Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Stained glass reflected in glass

Reflected in a showcase displaying old maps at the National Library of Israel is Mordechai Ardon's great work of stained glass.

It makes an entire wall at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Measuring 16 x 6 meters/yards, this creation is among the largest stained glass windows ever made.
The theme is the prophet Isaiah's vision (Isaiah 2:2-4) of eternal peace at the End of Days.
An earlier post explains the rich symbolism and gives a closer view.
City Daily Photo's July 1 theme day is Reflections.
Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


A thousand and one nights, Alf Layla wa Layla
Tonight sees post number 1,001 of Jerusalem Hills daily photo.
Mabruk, ya blog!

X Legion

For ABC Wednesday meme participants, X is the most dreaded letter.
But let's take X not as a letter but as the Roman numeral.
If you say Roman and ten in the same sentence, most of us here in Israel will immediately think TENTH ROMAN LEGION, FRENTENSIS.

For several centuries the Roman Legion alternately built up or destroyed Jerusalem.
Please enlarge the photo of their reconstructed standards to see the inscription LEG X FR and their symbols, the eagle and the wild boar.
It is all part of the long history of Jerusalem as told in the excellent Tower of David Museum, in which I took the photos for this post.
(For more about our Roman history, you can click on my labels Tenth Legion, Romans, Roman kiln, Roman pavement, Roman theater.)

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Flower Gate rededicated today

The cleaning and restoration of the Old City's gates continues.
(Remember the Jaffa Gate post in April?)
Today, just in time for That's My World, Jerusalem had the re-dedication of a third gate.

As seen from inside the Old City, this is Herod's Gate or the Flower Gate.
In Arabic it is Bab iz-Zahireh.
Turkish ruler Suleiman the Magnificent built the two and a half mile wall around the city in 1539.
Today, seven gates in his wall give access into the Old City.
The Flower Gate was originally an east-facing postern, a narrow gate only wide enough for a pack animal and a person.

A bigger opening was breached in the gate's northern facade in 1875 to let bigger vehicles get through.
Like this golf cart-type vehicle.

The posters in Hebrew and Arabic show the before and after and the work plans.
You can read the story in English in the press release of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
My favorite part is this:
"The rehabilitation work on the gate took four months to complete and was conducted in cooperation with the local residents and merchants so as not to disrupt the bustling urban activity that is characteristic of the place."

You see the men in blue? They are the ones who did the actual work.
The Arab employees of the Antiquities Authority are always given well-deserved recognition at these dedications.
As a sometime-archaeology worker myself, I appreciate that the big directors say thank you to them.
Mayor Nir Barkat spoke of the 800,000 Jerusalem residents welcoming 2 million tourists per year.
Within a decade he aims for 10 million tourists per year.

After the speeches we were all invited into the nice clean Flower Gate for a guided tour.
I have never seen such steep steps up to the top of the wall. Oi!

It was a nice mix of Old City and east Jerusalem Arab residents and Jewish Jerusalemites taking interest and pride in the beautiful restored gate.

The view from the top was worth the climb!
Below is Sultan Suleiman Street, of course!, named for the builder of the city wall.
UPDATE: Please see my post about the Gypsy population of Jerusalem. I first learned that they exist when their mukhtar gave a speech at this gate dedication.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A voice from heaven at the Jordan--in Pidgin English

Let's see more of Yardenit, the baptism site that we talked about in Saturday's post.

Click on the picture to witness Christians baptizing in the River Jordan.
But what are all those ceramic plaques on the wall?

More of them at the main entrance to Yardenit.
Can you read any of the three biblical languages here?
And the basalt pipe links were part of a 4th century aqueduct that carried water from the Yavniel springs down to Tiberias.
All the many plaques are quoting Mark 1:9-11, in many different languages.
The ceramic wall was designed and created by artist Hagop Antreassian from Jerusalem's Armenian Quarter.

My favorite has to be the one in Hawai'i Pidgin! It's so full of life and excitement!
There is even a website about Da Hawa'i Pidgin Bible.
Maybe our blogger friends in Hawai'i, Kay and Cloudia and the others, can tell us more.

Under, on, and next to the bridges

Somewhere in central Israel, somewhere between Jerusalem and Megiddo . . .

folks in the bus must have wondered why I was snapping so many pictures of "boring" bridges.

But this was a bridge with a tiny house being transported beneath it,

and this one with a Magnum ice cream truck on it,

and behind this one, some major construction was starting, in the middle of nowhere.

And one single bridge had actual greenery under it.
Could it really be spanning some water?!
Bon dimanche to Louis la Vache and all the bloggers at his Sunday Bridges.
Go take a look; there are some REAL bridges there!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Galilee shadows

Finding shadows in the churches


Room for all in the water

Christian pilgrims are not the only ones in the water . . .

. . . at Yardenit, the baptism place on the River Jordan.

(Photo by Kristine S.)
Here I am, trying to shoot these giant catfish just as they rose to the surface in a feeding frenzy whenever a tourist threw them bread.
But then another animal came over to the stairs.
Is it a muskrat?*
I've never seen this rodent before.
Even more fun than the catfish and the small fry and the (maybe) muskrat* was the little baby which appeared from under its mama.
You can see its head if you enlarge the photo!
Seems like the Galilee is better for finding animals for our weekly Camera-Critters than is Jerusalem.
(More on Yardenit here in the coming days.)
*UPDATE: Blogger-friend (and now also RLF) Robin helped us identify the furry animal as a lutria (aka nutria or coypu), Myocaster coypus.
So it's NOT a muskrat.
Robin used to live in the area and swim in the Jordan, so she knows! See her comment. Better yet, see her blog about their life in Israel!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Reflections on the Mount of Beatitudes

Up north in the Galilee, on the Mount of Beatitudes, I tried to take a picture of a laminated aerial photo of the church and the pilgrim center.
It was inside the window of the souvenir shop.
Back home, I see the arches and me are included.
The tourist in white is inside the church; the others are outside.
All good for James' Weekend Reflections.

The church is octagonal.
The window on this side reflects the opposite shore of the Sea of Galilee.
More about the church in coming posts.
Meanwhile, Shabbat shalom!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Calm returns

The friends and I had an overnight in Tiberias.
Tuesday was the hottest day of the year, in the mid 40s C, with a dust storm.
The hot dry wind whipped up the Sea of Galilee into crashing waves and whitecaps! This is a rare phenomenon.

The next morning the lake was calmed, as if by a miracle.
Here is the view from our hotel balcony at 5:30 a.m.
By 5:50 the sun had risen from behind the Golan Heights.

A strange silver ribbon appeared on the water at 7:44 and stayed just a minute or two.

By 8:36 we were a bit north of Tiberias and the sky continued to reward us with photos for Sky Watch Friday.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

St. Peter's fish

Here's lookin' at ya.

St. Peter's fish, grilled!
So good!
Its nose points just north of the famous fish restaurant at Kibbutz Ein Gev where we dined yesterday, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


A weather vane whirling in the wind!
You can't see it so well in the photo but the three colored circles were spinning.
In the garden of a private villa in Ein Kerem.
Besides being revered as the birthplace of John the Baptist, the village is now also an artists' colony.
The W words are for ABC Wednesday.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Birthday and birthplace of John


Come, join the tourists.
Come into the Church of St. John the Baptist (or St. John Ba Harim) in the Jerusalem suburb of Ein Kerem.

The Franciscans built the present church in 1674 over the remains of the Crusader and Byzantine era churches.
 Further work was done in the 19th century.

Walk forward in the basilica and turn left. Go down a few stairs.

The grotto--the most revered part of the church!

Not because of the marble altar donated by Queen Isabella II of Spain.
Not just because of the lit-up "Benedictus," the first words spoken by Zechariah after the birth of his son and today recited daily in the morning prayers of Catholics.

The crypt is holy . . .

. . . because this is considered to be the exact birthplace of John.

Here--enlarge the photo and read the declaration yourself.
I'm guessing at the Latin but I believe it means "The precursor of the Lord was born here."

There will be a big celebration here--June 24 is considered by the Church the birthday of John the Baptist.
Happy birthday, Yochanan!
(Linking to inSPIRED Sunday.)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Two great fathers

Wishing a happy Father's Day to the two devoted and loving fathers of my grandchildren:

My son, Edo, and his son, Kai.
They live in Los Angeles.
Kai was face-painted in this picture for a skateboard competition.

My son-in-law, Guy, and his kids, Dean, Libby, and Eyal.
They live down in Sydney, Australia.
And a happy Father's Day to all you other great dads out there, too!

Jerusalem by night

Our Calatrava bridge is still quite new and I still find it exciting when our bus passes under it, especially at night.

(And especially when I am in search of bridge shots for Louis la Vache's "Sunday Bridges.")

From the bus you get a nice view of the "strings" of the Bridge of Strings.
And even the sidewalk has lights inside it.