Monday, June 4, 2012

In the Russian bell tower

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Ascension Day was my first time to visit the Russian Monastery of the Ascension.
(I showed you some of the graves there last Tuesday.)

Everyone knows its tall landmark bell tower; you can't look toward the Mount of Olives and not see it rising on the crest of the mountain.

And guess what!
This was the only way up the tower.
Needless to say, I climbed to the first level and not to the very top.

Right next to the convent we saw this big Muslim cemetery and a mosque.

Beyond, one sees the modern tower of the Hebrew University Mt. Scopus campus.
(You can enlarge all the photos here.)

To its right is the tower of the Lutheran Augusta Victoria.
Off to the top right, in the haze of summer heat--the eastern desert.
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While we were up there looking out in all four directions, our tower's bells rang!
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The guidebook says
Sent from Russia to the Holy Land port of Jaffa [on the other side of the country] in 1885, the bell weighed eight tons and was too heavy to transport by horse.
In the end a special wheel-shaped wagon was built to house the bell, which was pulled, pushed, and rolled by Russian pilgrims--most of them women--all the way to the Mount of Olives.
The trip took three weeks and several pilgrims fell by the wayside.
But eventually, singing hymns, the group reached Jerusalem and the bell was lifted into the tower.
Aviva Bar-Am, Beyond the Walls: Churches of Jerusalem
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I hope you enjoyed this tour for Our World Tuesday and just a glimpse of a Muslim cemetery for Taphophile Tragics. Shalom!
Linking also to inSPIREd Sunday.
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22 comments:

Gary said...

Fascinating post again!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

KB said...

Beautiful pics.

crystal said...

Nice photos! :) Is that barbed wire in the foreground?

The staircase looks a little scary but beautiful. It reminds me of this one in another religious place ... http://povcrystal.blogspot.com/2009/05/st-joseph-worker.html

Jim said...

Very interesting post.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Black Jack's Carol said...

I did enjoy your tour very much, Dina. That would be quite the challenge climbing the last section of the Bell Tower. I did like the way it was winding its way forward. And the Moslem cemetery was very interesting to see as well. Shalom!

Dina said...

Crystal, Yes, I took the picture with the barbed wire for dramatic effect. The tall arch windows have a railing and then barbed wire above it. I guess to prevent people from leaning out (or jumping?).

I remember your post about the miraculous building of the spiral staircase at the Loretto church in New Mexico. That one looks much more comfortable than the tight one at the Russian monastery.

cieldequimper said...

Super post, gorgeous views (even from the first floor only!!)

Joe said...

What a fascinating place. Thanks for sharing your images and knowledge.

Robin said...

What a feat to get the bell there. We take so much for granted these days...

Lovely photos, as always.

Julie said...

That bell rolling was a labour of love to the very end. I hope they don't literally mean 'fall by the wayside'!

Yes, the view from the first floor only was terrific. The muslim cemetery is more uniform that the ones here, but the ground is so very much drier and rockier.

Terrific post, Dina. Taa ...

Gemma Wiseman said...

Incredible that a wagon was specially built to move the bell! Amazing view of the Muslim cemetery!

Nicola Carpenter said...

Fantastic pictures. I love that spiral staircase, but ou wouldn't catch me going up there.

Herdign Cats

Hels said...

I am with Nicola. I would love to see the sensational views from the top, but a narrow, steep spiral staircase might be a bit anxiety-provoking.

Is the tower on an angle at all, like Pisa? Or was the camera tilted marginally to one side?

VP said...

Impressive view, the barbed wire is so typical... About the bell, in one way or another women always get the real hard work!

Sara said...

That stairway makes me dizzy just looking at it!

Dina said...

Shalom friends, I'm enjoying your comments!

Hels, the tower is straight. I was just shooting on the fly. The friend who was guiding me that day likes to cover a lot in one day so I almost have to run to keep up with her.

Thankfully the staircase is not closed in. But even so, if people had been on the stairs below and above me, I would have felt trapped. That old claustrophobia. That's why I didn't go up to the top.

Fun60 said...

Great pictures and info on a part of the world I've never been to - thank-you for sharing.

CaT said...

climbing up is always fine for me. but going down im often suddenly scared. especially with such a spiral staircase...

Kay said...

Such gorgeous photos, Dina! I wouldn't have climbed that to the top either. Uh uh... No way. But Art?

JM said...

Very cool perspective of the stairs.

Tom said...

such a lovely view

Bill Nicholls said...

Takes some dedication climbing that lot