Today most of our time was spent in the old city of Jerusalem. We started at the Kotel, the Western Wall or Wailing Wall, which is the last remaining wall of the second temple, i.e. the temple that was standing in Jesus’ time and which was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70.
From there, we got in line to go up to the temple mount, where the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock stand today, and where the inside of the temple was located, including the Holy of Holies.
From there we followed the Via Dolorosa, the traditional path followed by Jesus leading to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where there are good historical reasons to think that the crucifixion and burial of Jesus took place.
After this, we had a bit of time for shopping in the old city, and so I took the students along the Cardo in the Jewish Quarter, which not only replicates an ancient shopping area but also allows one to see down to walls from the period before the city’s destruction by the Babylonians in 586 BC. From there, we walked in parallel to the teme mount through the Muslim Quarter, until we were once again at the Via Dolorosa, only is time with time to shop.
After this, the students were exhausted.
But we were not done yet! We went to the Israel Museum, where we visited the model of second temple Jerusalem, the Shrine of the Book where some of the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed, and finally I simply had to run them quickly through the rest of the museum to see some of the fascinating and important antiquities.
Tomorrow will essentially be our last day in Israel. One of us departs tomorrow night, and the rest of us will depart very early the following morning. The plan is to travel to Old Yafa (Joppa) and then go to our hotel where we will not sleep overnight, but at least we can relax, and perhaps even get to the beach on the Mediterranean Sea for a swim. Then, it will be off to the hotel and heading for home!