Church of the Holy Sepulchre in East Jerusalem

2 April 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  16 minutes

Calvary/Golgotha © Gerd Eichmann/cc-by-sa-4.0

Calvary/Golgotha © Gerd Eichmann/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a church in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of East Jerusalem. It contains, according to traditions dating back to the fourth century, the two holiest sites in Christianity: the site where Jesus was crucified, at a place known as Calvary or Golgotha, and Jesus’s empty tomb, where he was buried and resurrected. The tomb is enclosed by a 19th-century shrine called the Aedicula. The Status Quo, an understanding between religious communities dating to 1757, applies to the site. Within the church proper are the last four (or, by some definitions, five) stations of the Via Dolorosa, representing the final episodes of the Passion of Jesus. The church has been a major Christian pilgrimage destination since its creation in the fourth century, as the traditional site of the resurrection of Christ, thus its original Greek name, Church of the Anastasis (‘Resurrection’). Today, the wider complex around the Church of the Holy Sepulchre also serves as the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem, while control of the church itself is shared among several Christian denominations and secular entities in complicated arrangements essentially unchanged for over 160 years, and some for much longer. The main denominations sharing property over parts of the church are the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian Apostolic, and to a lesser degree the Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox.   read more…

Mea Shearim in West Jerusalem

11 January 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  2 minutes

Shabbat Square © Djampa/cc-by-sa-4.0

Shabbat Square © Djampa/cc-by-sa-4.0

Mea Shearim (“hundred gates”; contextually, “a hundred fold”) is one of the oldest Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem. It is populated by Haredi Jews, and was built by members of the Old Yishuv. The oldest Sephardic Haredi dynasty, Levi Kahana of Spain, has a religious cultural center in the neighborhood. The name Mea Shearim is derived from a verse from Genesis, which happened to be part of the weekly Torah portion that was read the week the settlement was founded: “Isaac sowed in that land, and in that year, he reaped a hundredfold; God had blessed him” (Genesis 26:12). According to a tradition, the community originally had 100 gates, another meaning of Mea Shearim.   read more…

The origins of Jerusalem stone architecture in East Jerusalem

23 November 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  12 minutes

Old town Suq Aftimos © Rastaman3000/cc-by-sa-3.0

Old town Suq Aftimos © Rastaman3000/cc-by-sa-3.0

Jerusalem stone (Meleke) is a lithologic type of white, coarsely-crystalline, thickly bedded-limestone found in the Judean Hills in Israel and the West Bank. It has been used in the traditional architecture of Jerusalem since ancient times, especially in Herodian architecture. Though it is often popularly referred to as Jerusalem stone, that phrase can refer to a number of different types of stone found and used in or associated with Jerusalem. Jerusalem stone is a name applied to various types of pale limestone, dolomite and dolomitic limestone, common in and around Jerusalem that have been used in building since ancient times. One of these limestones has been used in many of the region’s most celebrated structures, including the Western Wall. Jerusalem stone continues to be used in construction and incorporated in Jewish ceremonial art such as menorahs and seder plates. Limestone is used all over the world. The unique selling point is the mining area, the origins of which lie in the Palestinian old town of East Jerusalem. This unique selling point naturally also applies to other mining areas, e.g. for the Austin Stone from Austin, Texas or the Cotswold Stone from the British Cotswolds.   read more…

Beit Aghion in West Jerusalem

14 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  7 minutes

U.S. Vice President and possible future U.S. President Joe Biden meets With Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu © U.S. Department of State/Matty Stern

U.S. Vice President and possible future U.S. President Joe Biden meets With Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu
© U.S. Department of State/Matty Stern

Beit Aghion, also known as Beit Rosh HaMemshala (House of the Prime Minister) is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Israel. It is located at 9 Smolenskin Street, on the street corner of Balfour Street in the upscale West Jerusalem neighborhood of Rehavia, situated between the city center and the Talbiya neighborhood. The private residence of Netanyahu is located in Caesarea, north of the ancient city of Caesarea Palaestinae, where the official residence of the Roman praeses Pontius Pilate was located (Pilate stone).   read more…

Chapel of Notre Dame in West Jerusalem

19 June 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  4 minutes

Notre Dame of Jerusalem © Mislishka/cc-by-sa-3.0

Notre Dame of Jerusalem © Mislishka/cc-by-sa-3.0

The “Chapel of Our Lady of Jerusalem” (French: “Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Jérusalem”) or “Chapel of Notre Dame”, is a religious building affiliated with the Catholic Church which is located in the “Complex of Notre Dame of Jerusalem” (formerly known as “Notre Dame de France”, or “Our Lady of France”) which was built by French religious between 1893 and 1894 in West Jerusalem, as part of a larger group of buildings known as the “Hospice of Our Lady of France”, which was built mostly in stone with “defensive” purposes.   read more…

Mahane Yehuda Market in West Jerusalem

8 April 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  7 minutes

© Sir kiss

© Sir kiss

Mahane Yehuda Market (Shuk Mahane Yehuda), often referred to as “The Shuk“, is a marketplace (originally open-air, but now partially covered) in West Jerusalem. Popular with locals and tourists alike, the market’s more than 250 vendors sell fresh fruits and vegetables; baked goods; fish, meat and cheeses; nuts, seeds, and spices; wines and liquors; clothing and shoes; and housewares, textiles, and Judaica.   read more…

Portrait: Emperor Titus

21 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait Reading Time:  20 minutes

Château de Versailles - Bust of Titus © Coyau/cc-by-sa-3.0

Château de Versailles – Bust of Titus © Coyau/cc-by-sa-3.0

Titus was Roman emperor from 79 to 81. A member of the Flavian dynasty, Titus succeeded his father Vespasian upon his death, thus becoming the first Roman emperor to come to the throne after his own biological father. Prior to becoming emperor, Titus gained renown as a military commander, serving under his father in Judea during the First Jewish–Roman War. The campaign came to a brief halt with the death of emperor Nero in 68, launching Vespasian’s bid for the imperial power during the Year of the Four Emperors. When Vespasian was declared Emperor on 1 July 69, Titus was left in charge of ending the Jewish rebellion. In 70, he besieged and captured Jerusalem, and destroyed the city and the Second Temple so that the city became uninhabitable for over 60 years (the present day Old City was then the whole of Jerusalem). For this achievement Titus was awarded a triumph: the Arch of Titus commemorates his victory to this day. The influence on the later developments of Christianity and Judaism through the results of the Jewish-Roman Wars (First Jewish–Roman War, Kitos War and Bar Kokhba revolt) was considerable. While Christianity experienced a rapid worldwide growth, Judaism declined into Diaspora groups.   read more…

Theme Week West Jerusalem – Rehavia

9 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  9 minutes

Terra Sancta College on Keren HaYesod Street © Djampa/cc-by-sa-4.0

Terra Sancta College on Keren HaYesod Street © Djampa/cc-by-sa-4.0

Rehavia, also Rechavia, is an upscale West Jerusalem neighborhood located between the city center and Talbiya. The Prime Minister‘s Official Residence is the “Aghion House“, at No. 3 Balfour Street near the corner with Smolenskin Street. Most of Rehavia’s streets are named after Jewish scholars and poets from the Golden Age of Jewish culture in Spain. Among them are Abravanel, Ben Maimon, Ibn Ezra, Rabbi Moses ben Nachman, and Radak. A glaring omission is the name of Yehuda Halevy, celebrated physician, poet, and philosopher. Zionist leader Menachem Ussishkin, who lived on Rechov Yehuda Halevy, changed the name of the street to Rechov Ussishkin in honor of his 70th birthday in 1933, and installed new ceramic signs crafted by local Armenian craftspeople.   read more…

Theme Week East Jerusalem – The Western or Buraq Wall

7 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  14 minutes

Men's and women's prayer area © Daniel Case/cc-by-sa-3.0

Men’s and women’s prayer area © Daniel Case/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Western Wall, Wailing Wall, or Kotel, known in Islam as the Buraq Wall, is an ancient limestone wall in the Old City of East Jerusalem. It is a relatively small segment of a far longer ancient retaining wall, known also in its entirety as the “Western Wall”. The wall was originally erected as part of the expansion of the Second Temple begun by Herod the Great, which resulted in the encasement of the natural, steep hill known to Jews and Christians as the Temple Mount, with the Dome of the Rock/Qubbat As-Sakhrah and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in a large rectangular structure topped by a huge flat platform, thus creating more space for the Temple itself and its auxiliary buildings. For Muslims, it is the site where the Islamic Prophet Muhammad tied his steed, al-Buraq, on his night journey to Jerusalem before ascending to paradise, and constitutes the Western border of al-Haram al-Sharif.   read more…

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