Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Walking the Walls: Damascus Gate to Lions' Gate

On Sunday Morning we caught bus #75 (it is an Arab bus that runs from the Mount of Olives to Damascus Gate and is the only bus the students are allowed to ride) in front of the lower entrance of the Center. Damascus Gate is the most elaborate of all of Jerusalem's seven functioning gates. It is also the most fortified since the northern approach to the city was on flat land and thus a more easy assault. Usually the plaza in front of the gate is packed with Arab vendors but during the fasting month of Ramadan most vendors stay home until late afternoon.
Damascus gate is built above the site of a Roman gate (the gate of the pillar). It is interesting to note how low the Roman city was nearly 2,000 years ago and how over the centuries the city level has risen due to filling in by ruble from destruction.
On the lower level of the gate looking south across the Muslim Quarter.
From the top of the wall looking at the bus station where bus #75 took us. The rocky mount behind is one of the two traditional sites of Calvary aka Golgatha--the place of the skull. Two indentations in the cliff do make it look like a skull. To the left of Calvary are the green trees of the Garden Tomb area where most Protestants think Jesus was resurrected.
Refurbishing the wall.
Saladin Street. The main shopping street of Arab East Jerusalem. This is where we come to cash checks and exchange dollars. The main Post Office is the large building at the right.
The yard and home for one of the many Jewish families that have moved into the Muslim Quarter over the past 30 years.
Looking south across the Muslim Quarter to the Dome of the Rock
Joel took this photo. It is a school playground and the roof tops of the Old City.
Joel wore his BYU shirt in celebration of the BYU win over Oklahoma the night before.
Will had a hunger attack (these happen often) so we took an apple snack break.
The up and down of the wall
Walking the walls. Some other day we will walk from Damascus Gate to Dung Gate.
A view of our home from the wall.
The Mount of Olives with Gethsemane at its base.
I like this view of the Mount of Olives. I bet this olive garden looks a lot like it would have 2,000 years ago when Jesus came here to pray.
From the top of Lions' Gate (aka Stephen's Gate). This is near the beginning of the Via Dolorosa (the way of suffering). Just up the street is the first station of the cross at the site of the Antonia Fortress where Jesus was tried before Pilate and condemned to death.
Lions' gate.
Walking home from the Old City we stopped for a bible teaching moment. Sarah has a palm full of mustard seed. They all came from one little seed pod. We all took turns popping open the pods to collect the seeds in our palms. Jesus used these seeds to teach of the power of faith and how the Kingdom of God will grow.
Mustard blossoms and seed pods.
A mustard plant in the Kidron Valley tall enough for birds to lodge in it.
Faithful children in front of a mustard plant.

Will has been feeling much better this week and has attended all three days of pre-school at Augusta Victoria. Marie often stays and helps out which is good for some of the more traumatized younger children at the school who find Marie's lap comforting, her games fun and her songs entertaining. Years of experience from service in the nursery at church are being put to good use.

This Friday we will walk with all of the students down to the Western (Wailing) Wall to experience Friday evening prayers at the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath.


  1. Thanks for the tour. It brought back a lot of memories from our previous trips. Sarah, Joel, and Will will be thankful for all of the pictures when they get older to help remnd them of their year in Jerusalem.

  2. I still use the mustard seed bookmark that you gave us in your New Testament class. That looks like a pretty sweet playground too.

  3. Marie - I hope you don't mind me looking at your blog. Annette pointed me here.

    I LOVED looking at all your photos!! I never got a shot of Golgatha from where you were standing - that was fabulous! It really gives it perspective. I was shocked to see more settlements in the Arab quarter of the city - I had thought that was somewhat taboo still. I guess not.

    I need to go through the rest of your blog. I'm happy you are there. You are safe! And it looks like you're having such a wonderful time. Give our best to your family!!