Mark told us that it was King Constantine and Queen Elena who decided, after 300 years, that the Christian sites should be located. Jerusalem was a sleepy town at that time and nobody knew for sure what actually happened where. As somebody told me, “It’s not that important.”
image from google
We climbed some old stone stairs and we were on the flats roofs. This was the easiest route for moving around the city and was great for terrorists. The view was magnificent with the Mount of Olives in the distance. The city is surrounded by hills, making it difficult to capture, except to the North where the university lies. It is designed to be converted to military capabilities within hours.
Mark showed us a hotel that was built with Jewish graves as foundation stones.
“Why don’t you bomb the hotel and reclaim it?” someone asked.
“It’s not our way.”
We navigated our way to arrive at the Temple Mount.
Those of us in shorts had to borrow a long piece of cloth that looked like a dress, nice. Mark and an Arab man had a loud conversation. “We don’t have to ask permission. It’s our right to be here.”
The Dome of the Rock had such beautiful lines and stood proud, as it had done for a thousand years. The 2 Temples were destroyed long ago but are remembered by breaking a glass at every Jewish wedding.
image from google
“Mohammad went to heaven on a white horse from here, according to legend. You can go inside the mosque but you have to pay. All synagogues are free to enter. They have the shirts of those that were shot because they were rioting.” we were told. “I can’t see the point in that.”
After lunch we dropped ‘down the dustpipe’, as I observed, to look at Gethsemane with its massive olive trees. Jesus was arrested here (or one of 3 other places) and marched to his trial. We were also shown one of the two birth places of Mary.