Yesterday afternoon Claire, Lauren and I went to the Old city. We rode the city bus it was my first time on one of the Egged buses. The bus was packed and more people kept getting on at each stop. We actually missed the stop by Damascus gate but it ended up working out okay. Instead we entered the city by the New Gate which hardly any tourists ever see. The area around the New Gate is a residential area I can't imagine what it would be like living inside the old city walls.
We returned to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre since Lauren had never seen it. This time some of my pictures from inside turned out. But first I'd like to tell you about another one of the arguments between the Christian sects that control parts of the Church. This one is equally baffling to me.
These stairs are another point of argument. The door to the church is just off the left side of the picture. You can see these stairs in my picture from last week. The plaza area in front of the church is controlled by the Greek Orthodox monks. Those stairs lead up to the Ethiopian monastery but the Armenian Orthodox church controls the stair case.
Here is a close up of the stairs look at where their feet are resting on the bottom row. Now ask yourself this question is that a stair or is it part of the plaza? Yes that is what the argument is about. Everyday when they are cleaning they meet at this spot and argue over who gets to clean it. The hostility is so bad between the Christian sects that the keys to the church are kept by a local Muslim family. The family comes twice a day to lock and unlock the church. I still can't believe the lack of cooperation in this church. Each sect has their own little chapel areas walking through yesterday I noticed some church pews stacked on top of each other they were chained together and then chained to a column. I guess whoever they belonged to was worried someone else was going to take them?
This is just inside the door of the church. Tradition says that this rock slab is were Jesus body was laid out to be prepared for burial. Well maybe there is a story circulating that about 300 years ago the rock got a huge crack in it and they replaced it. I don't know if its true or not. Unfortunately my pictures of the spot they believe the cross was placed did not turn out. Its just up a steep set of stairs to the right of this picture. The lighting up there is odd and there are a lot of gold covered objects that reflect strangely in the pictures and make them blurry. I'll try again the next time I'm there.
The site of the cross is upstairs from this spot. Above the table you see a window showing you a rock with a crack in it. Tradition says when Jesus was on the cross the ground split open and his blood ran down through the crack. The stone under the table is suppose to cover Adam's grave Jesus' blood soaked Adam's bones and cleansed him of sin.
Here is what I know you have been wanting to see this is the Sepulchre itself. Inside this structure is where Jesus was buried. This is the view from the side so you can get an idea of its size. You can also see the long line of tourists waiting to go in. The tomb itself is very small and only five people can go in at a time.
Here is the front of the Sepulchre above the arched doorway there are paintings of the apostles. I have no pictures of the inside of the tomb. It just didn't feel right to take pictures in there.
This is the dome ceiling about the Sepulchre. It looks like the rays of the sun. It allows sunlight to shine down on the top of the Sepulchre.
Here is the dome ceiling in one of the chapels I'm not sure who owns this particular chapel. However you might recognize this painting of Jesus its pretty famous.
This was a nice surprise outside of Jaffa gate there was a craft fair going on. They had the area blocked off so you had to have security check your bag before you could enter.
Nice music to listen to while you shop. As we were walking around we kept hearing a pitiful meows from cats but we couldn't find cats anywhere. It turned out that there wasn't a cat at all. One of the stands was selling cat whistles and all the kids had them and that's why we were hearing cats everywhere. I didn't even know cat whistles existed.
This was the best stand at the craft fair. Puppets and tiny finger puppets! Aren't they adorable?