Travel to Jerusalem: Jerusalem
The rough square of the Old City can best be surveyed from the so-called David's Tower, about at the midpoint of the western wall. (Note: this "western wall" has nothing to do with the famous "Western Wall," which lies on the western side of the Haram Ash-Sharaf, or Temple Mount, a smaller quadrangle in the southeast corner of the Old City.)
There isn't much of the Old City that's really old, at least by Biblical standards, but the base of David's tower comes close, with Herodian blocks dating from Roman times. Higher up, the blocks are more recent, but these ones, sitting quietly at the base, haven't moved in 2,000 years.
Looking up the same wall. The top half was added only yesterday--well, actually in the 14th Century, but around here that's not old.
The Old City has been under Muslim control for most of the last 15 centuries: here, opposite David's Tower, a minaret marks another corner of the citadel, a bastion at the western wall's midpoint, near the Jaffa Gate.
This is the first of a sequence of pictures panning to the right from atop David's Tower. There's a good view here of the Jaffa Gate, whose gates were removed by the Turkish authorities so that Kaiser Wilhelm could enter on horseback. The Turks also installed a clocktower in honor of Sultan Abdul Hamid, but out of respect for the city's traditional character the British removed it about 1920. Outside the wall, a bit of forest marks the ancient Mamilla pool, once a source of domestic water; beyond it is the skyline of West Jerusalem. Inside the wall, this is the Christian Quarter, with properties of the Latin Patriarchate abutting the wall but separated from it by narrow, private gardens.
Further into the Christian Quarter, with an old but still operating hotel in the foreground. The neighborhood is dominated by properties belonging to several sects including tje Franciscan, Greek Orthodox, and Greek Catholic.
The spires of the Coptic Church of St. George rise above the general level of the city, which is dominated here by 20th century buildings and still newer rooftop satellite receivers and solar panels.
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is just about to swing into view on the right.
The dark dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher appears in this view, which looks to the northeast. The dome is of iron, and it dates only from 1808, after a fire destroyed the open dome that formerly let light shine upon the sepulcher itself. The spire to the immediate left of the dome is the El Khanqa Mosque.
The massive tower at the center-right is the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, built in the 19th century to typically high German standards. Between it and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is the Greek Monastery of St. Abraham.
The view is now almost due east toward the brilliantly blue Dome of the Rock, which dominates the Haram Ash-Sharif, or Temple Mount. The spire of the 19th century Russian Ascension Church stands behind it and slightly to the right, atop the Mount of Olives.
The greenery includes the Garden of Gethsemane, at the base of the Mount of Olives. To its right, an immense Jewish cemetery sprawls with shallow graves hardly dug into the rocky earth. Below the cemetery and just to the right of the greenery is the pitched roof and olive-green dome of the great Al-Aqsa Mosque.
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