If you come to Jerusalem, and you walk through the narrow streets of the Old City, you will find the Lion’s Gate which marks the entrance of the Via Dolorosa. The Via Dolorosa leads to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. The last five stations of the Cross are within the Basilica of Holy Sepulchre. You are now in the Chapel of Saint Helena. It is a 12th-century Armenian church in the lower level of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This Church was built in honor of Helena, Emperor Constantine’s mother. The large decorative floor mosaic is modern, from the 20th century, by the Israeli artist Have Yofe. Part of it depicts churches in historical Armenia.
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Walking into the Via Dolorosa, and passing the Ninth Station, you can start to see the Roof and the Apse of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. Here Jesus collapsed, within sight of the place of his crucifixion.
Also called the Church of the Resurrection or Church of the Anastasis by Orthodox Christians, you can see the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, here in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The last five stations of the Via Dolorosa are located into this Basilica. This Basilica contains the two holiest sites in Christianity: the Place of the Crucifixion and the Place of his Resurrection.
In the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, we find a Greek Altar standing over the Rock of Calvary. Here Jesus died. Whatever one’s faith or beliefs, a candle could be lit in this magnificent place and surroundings to the memory of the grief of Mary. Here, many people from different religions come to pray and light a candle for the eternal grief of mothers at the death of their children. We tried to capture the spirit of the moment. Light over darkness, the power of love over hate, and serenity over distress.
Quruntul, or Quarantania, or Mount of Temptation is from the word quarantine (Greek for “40”), referring to the 40 days that Jesus fasted before he was tempted by the Devil. Located in the Judean Desert, on a mountain height of 366 meters (1,201 ft), a Greek Orthodox Monastery offers a spectacular panoramic view of the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea and the mountains of Moab and Gilead. Since Jesus always stood with the poor and the sick, he fasted during this period, as a sign of sympathy with lepers who were put in quarantines for 40 days away from healthy people. Mount of Temptation is located to the west of Tel as-Sultan. In the belt-shaped Monastery, Monks and hermits have inhabited the mountain since the early centuries of Christianity.
Take a walk in the narrow streets of the Old City of Jerusalem and feel its power. Here, all religions are represented. Despite all the tensions, everyone is united in their reverence for this holy ground. All pilgrims from all religions like to believe that, while God is everywhere, all prayers go through Jerusalem, and the Holy Spirit comes down to them via Jerusalem. There is a local joke about Jerusalem: “There’s a golden phone with a direct connection to God at the Vatican. To make a call, it costs $1,000. And there’s a similar golden phone offering the same service here in Jerusalem, where the same call costs only 25 cents.” Now you are asking why? “It’s a local call.”
The Temple Mount is considered as one of the most sacred places in Jerusalem for Christians, Jews and Muslims, and is definitely worth a visit.
For the Jews, the Temple Mount was the location of the First Temple, built by King Solomon in 957 BC to house the Ark of the Covenant. It’s the most sacred site in Judaism, and the Foundation Stone under the dome is where, according to Jewish tradition, the Earth was first created. For Muslims, Haram al-Sharif (the name in Arabic) is the 3rd holiest site in Islam after Mecca & Medina in Saudi Arabia. The rock under the dome is where the Prophet Muhammad left Earth to go to heaven on a winged horse. For Christians, the Temple Mount is significant because the Jewish temple located here was where Jesus prayed daily & later preached with his disciples.
This is the Station Eleven on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem: the Chapel of the Crucifixion, also called the Chapel of the Nailing of the Cross. Jesus was nailed to the Cross on Golgotha Hill. This Latin Shrine, inside the Basilica of The Holy Sepulchre, is under the patronage of the Roman Catholic Franciscan brothers in the name of the western world of Christianity. Called the The Altar, this is the most precious religious artifact in the Holy Land today. Since the Church of The Holy Sepulchre Church was damaged by a fire in the year 1808, most of the mosaics around the Church were destroyed, except for one piece: right above, we have the original mosaic from the crusader time, marking Jesus as the emperor of the world.
When visiting Masada, you embark on a historical journey. Located on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, and overlooking the Dead Sea, this place was fortified by Alexander Jannaeus, and then Herod the Great built a large fortress on the plateau as a refuge for himself in the event of a revolt, and erected there two palaces. Masada stands as the symbol of the Jewish resistance. Indeed, the siege of Masada by troops of the Roman Empire at the end of the First Jewish–Roman War ended in the mass suicide of 960 people, the Sicarii rebels and the resident Jewish families hiding there.
Masada was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.