Friday, July 1, 2016

Why this Jerusalem square is named for a caliph

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City Daily Photo bloggers are posting today on the theme "Look down."
Here we are looking down on Omar ibn al-Khatab Square, just inside Jaffa Gate.
Enlarge the photo a few times and you can pick out a bagel pushcart, shopkeepers, tourists, police, Arabs, and Jews.
Under the white canopy a bar mitzvah boy is returning from his bar mitzvah ceremony at the Western Wall, preceded by musicians with drum, flute, and shofar.


To take the looking-down photos I had climbed many tall stairs to reach the top of  Phasael Tower observatory.
Built in the 1st century BCE,  Phasael was one of three huge guard towers built by Herod the Great close to his palace in Jerusalem's Old City.
Its upper section, with the smaller stones, is a much later Mamluk reconstruction.

All of this is today part of the Citadel,  the Tower of David museum of Jerusalem's history.

In this informative article by guides Aviva and Shmuel Bar-Am, we learn why the plaza was named for a Caliph:

One of the Old City of Jerusalem’s liveliest streets is actually a small plaza called Omar iben Al-Khatab Square, named for the second Caliph of the Islamic world.. . .
Brilliant, sensitive, tolerant and an administrative whiz, Omar visited Jerusalem soon after Muslim Arabs conquered the Holy City in 638. Omar revered many of the Old Testament’s most significant personalities, and greatly honored Judaism’s holy sites – including the peak on which Solomon erected the magnificent First Temple.
Thus when he ascended to the Temple Mount and found it overflowing with trash, Omar was enraged. He immediately ordered the rubbish removed — and, say some, he helped clear it out with his own hands.
At one point Jerusalem Bishop Sophronius invited the Caliph to join him for prayers inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Omar is said to have refused, explaining that were he to accept, Muslims might immediately ravish this most important of Christian sites and replace it with a mosque dedicated to Islam. He then proceeded to pray outside the church — exactly where a mosque named for the Caliph is located today.
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12 comments:

Jim said...

Great post

Jackie @travelnwrite said...

Dina, your posts are so informative and just a joy to read. Thanks for sharing this bit of most interesting information!

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Perfect shot for the theme Dina, I think I mentioned before I always enlarge your shots, there are so many fascinating details.

Gosia k said...

looks interesting

Mo said...

Such an interesting shot that draws you in to all the elements. I keep seeing different things in it

Come Away With Me said...

Love the high shot looking down. I've been up on that tower too. Thank you for sharing how the square got its name. Fascinating and wonderful.

Virginia said...

Wonderful life in the city you captured, Dina.
V

Kate said...

I loved enlarging the photos to see all those details; so much gong on in one place!

Barbara Radisavljevic said...

I love that you explained your photos and told me what to look for. These are wonderful scenes of life.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you so much! I like this informative post, and the pictures are wonderful, Dina.

William Kendall said...

Thank you for the explanation, Dina. And so much history!

Alice said...

Lovely photos Dina Enlarging the photos makes one feel like they are right there enjoying what is going on.