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Leon's WALKS
Wednesday Walk
Tower of David, Walk on the walls from Jaffa Gate to the Wailing Wall

 

Itinerary:

Start at the Jaffa Gate.
Visit the Tower of David

Ascend the Wall.

View the Old and New City of Jerusalem.

Walk past the Armenian Quarter.

View of Montefiori’s Windmill and suburb, the first Jewish Suburb outside the walls built in 1860.

Continue to the Zion Gate.

Spectacular view of the Dome of the Rock and Mt. Zion.

Descend to the Western Wall (Wailing Wall)

Tower of David Jerusalem
Tower of David Jerusalem

The mosque of Abraham, 16th century, built on top of the palace of the Crusader kings and earlier the palace of Herod the Great.

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Tower of David, Herodian pool
Tower of David, Herodian pool

The site of Herod's luxury palace of hundreds of rooms, collonaded walkways, ornate gardens, guarded by three towers, all in ruins after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 70 CE

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Tower of David walls of Jerusalem
Tower of David walls of Jerusalem

The ancient tower dominates the skyline of the Old City. It's name derives from the verse: Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, Psalms 48:12

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Tower of David Jerusalem
Tower of David Jerusalem

The mosque of Abraham, 16th century, built on top of the palace of the Crusader kings and earlier the palace of Herod the Great.

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wallswalk
wallswalk

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wallswalk
wallswalk

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The Walls of Jerusalem

Today one can hardly think of Jerusalem without it's walls, but it must be remembered that Jerusalem was without walls, excepting some ruins, from the days of the Crusaders, 400 years before Suleiman, the sultan who ordered the walls to be built at the beginning of the 16th century.

The walls made Jerusalem famous as a safe city and people flocked to live here, especially the Jews.

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One could say that the Jewish community of Jerusalem had been revived thanks to the safety ensured by the walls.The walls of Jerusalem are only one of the many beautiful structures created by Suleiman, who was known for his aesthetic tastes. He employed one of the greatest architects the world has known, Sinan, who was also a civil engineer, famous for designing bridges, walls and military fortifications. His most famous structure is the Sulemeinia Mosque in Istanbul. His legacy continued and architects used techniques invented by him to design the Taj Mahal.

 

The walls were not only designed for defense, but also for beauty that would attract visitors  That's why he included a beautiful walkway for visitors to walk along the top of the wall, to enjoy views of the city, beautified by Suleiman, who regarded Jerusalem as one of the cradles of Islam.

 

The walls were an important factor in increasing Jerusalem's economic wealth, because, attracting people to live here the land around the outside of the walls started to be cultivated as it had only been in the days of Solomon. Food was produced to feed the ever increasing population. Taxes were collected by Suleiman's Janisaries at each of the gates, from merchants wanting to enter the city to sell their wares.  

 

The Jaffa Gate

The completion of the walls around Jerusalem in 1538 and the 8 gates was cause for great celebration for the inhabitants of the city, who had lived here in great fear of murder and plunder by Bedouin from the nearby Judean Desert. For the first time, since the Crusaders, in the 12th century, Jerusalem’s inhabitants had a wall to protect them. The safety of living in Jerusalem became known far and wide and, naturally, Jews came from Turkey and Europe to re-establish their communities in Jerusalem. They came in boats to the harbor of Jaffa and so called the gate by which they entered Jerusalem the Jaffa Gate.

 

The original name of the gate, still called that name by the Arabs, was the Gate of the Friend (Bab el Halil) in honor of Abraham, the forefather of the Jews and the Arabs and the friend, famous for his hospitality, whose tomb is in Hebron and is visited by many Arabs as a holy place. Naturally as they started their journey from this gate they called it the Gate of the Friend, Bab el Halil. The Jews, however still like to call it the Jaffa Gate, in memory of the harbor where they arrived when they came to Israel.

 
 
Wailing Wall
Wailing Wall

The only remnant of the 2nd temple to be seen, much more is hidden underground. The wall surrounds the holy of holies, so holy that many people fear to enter there.

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The Wailing Wall
The Wailing Wall

People from all over the world and from every religion come to pray here, as Isaiah prophesied: Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

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Wailing Wall
Wailing Wall

The only remnant of the 2nd temple to be seen, much more is hidden underground. The wall surrounds the holy of holies, so holy that many people fear to enter there.

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The Wailing Wall

The Jewish religion does not leave the two important activities in life, mourning or wailing and rejoicing to chance. The fact is that some people never have anything to mourn about and some people never have anything to rejoice about.

 

Having a special time and place for everyone to mourn and to rejoice makes for unity in the nation.

Every Jew is expected to mourn on the day of destruction of the temple and every Jew is expected to rejoice on the Sabbat day, celebrating the creation of the universe.

 

There is no such thing, in Judaism, as a place where we always mourn, neither is there a place for constant rejoicing.

 

The wall is a place where the nation comes together to mourn on a day specified in Jewish Law for mourning and it is a place for the nation to come together to rejoice for the creation of the universe on the Sabbath, and other days of rejoicing, like Passover.

 

It is not a place designated exclusively for mourning. The people came together at the temple, and the wall, being the only visible remnant of the temple has taken over the function of uniting the Jewish people on festivals of mourning and on festivals of rejoicing.