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Jerusalem

Al Aqsa Mosque

Al Masjid Al Aqsa was the first qibla in Islam and it has been a significant and important place of worship for the Prophets of Islam. It was built 40 years after Al Masjid Al Haram in Makkah. There is a difference of opinion amongst scholars as to who exactly built Al Masjid Al Aqsa, with some scholars and historians asserting the view that Al Masjid Al Aqsa was built by Prophet Adam (as), and others opining that it was built by Prophet Ibrahim (as). It has also been rebuilt, renovated and expanded many times in the history of Islam.

The Last Supper Room

Cenacle / The Last Supper Room is located on Mount Zion, south of Dormition Abbey, is the Cenacle or Coenaculum (‘upper room’) which is believed to be the site where Jesus gathered his disciples for the Last Supper. The site is also believed by some to be the Tomb of David.

Chapel of the Ascension

After the death and resurrection of Jesus, early Christians began gathering in secret at this site on the Mount of Olives to commemorate His ascension to heaven.

The site of the Chapel of the Ascension has gone through many transformations throughout its history. The first church on the site was built some time before 392 AD by Poimenia, a wealthy Roman woman. It was later destroyed in 614 AD during the Persian invasion, and then restored again by Modestus.

Church of All Nations

Just above the Kidron Valley, at the foot of the Mount of Olives, stands the Garden of Gethsemane. This garden was identified as early as the 4th century AD as the place where Jesus prayed, was betrayed by Judas, and was later arrested. The age of the trees growing inside the garden range from 300 to as many as 2,300 years old. Standing inside the Garden of Gethsemane is the spectacular Church of All Nations also known as the Church of the Agony.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

One of the most important sites in Christendom is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, known in Arabic as Al-Qiyame, meaning ‘resurrection.’ The Church is built upon the traditional site of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The original Church was built in 326 AD by Emperor Constantine and his mother Helena.

Damascus Gate (Bab Al Amud)

Damascus Gate or as called in Arabic “Bab Al Amud” is one of the main entrances to the old city of Jerusalem. In its current form, the gate was built in 1537 under the rule of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.

Dome of the Rock

The Dome of the Rock (Qubbat Al Sakhra), is one of the most beautiful shrines in the Islamic World. The structure has been refurbished several times since its completion in 691 AD at the order of the Umayyad Caliph Abd-al Malik. The site marks the spot where the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven leaving his footprint on a stone within the Dome, which can still be seen today. The interior of the Dome is lavishly decorated with beautiful mosaics, faience, and marble, much of which was added over the centuries following its completion.

Dormition Abbey

Built between 1906 – 1910 by the German Benedictine Fathers, the Church of Dormition also known as Dormition Abbey, is one of Jerusalem’s most prominent landmarks. Build in the neo-Roman style, with a large conical roof rising up in the skyline, the site marks the spot where the Virgin Mary fell into her ‘eternal sleep.’ The Latin name for the Church is Dormitio Sanctae Mariae, meaning ‘the falling asleep of St. Mary.’ In the Christian tradition, the Church marks the spot where Mary fell asleep and was raised up to heaven.

Dung Gate (Bab Al Magharebeh)

The Dung Gate, or as known in Arabic “Bab Al Magharebeh”, is situated near the southeast corner of the old city, and the only gate that leads directly to the Jewish quarter and “Al Haram Al Sharif” compound. It is the only passage for vehicles.

Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer is an endowment of the Evangelical Jerusalem Foundation, one of the three foundations of the EKD (Evangelical Church in Germany) in the Holy Land. Built between 1893 and 1898 by the architect Paul Ferdinand Groth, the Church was inaugurated by Emperor Wilhelm the Great of Germany. The Church of the Redeemer currently houses Lutheran congregations that worship in Arabic, German, Danish, and English.

Golden Gate (Bab Al Rahma)

Golden Gate (Bab Al Rahma)  is one of the four gates of Jerusalem that remain closed today. It has been walled up since medieval times, in fulfillment of prophecy (Ezekiel 44:1-3). Jews believe that this gate will be opened when the “Messiah” returns, and Muslims believe that the Just will pass through it on the Day of Judgment, while according to the Christian faith, Jesus entered Jerusalem through the gate.

Herod’s Gate (Bab Al Sahera)

Herod’s Gate , or as known in Arabic as Bab Al Sahera, is located in the northern walls of the old city of Jerusalem, and is a short distance to the east of the Damascus Gate. This gate leads to the Muslim Quarter near the Pools of Bethesda.

Herod’s Gate was first built by the Fatimids, renovated by the Mamluks, and once again by Suleiman the Magnificent during the Ottoman Empire.

Jaffa Gate (Bab Al Khalil)

Jaffa Gate is the main western entrance to the old city of Jerusalem, and is considered to be the second biggest gate in the city.

The area inside of Jaffa Gate is now geared mostly toward tourists, with many souvenir shops. On the right, just inside the gate, is one of the city’s best known sites, the Citadel or Tower of David. The tower of David was built by king Herod around 40 AD, and was later renovated by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1538.

Lions’ Gate (Bab Al Asbat)

The name, is derived from the stone reliefs on the outer façade, representing the lions on the coat of arms of the Mamluk Sultan Baybars, who built the lower part of the gate in the 13th century. The upper part of the gate dates to the rebuilding of the city walls by the Ottoman Turkish Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century. It is the only gate open to the East. According to legend, Baybars dreamt he saw lions about to devour him as punishment for leaving the Holy City of Jerusalem unprotected, and immediately hastened to repair its defenses.

Mosque of Omar

The Mosque of Omar commemorates the conquering Caliph Omar Ibn al-Khattab, who in 638 AD came to the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Having been invited into the Church to pray by the Patriarch Sophronius he refused, saying, “If I had prayed in the Church, it would have been lost to you, for the Believers would have taken it out of your hands, saying ‘Omar prayed here.’” So Omar prayed outside the Church and the story serves as a cornerstone to the Mosque which was to follow.

New Gate (Bab Al Jadid)

The New Gate lies at the northwest corner of the Old City. It was constructed to create access between the Christian Quarter within the city walls and the new Christian properties outside the walls. It is the newest gate and was added by the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid in 1887.

Old City Markets (Souqs)

Walking inside the Old City markets in an experience in and of itself. The scents, sounds, tastes, and sights reflect the diverse and rich cultural heritage of this ancient city.

One of the busiest and most picturesque markets is Khan al-Zeit, where shops and stands sell a wide assortment of foods used in traditional Palestinian cooking, particularly spices, herbs, dried fruits, coffee, and pastries.

Old City of Jerusalem

The Old City of Jerusalem is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Archeologists estimate its age at more than 4,500 years. The city walls were built by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century, roughly following the course of the walls built by the Romans to encircle Jerusalem in the 2nd century.

Silwan

It has a perennial spring called Ein Silwan, originating far beneath the Kidron Valley and it wells up at Birket Al-Hamra. When David conquered the city, he was able to do so in part by cutting the water supply, accessing it from the spring’s tunnels which exist to this day, and forcing the Canaanites to surrender. Important discoveries of the tunnels were made by British archeologist Kathleen Kenyon who conducted extensive excavations in this part of Jerusalem from 1961 to 1967.

The Western Wall (Ha’it Al Buraq)

In Islamic tradition, it was on this wall that Mohammed tied the heavenly steed, Al-Buraq (meaning ‘lightening’), after being transported from Mecca to Jerusalem during the ‘Night Journey’ (Lailat al Mi’raj). The reference to the wall as the Wailing Wall, or el-Mabka, refers to the Jewish tradition of gathering at the spot to mourn the destruction of the Second Temple.

Tomb of Virgin Mary

Located at the foot of the Mount of Olives is the Tomb of the Virgin Mary, also known as the Church of the Assumption. The Church was built by the Benedictines in 1130 on the ruins of previous Christian shrines. Upon entering the Church through the Crusader entrance, visitors descend 44 steps down to the remains of the Byzantine Church. At the center of this lower level lies the Tomb of the Virgin Mary carved into the rock. The present church is maintained by the Greek Orthodox Church & the Armenian Orthodox Church.

Zion Gate (Bab Al Nabi Daoud)

Zion Gate (Bab Al Nabi Daoud) was built in the mid-16th century under Suleiman the Magnificent rule. The gate leads into the Armenian Quarter of the Old City. It was sealed under the Jordanian Authority and Israeli soldiers entered through it during the 1967 war. The gate still bears the scars of the bullets and explosives used by Israeli forces to breach the gate.

Terra Sancta Museum – Via Dolorosa

The recently opened Terra Sancta Museum – Via Dolorosa is a multimedia show on the Way of the Cross in Jerusalem. It is a must-visit for all pilgrims who want to fully experience the Way of the Cross, but also for visitors who are interested in the history of Jerusalem, from Herod time until today.

Theater Day Productions

Theater Day Productions (TDP) also known as Ayyam Al Masrah, is a non-profit organization working in the field of youth theater and drama education in the Palestinian Territories since 1995.

St. Andrew’s Scots Memorial Church

St. Andrew’s Scots Memorial Church – This stone church, completed in 1930, and therefore new by Jerusalem standards, is beautiful in its sober simplicity, flying the flag of Scotland from its square tower. The Church commemorates the lost lives of Scottish soldiers who fell in battle as the British and local Arab forces took Jerusalem from the remnants of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. Just a short walk from the Old City walls, and nearest to Jaffa Gate, St. Andrew’s represents a cornerstone in the history of Palestine; the beginning of the British Mandate.