Monday, December 21, 2009

The Christmas tree that came out on top

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The best--and almost only--place in Jerusalem to find Christmas decorations is inside the walled Old City.
Yesterday, for That's My World Tuesday, I walked all around the Christian Quarter in search of the red and green.

The inflated Santa Claus waved me into the arcade of the old Imperial Hotel.
I found it hilarious that a Christmas tree was standing atop the little-known column!

If you click to enlarge the photo you can see the inscription:
M • IVNIO MAXIMO LEG AVGG ANTONINIANA LEG • X • FR C DOM SERG IVL HONORATVS STREIV

The Latin is a votive inscription to Marcus Maximus, a legate of the Tenth Legion, Fretensis.

Walk inside the gate under the sign "Hotel Imperial" to find the Santa.
The hotel is just inside the Jaffa Gate that we talked about in yesterday's post.
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When foundations for the hotel were being dug in 1884-89 the column shaft was found, along with roof tiles stamped LEG X FR. The kiln where the Roman Xth Legion Frentensis soldiers made the ceramics can be seen in earlier posts, here and here.
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We here in Israel remember this unit as the one which conquered the city and destroyed the Second Temple. They were garrisoned in the city until the late 3rd century.
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I really wonder how the pagan conqueror Marcus Maximus would feel if he could see the Christian Christmas tree standing on top of his column which is now in the capital of a sovereign Jewish state.
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26 comments:

Jew Wishes said...

I enjoyed looking at these photos. I love the bit of red popping out of the architecture in the bottom photo.

Lovely images...all.

Rajesh said...

Beautiful Christmas decorations. The Santa is really inflated and cute.

Robin said...

I don't know what he'd say, but for me "serves him right" comes to mind ;).

jeannette stgermain said...

In view of centuries, things have a different perspective, isn't t (referring to the Roman emperor).
That's interesting Dina - I had expected Christmas decorations in the suburbs or shopping areas, instead of the old walled city!

Guy D said...

Wonderful decorations and the architecture on that building is amazing. Great photos.

All the best
Guy
Regina In Pictures

Reader Wil said...

It's such a funny thing to see a santa in some very warm countries. MY daughter in Australia always pities poor Santa to be dressed in such warm clothes!

Dina said...

Shalom friends and thanks for your comments. Always appreciate hearing from you.

Jeannette, the majority of Jerusalem's Christians live in the Old City. The "new" city is mainly Jewish so we have no Christmas anything.

Wil, it was a warm 23 degrees C today in Jerusalem but tomorrow will be down to 11.

J Bar said...

Interesting to see. Thanks.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

susieofarabia said...

Well, that's more of a sign of Christmas than I've seen here! Hope you are enjoying your holiday season, Dina!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Your country is full of ironies.

Cloudia said...

Time moves on....

Shalom & Aloha, Friend!


Comfort Spiral

Petrea said...

The juxtaposition of religions in history is exemplified in your photo, in a way. So many traditions are jumbled together in modern religions as it is.

What a fantastic place Jerusalem is.

Sylvia K said...

Marvelous photos and I always love the history that you include in so many of your posts. I do kind of wonder what his reaction to the tree in that particular place would be. Talk about the meeting of two worlds!

Have a great week, Dina!

Sylvia

Leif Hagen said...

But Dina, I know that he isn't the REAL Santa because I saw the real Santa at a shopping mall over here!

Louis la Vache said...

«Louis», as always, appreciates the commentary on the history.

FA said...

Love the history lesson and the commentary. I like Robin's comment (lol).

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Beautiful<lovely and fantastic shot !! This is so beautiful !!

RuneE said...

I think I would preferred the column - plastic Christmas trees and inflatable Santas are not for me.

Vaggelis said...

impressive the game of history. Merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful new year to you and your family

Dirkjogt said...

Interesting history story and nice pictures.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, I remember Santa well!

Sara said...

It is ironic isn't it! I love that you shared this bit of information with the rest of us.

BlossomFlowerGirl said...

Such a lot of history there. Thank you for showing them. Is there a Father Christmas strolling around the Old Quarter?
Cheers.
Melbourne Daily Photo

katney said...

How fun. You do the best exploring.

Pietro said...

So interesting, Dina. Nice Christmas decorations; I agree, the tree on the column is really funny.

Kay said...

It seems incongruous to see a modern day inflated Santa amidst all that history.