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Location - Middle East; Capital - Jerusalem; Population - 7 million; Currency - New Israeli Shekel MORE ISRAEL

There's plenty to see in Jerusalem! I made for the Mount of Olives in Arab East Jerusalem, which was part of Jordan until the Six-Day War of 1967 - November 2014.


israelnote120 Israeli Shekels









israel551Jesus is believed to have taught the Lord's Prayer on the Mount of Olives, at the site of the Church of the Pater Noster. There's also a cave here, where Jesus spoke to his disciples - Jerusalem


israel547Inside the Chapel of the Ascension is a stone with the imprint of Jesus' foot. Mmmm... - Jerusalem

israel555The Mount of Olives is the best place for a skyline panorama of the Old City - Jerusalem












israel559Al-Aqsa Mosque - Jerusalem













israel562The gold gleams on the Dome of the Rock - Jerusalem


israel564Directly above the Dome of the Rock is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and to its left is the tower of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer - Jerusalem


israel580Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and al-Haram ash-Sharif (Temple Mount) - Jerusalem













israel577Waiting for tourists below the Seven Arches Hotel, Mount of Olives - Jerusalem














israel575Walk down the Mount of Olives to the Tombs of the Prophets - Jerusalem


israel586At the bottom of the Mount of Olives is the Church of All Nations - Jerusalem


israel585The reason for many to visit the church is the adjoining Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus is believed to have been arrested. The olive trees are seriously old, some over 2,000 years! Jerusalem












israel599The onion-domed Mary Magdalene Church overlooks the Church of All Nations on slopes of the Mount of Olives - Jerusalem













israel594Two minutes from the Garden of Gethsemane is the Tomb of Virgin Mary - Jerusalem


israel595The church is adorned with hundreds of lamps. Coupled with the clouds of incense it creates quite an atmosphere - Jerusalem


israel591Also on the same site is the cave-like Grotto of Gethsemane, where Jesus was betrayed - Jerusalem












israel601In the Valley of Jehoshaphat, below Gethsemane, are several ancient tombs, this being the Tomb of Absalom, son of King David - Jerusalem












israel602Further along is the Tomb of St James (left) and the Tomb of Zechariah - Jerusalem


israel441The ramparts walk along the north side of the Old City finshes at Damascus Gate, pictured on the right - Jerusalem


israel443Looking down the Old City's Al-Wad Road from Damascus Gate, in the Muslim Quarter - Jerusalem












israel446The Damascus Gate area is lined with souqs (markets) - Jerusalem













israel444aThe entrance to the Old City at Damascus Gate - Jerusalem


israel650Orthodox Jews near Jaffa Gate - Jerusalem


israel650aOpposite Jaffa Gate is a huge shopping centre with many big name designer outlets - Jerusalem












israel650bThe Notre Dame de France, just outside the Old City, is now a hotel but was used between 1948 and 1967 as an Israeli Defence Force (IDF) post - Jerusalem













israel634West Jerusalem is predominantly Jewish but you'll find Arab and Jewish workers side-by-side at the excellent Mahane Yehuda market - Jerusalem


israel639So many varieties of sweet halva (halawa/halwa in Arabic) at Mahane Yehuda - Jerusalem


israel640Sport-themed kippah (Jewish religious head covers, also known as yarmulke) on display - Jerusalem















israel644Jaffa Road and environs have so many pavement cafes and restaurants you'll be spoilt for choice - Jerusalem












israel648aActivity drops late Friday afternoon as people make their way home for Shabbat (Sabbath). When the siren sounds in West Jerusalem for the beginning of Shabbat the area is a ghost town until Saturday evening. Make sure you eat before! Or head for Arab East Jerusalem - Jerusalem


israel665Luckily I was saved by the Shabbat dinner at the superb Abraham Hostel, held every Friday evening - Jerusalem


israel663Live local music at Abraham Hostel. It welcomes all ages and there's a great mix of travellers and locals at the bar - Jerusalem













israel658Bars opening their doors somewhere around Rivlin Street, off Jaffa Road - Jerusalem













israel660The Ethiopian Church is funnily enough on Ethiopia Street. Many Ethiopian Jews settled in Israel in the 1980s and 90s but there must be a significant number of Christians too (the church is well over 100 years old) - Jerusalem


israel666The Great Synagogue on the right, with Heichal Shlomo on the left, housing the Jewish Heritage Centre and formerly the seat of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel - Jerusalem


israel668The bronze menorah stands outside the Knesset, a gift from the British Labour Party in 1956. The Knesset passes Israeli laws and elects the President and Prime Minister - Jerusalem












israel672Downhill from the Knesset is the Israel Museum - Jerusalem














israel673This tomb is thought to be Herod's sarcophogus, dating to 15-4 BC - Jerusalem


israel686History covered with a modern touch - Jerusalem


israel691The Shrine of the Book, part of the Israel Museum, house the Dead Sea Scrolls which were discovered in the 1940s and 50s at Qumran near the Dead Sea.
The scrolls are ancient text written mainly in Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek and cover historical events, biblical manuscripts and religious teachings - Jerusalem













Theodor Herzl was the founder of Zionism, advocating the establishment of a Jewish state. His grave (left) can be found next to the Herzl Museum on Mt Herzl. The grounds are also the site of a military cemetery and several Israeli leaders are buried here, including Yitzhak Rabin (right), Golda Meir, Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin - Jerusalem


israel717A path leads from the Herzl Museum to Yad Vashem, Israel's memorial to the Holocaust in which six million Jews died. In addition an estimated five million non-Jews were killed covering the Romani, political opponents, homosexuals and the disabled, to name but a few. The vast complex includes a visitors centre, museum, gardens, sculptures and monuments - Jerusalem


israel720The Tree of Life, Yad Vashem - Jerusalem













israel722The Cattle Car Memorial is an original carriage used to transport Jews from the ghettos to the camps - Jerusalem













israel727The Hall of Remembrance is an etrnal flame surrounded by the names of extermination camps and concentration camps - Jerusalem


israel731The Children's Memorial is particularly haunting, with photos of those who perished and a voice speaking their names in a dark, mirrored room - Jerusalem


israel739 Just over an hour's bus ride from Jerusalem, on the Dead Sea, is Ein Gedi Nature Reserve












israel738Ibex wander near the park entrance - Ein Gedi Nature Reserve













israel744There's several waterfalls in the reserve, surrounded by welcome greenery in a barren part of Israel - Ein Gedi Nature Reserve


israel746Climbing further up the trail brings the Dead Sea into view - Ein Gedi Nature Reserve


israel747There's two trails, Wadi David and Wadi Arugot. This is the more popular Wadi David, which takes an hour or more depending on stops - Ein Gedi Nature Reserve











israel754David falls - Ein Gedi Nature Reserve













israel759A group of hyrax warm up in the sun - Ein Gedi Nature Reserve


israel761Spot the trekkers on the rocky path - Ein Gedi Nature Reserve


israel768The Dead Sea runs within these canyon walls - Ein Gedi













israel766The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth, around 425metres below sea level. And as the lake shrinks it's getting lower - Ein Gedi













israel772Due to the Dead Sea's extremely high saline content the body floats on the surface. Just don't get any in your eyes! Unfortunately Ein Gedi public beach was closed for renovation but check out my Palestine page or Jordan page for more. Update: Multiple sinkholes in the area - caused by falling water levels - have closed the resort. It's also led to a road being built bypassing Ein Gedi, though the nature reserve and kibbutz remain open


israel788A short drive further south along the Dead Sea brings you to Masada, an ancient fortified town on the top of a rock plateau













israel777Back in the 1990s I walked up the snake path at midday on a baking August day. This time? No chance! I took the cable car then walked down - Masada













israel826In 73 or 74AD, as the Romans advanced, nearly one thousand Jews held out atop Masada. The Romans laid siege and eventually broke through, only to find virtually all had committed suicide, preferring death to life as a Roman slave


israel835The plateau is more than 450metres above the Dead Sea, from where you can see (through the haze) the lake split into northern and southern basins with Jordan behind - Masada


israel821The Dead Sea forms part of the Great Rift Valley, which stretches from the Sea of Galilee in the north through to East Africa and Mozambique in the south - Masada












israel814The diamond shape as seen from Masada is the outline of one of eight Roman camps used in the siege














israel815Steps lead down to the terraced Northern Palace, built by Herod - Masada


israel819Pillars and frescoes of the Northern Palace's lower terrace - Masada


israel844The shrinking Dead Sea has split into two sections. This is the smaller southern basin which is kept 'alive' by pumping in water via the Dead Sea Works - Ein Bokek














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