northward via the Church of Sophia, which was identified as the site of the Praetorium (today the Fourth Station).

From the 8th to the 12th century the procession began from the room of the Last Supper on Mount Zion, and proceeded north of Golgotha. The present route of the Way of the Cross was set in the Crusader period, in the 13th century. It begins at St. Stephen's Gate, and winds its way westward towards the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This is the route Jesus walked from the place of his trial to the place of his crucifixion. There are fourteen stations on the Via Dolorosa, nine along the route and five inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, to commemorate the very last events of Jesus' life. At these spots, churches or shrines have been erected.
The Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh stations are open on Friday afternoons during the procession along the Via Dolorosa.
 
Church of the Holy Sepulcher
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is where the last five stations of the ''Via Dolorosa'' are; the agonizing route Jesus went through with a cross on his back on the way to Golgotha - where he was crucified, where he died and where he was resurrected. For a large part of the Christian world, which believes this is the location of Golgotha, it is the holiest place in Jerusalem.
Hours: Summer: Daily, 5:30am-9pm, Winter: 4:30am-7pm
Tel 02 - 6273314
 
The Western Wall (The Kotel)
The Western Wall is the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount. Over 2040 years ago, King Herod decided to expand the platform of the Temple Mount in order to make room for the hundreds of thousands of Jews and non-Jews who ascended to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. He constructed four enormous retaining walls around the Temple Mount and filled them in with several stories of arched passageways.
Today, the Western Wall has become a pilgrimage site, much as the Holy Temple was then. The Plaza serves as a vast open-air synagogue and a most popular venue for Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations and other ceremonies on happy and sad occasions.
 
The Western Wall Tunnels
Many tons of dirt and refuse were laboriously removed by hand to expose magnificent underground structures, creating a continuous chain wrought in stone stretching from the Hasmonean era until our time. These excavations revealed the entire length of the Western Wall - 488 meters in all its glory.
Rooms and public halls were discovered, as well as a section of a Second Temple road, a Hasmonean water tunnel, a pool, and many other finds. The site is a lodestone imparting to every one of us a sense of the profound affinity we feel for Jerusalem.
The Kotel Tunnels (''Minharot Hakotel'') site is operated by ''The Western Wall Heritage Foundation.'' Regular tours take place in the ancient tunnels, when pre-ordering tickets for the tour please indicate if a guide is needed.
Tickets for the tours should be pre-ordered by calling: 02-6271333.

*Info courtesy of Jerusalem Municipality. 



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