Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Day 7: The Garden Tomb, Hezikiah's Tunnel, & Muslim Cemetery

Tianna's corresponding blog: (click here)

Once again we went back to the Garden Tomb. Even though this tomb is not considered a "traditional site" it feels like it has the most validity to me. The other aspect of the tomb that I am fond of is that it hasn't been plastered with all the decorations that you find in the other churches, you are free to contemplate the significance of the event much easier. Since we arrived at the garden so early I was able to notice a little detail that was previously overlooked. There is now a door to replace the stone that once blocked the tomb. On the door is a small plaque that reads: "He is not here for he is risen." On previous visits the door was always wide open and I always looked right past it. This sign provides a nice touch. It is a subtle reminder of what may have occurred in this location and the simplicity helped me contemplate the individual application of the event. My project image can be viewed by clicking here. It turned out well and still remains one of my favorites.

After leaving the quite of the tomb, the business of the old city seemed all the more apparent and I realized that I needed to try and capture the busy visual noise that exists in this city. So below is some more mood of Jerusalem images.

At one shop I experienced a dramatic double take. A BYU pendant. No other college knickknacks to speak of just that one pendant. There were a number of shops that were known to capitalize on the Mormon tourist but this was not one of them. A beautiful little beacon from home in the middle of souvenir and trinket hell.

This man sat with his camel at Jaffa gate offering rides. I passed but don't worry I have a camel story to share a little later.
This was one of the first days where the heat of the middle east was very obvious. We decided today would be a great day to venture over to Hezekiah's tunnel and play in the water while hiding from the heat. This tunnel was located in the City of David which is located outside of the current city wall for old Jerusalem, who knew. Those who have wondered how David was able to look onto another roof and see anything of importance while Bathsheba was bathing has obviously not been to the City of David. This city was tightly built on a steep hill with houses being built right up against each other. It would not have been hard to see more that you should have in an environment like this. In the image to the right the space is stretched out considerably. I used the equivalent of an 18mm lens to take this picture. This is like looking into a mirror in a car where you are warned that objects are much closer than they appear. This next image was taken from within Warren's Shaft, which is a separate tunnel then Hezekiah's.
This tunnel was built to access the water from the Gihon spring. This was the only spring in Jerusalem and was located outside the city walls. They needed a way to access their water during periods of war and this tunnel was their solution. I never cease to be amazed at ancient ingenuity.
The tunnel and water end at the pool of Siloam. This is the site were Christ healed the blind.
Unfortunately they have recently discovered that the pool of Siloam is in fact a little further away and much more elaborate. Here is an artist rendering of what the pool may have looked like based on the recent excavations. (Along with some pictures of the excavations.)

We emerged from the tunnels just in time to walk back home during my favorite light of the day, sunset. This first picture was of the moon rising over a Muslim settlement on the other side of the valley from the City of David.
We started walking back through the Kidron Valley and decided to take a little risk and go through the Muslim cemetery that lines the city wall. It provided a beautiful view of the Jewish cemetery while it was bathed in the waning sunlight.

Another picture of the Church of Mary Magdalene.

This is a picture of the Golden Gate/Gate of Repentance/or the Gate Beautiful. As you can see this is no longer a gate. (This is Middle Eastern spite at its best.) Jewish prophecy states that the Messiah will enter Jerusalem through this gate. Obviously the Muslims do not believe in this prophecy so they could have simply ignored it. This solution was way too easy and lacking in spite and/or comedic value. So instead they block the gate up so that no one can enter it. Why stop there you may ask, and I'm glad you did as the Muslims did not stop there either. The Muslims learned that according to the Jews their Messiah would not be able to walk through a cemetery. So if you have ever wondered about the logic for the current location of the Muslim cemetery you now know. They are just daring the Jews to find a way for that prophecy to be fulfilled. Previously a professor from the BYU Center received permission to go down through some of the tombs and found another gate that was located lower than the one that we can now see. So apparently the Muslims owe a debt of gratitude to the Romans for pushing the remains of the temple over the wall and blocking the gate better than they could have done on their own. Despite the spiteful nature of the cemetery, it proved to be quite peaceful and relaxing. We only saw a couple of people and they appeared friendly to us trespassing Americans. Later on a Muslim named Omar (One of the guys who caters to the Mormon tourists, specifically in Olive Wood) told us that we were kind of dumb to go through there and that we should probably never do it again. Luckily we made it through alive and unscathed and have some fun pictures to show for it.
This was a sign at the entrance to the cemetery. It probably says something like "trespassing infidels will be shot on sight" or something like that. Again ignorance is bliss. (at least in retrospect)


Amber said...

I love the last shot here.

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