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ISRAEL / JERUSALEM

THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

BRIEF HISTORY

JERUSALEM that is known as ''El Kuds'' in Arabic & means ''The City of Peace'' in Hebrew, is one of the oldest civilisied cities in the world. Throughout history, it has been the battlefield of many civilisations because of hosting many sanctified structures like the Temple of Solomon, and has been repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt.

According to the Old Testament, the king of Judah and Israel, David, came from Jerusalem. 

According to the Bible (New Testament), Solomon's son built the first temple in the name of "Yahweh," which means "God". So Jerusalem became the center of Judaism.

Nebuchadnezzar the 2nd, the King of Babylon, conquered the city in 597 and 586 BC. He captured the king of Judah and the upper layer of society, and sent them to exile to Babylon and destroyed the Temple of Solomon. Later, when the Persians took over the city, the exiles were allowed to return and the temple was rebuilt.

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Jerusalem by orientalist paining artists

Jerusalem, which became the capital of a Roman province during Romans, was the scene of Christianity's first steps and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also the birthplace of the Christian sect and the New Testament. Until 63 BC Jerusalem was dominated by the Roman Empire. The resistance movement in the city caused to the first Jewish-Roman war in 66 BC. The war ended four years later with the Roman victory and the destruction of the Temple of Solomon once again. The Romans and later the Byzantines ruled the city for about 600 years. In the later periods, the holly goal of the crusades, was to take over ''The Kingdom of Heaven'' from serazans leaded by Selahattin Bin eyyubi. During this period,  ''The Knight Templar'' sect was developed who were in charge to protect the pilgrims coming to Christian pilgrimage center Jerusalem. 

The Ottoman Empire controlled Jerusalem from 1517, until 1917, and at the time, they lost this land as a result of the British-backed Arab pressure and the war with the British.

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One of the most interesting works about the Ottoman existence in the last period of Jerusalem is the book called  ''Zeytin Dağı / The Olive Mountain'' written by Falih Rıfkı Atay who was the assistant governor of Cemal Pasha who was the regional governor of Jurusalem of that period. The mentioned mountain is the hill known as the Mount of Olives where the Ottoman military garrison command was located. If you are traveling to Jerusalem, I recommend you to read this book beforehand. Can be read from the link. 
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=s6owDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA50&lpg=PA50&dq=Mount+of+olives+falih+r%C4%B1fk%C4%B1&source=bl&ots=oqE9cAyPw4&sig=ACfU3U2GtzzYQZloQhnZuovQYuvxi1TdWw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwigo8ux96LgAhWkuXEKHVxQAAwQ6AEwDnoECAEQAQ#v=onepage&q=Mount%20of%20olives%20falih%20r%C4%B1fk%C4%B1&f=false

Than & Now Work by Admin. German & Ottoman delegates in Jerusalem & Present day 2017-1910

The Old City, which is full of narrow streets with thousands of years of history in Jerusalem, consists of four main sections. These are Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Armenian neighborhoods. The old city is surrounded by thick, stone walls. While the condition of Three neighborhoods are good (in terms of cleanliness), Palestinian neighborhood is comperably complex and dirty. Due to the Armenian population, you can find many propaganda banners in many parts of the old city that show the so-called Armenian massacres. we (as Turks) ripped them a bit, but not all cleaned up.

HAREM-ÜS ŞERİF / KUBBET-ÜS SAHRA (Dome of the Rock) / MESCİD-İ AKSA

When you come to Jerusalem, I don't think that you will loose much time fooling around the modern parts of Jerusalem city. But before you enter into the old Jerusalem I advise you to go first up to the Olive Mountain that we have mentioned above and see the panorama of old Jerusalem from a distance. What you will see will be the top banner of this page. This place is a complete Arab quarter. While waiting on the cruise terrace, you can take pictures with Arabs & with their camels or in front of the panorama of Jerusalem on the back. Do not give the Arabs a lot, do not forget to bargain. You will hear the Arabic word ''Bahşiş'' many times which means ''Tip''.  They ask for money to be in your photos, so first ask the price!.  You can make  Empathy with '' Cemal paşa '' who was the last Governor of Ottomans in Jerusalem while looking from here. This was the image that he saw every morning from the top of the olive mountain where the Ottoman headquarters were. The Panoramic wiew of Jerusalem and also the distance wiew of the lake ''Lut / Dead Sea'' which is 400 meters below sea level & in  desert connecting to the Jordanian River .

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The Harem-üş-Sharif, where the Masjid al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock, which is considered to be one of the most sacred places for Muslims, is located in East Jerusalem. Let us explain the what is known wrong by many Muslims.  The golden domed building which is generally known as the ''Masjid al-Aqsa-Al Aksa Mosque'' is not actually the Masjid-i aksa. İts name is Dome of the Rock (Kubbet Üs sahra).  In this structure, the predominant stone, ie, Hacer-i Muallak, is in this structure. It is known as the stone on which Muhammad rose up into the sky. There is also a small pray room under the stone. Muhammad is said to pray here before the ascension to the sky. it is possible to pray in this tiny mosque about 10 square meters. With the comparision of İslam's comprehension in other Muslim Countries, one will be surprised, because there you will be praying with women shoulder to shoulder. 

The various legends about the stone in islam are as follows.

  1. Ibrahim; He sacrificed his son Ishmael for Allah  on this stone.

  2. İslam Prophet Muhammad began to rise to sky on the rock; When Muhammad orders the stone to stop it stps raising and remains hanged on the air. 

The mosque, known as the Masjid al-Aqsa Mosque, is a mosque which is located in the same Harem-üş Serif complex and which has a modest appearance with its black dome.

The Harem-sherif complex, ie the old name '' the temple hill'', is an area under the control & Authority of the Muslims. Christians are forbidden & not allowed to enter except for tourism purposes at certain hours as the museum. however, Muslims can enter at any time. Muslim police officers are waiting for you at the gate, and when you want to enter, they ask for a birth certificate that shows your religion. They may ask you to read one or two Muslim prays either. When we (Turks-Muslims) went, our Jewish guide was not allowed in and had waited us outside. I guess it's not necessary to say that the ladies' clothes must be acceptable by Islamic rules. Don't forget to take long clothes and hijabs. The interior of the mosques Kubbet-üs Sahra and Masjid al-Aqsa , and the interior of the Haram-üs Sharif complex is almost like a recreation area for Arabs. You can see people ewerywhere in the mosques or outside which are cahatting,  sleeping, praying, resting etc. Especially in the summer months when the air conditioner is operated inside the mosques, indoors are wery crowded. Try not to step on someone sleeping.

You can get enough ideas from the images in the slide show below.

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VİA DOLOROSA VE ST. SEPULCHURE CHURCH

On the other side of the city is one of the most sacred places for Christians; The Church of the Holy Sepulcher (St. Sepulcher) which had been built on the hill where Jesus was crucified. This is a pilgrimage center for Christians and thousands of Christian tourists and pilgrims. Unlike the practice in Al-Aqsa Mosque, it is not forbidden to Jews or Muslims. The church is at the and of the narrow historical street  that is called as ''Via Dolorosa'' which Jesus had walked all the way long with a huge cross on his shoulders. Via Dolorosa can be referred to as the '' path of pain '' with the translation from Latin. Every station that Jesus stopped and rested along the road are marked with some signs and inscripst and people are praying around them. If you are on the right day, you can come across the Christian groups carrying a large cross to symbolize the walk to Via Dolorosa. The tomb on the Golgotha ​​hill, where Jesus was crucified, remained a secret for centuries. Later, during the Byzantine period, the mother of Emperor Constantine dreamed of the place of the tomb. The grave was found in this way and the present church was built. There are 13 stations on Via Dolorosa. These are The places where Jesus  fell and touched while carrying the cross. today there are churches over all of them.

Today, the Church serves as the center of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and is used jointly by many other churches. These churches are the Catholic Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church, the Assyrian Orthodox Church, the Coptic Church of Alexandria, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. While watching the news from time to time, you may have heard that the Priests of this church were fighting with each other because of the jurisdiction in this church area. Take a good look at the ladder located under the window, above the entrance, in the picture below. Many years ago a cleaning worker had left it there after the cleaning of the window. Despite the passing of years  it couldn't be removed because of ''your space-my space'' figh,  or at least our guide told us so. 

Kutsal kabir ( St. Sepulchre) Kilisesi

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WESTERN WALL

It is the name given to the wall on which the Jews believe that the Prophet Solomon was built in Jerusalem and later belonged to the temple of Solomon. This wall, which the Jews call ha-KOtel ha-maarara (west wall), was called ’Wailing Wall en because of the influence of Christianity and the way of worship performed in front of it. The Wailing Wall, which is approximately 485 m long, consists of twenty four large stone rows above ground level and nineteen stone benches under ground. Until the 1967 Arab-Israel (Six-Day) War, only 30 meters were used for worship.

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In the present form, eleven rows at the top of the wall are from the Islamic period. The rest is not from the time of Prophet Suleiman, but carries the architectural characteristics of King Herod period. The upper part of the wall was restored by Ottoman Sultan ''Suleiman the Magnificent''. This wall is also a kind ofsupport wall and the highest point of the wall leads to Harem'er Sharif and the nearest Masjid-i Aksa. from this area it is also possible to move to the Jewish quarter and you have to pass through the search control point controlled by the Israeli police to access this area from other parts of Jerusalem. The houses with the wiew of Western wall and the square where it is located are known as the most expensive properties in Jerusalem. If you want to get close to the wall, no matter what your religion you need to wear the Jewish hat ''Kipa''. The cartons made of cardboard are distributed free of charge. You can squeeze a piece of paper between the stones of the wall and have a wish. This is the most sacred Jewish area on earth. In the field, the section devoted to women is separate and there is haram application.

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Shopping street in Arab Quarter

When you walk a few hundred meters after entering the gate of Jafa you will come to the entrance of the Arab market. When you enter here, you will enter into a maze of narrow streets filled with souvenir shops, food and beverage shops on both sides, which occasionally descends, & from time to time on a rising ground. The distinction of the Via Dolorosa will be within this bazaar. Eating and drinking is not very strict. Arabian ''Humus'' and ''Felafe''l are the most known foods. Various bakery dessert types are also available. The most drinkable thing is the pomegranate juice prepared in front of you. Although the majority of the shopkeepers are Muslims, they usually sell gift & souvenirs related with Christianity. Watch your wallet and bag in the crowd. If you want to buy something, bargain & don't pay more than half of the price.

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CARDO / ROMAN ERA MAIN STREET

Cardo (Hebrew: in HaCardo) is the name given to the main street as a standard in ancient Roman cities, extending from the north to the south and lined with a row of columns on both sides. The Cardo of Jerusalem starts at the Damascus Gate in the north (with a view to the direction of Damascus) and extends to the Zion Gate. Cardo is depicted in the Madaba Map, which is part of a tile mosaic dating to the 6th century AD in Madaba, a Byzantine church in Jordan. The Madaba Map is a map of the Middle East and contains the most elaborate surviving depiction of Jerusalem.

The northern part of Cardo extends from the Damascus Gate to the David Street and is addressed to the Roman period. The southern part of the site extends from this point to the western side of the Jewish quarter and was built during the Byzantine period in the 6th century AD.

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ZEDEKİAH CAVE

Zedekiah Cave It is a limestone cave in the size of five city blocks under the Muslim quarter in the old city of Jerusalem. It is said to have been built during the construction of the temple of Solomon. Another historical myth is that The King of Babylon Zedekiah, who had fled from the Nabuketnezzar in 586 had been hiding in this cave for months.
In 1854, the American Archaeologist. Found by James Turner Barclay. The cave that has been hidden for centuries has been claimed to be used by the masons for secret meetings and kept secret. even today, only a portion of the cave is opened to visit, other secret sections are still used for secret meetings. Zedekiah cave is one of the most interesting, most amazing and important tourist attractions of Jerusalem. As it is the fashion in movie industry for the last 10 years 'Zombie' film was recorded in the caves, by the Israelis.

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