We will begin our day at the Jaffa Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem, the historic part of the city.
There are four major quarters to the city, divided from the 18th century according to religious or ethnic identity: Jewish, Moslem, Christian and Armenian. Altogether, the Old City covers an area of about 220 acres
(1 km). Our walk will take us to one of the world’s most holy site for Christians, The Holy Sepulcher Church which contains the last five stations of the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa in Latin). On this site, it is believed that Jesus was crucified and died.
Nearby is the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, one of the oldest protestant churches in the Middle East. As we continue our walk, we will enter the Armenian quarter and visit the magnificent domed St. James Cathedral built in the 12th century. Inside is the burial vault of James, the Disciple of Jesus.
On Mount Zion, we will see more holy places, including the Cenacle, also known as the Last Supper Room where Jesus broke bread and drank wine with the disciples before His betrayal and arrest. Nearby is the Tomb of King David. The hill of Mount Zion is the highest point in ancient Jerusalem and the site of the Church of Dormition, built to commemorate Virgin Mary.
As we enter the Jewish quarter, we will see several interesting sites. In front of the Hurva Synagogue is the Golden Menorah, one of the greatest symbols of the Jewish people.
The remains of ancient walls of Jerusalem have been excavated and we will visit the Western Wall (the Wailing Wall) built by Herod the Great in 20 BC during an expansion of the Second Temple. This portion of the Wall is one of the holiest places for the Jews and all mankind. Time will be provided for prayer and reflection. You may wish to participate in the tradition of writing your prayer then placing it in a crack of the Wall.
After Middle Eastern snack (such as shawarma or falafel, Turkish coffee, etc.) we will continue to the Moslem quarter where we will find ourselves once again on the Way of the Cross where there are Christian Chapels commemorating the events of Jesus’ walk through the City.
If desired, we will continue our walk down to the Kidron Valley which is famous from Old Testament times where David fled from his son, Absalom. We will visit the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed on the night of His betrayal. The ancient olive trees which stand in the Garden may have been silent witnesses to His agony. There will be time for personal reflection or prayer if desired.
We will see one of the most magnificent churches in the Holy Land, the Church of All Nations, also known as the Basilica of the Agony. This holy site is believed to have been built over the rock where Jesus prayed during his nighttime vigil.
To conclude our day together, we can walk (or drive) to the summit of Mount of Olives and be rewarded for our effort with a spectacular panoramic view of The Eternal City, Jerusalem.
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