Day Two - Jesus' World Part I

In our first full day walking in the Footsteps of Jesus we dove deep into the fascinating sights, smells, and sounds of the ancient Old City of Jerusalem where we are staying. Our goal was to gain a deeper understanding of the world into which Jesus came by visiting some sites connected to the two most influential religious groups of Jesus' time, the Saducees and the Pharisees, along with their rulers, the Herodians. We gawked at the massive scale of Herod's Temple Mount, power seat of the Saducees, and had a chance to actually visit the enormous courtyards in which Jesus taught. We hiked up the Mount of Olives for a panorama of the mountain where Abraham proved willing to sacrifice his son Isaac; the city which David captured from the Jebusites and made his capital; the city where Solomon built the first Temple; the city where Jesus suffered, died, and rose again to change our lives forever. After a delicious lunch at a favorite restaurant in the Old City we visited the Jerusalem Museum in the Tower of David for a brilliant overview of the various historical periods of this most amazing and bewildering of all cities ... it was simply more than our hearts or minds could take in ... not to mention our feet! 

We started out for our first official day of the trip this morning! We learned about the Temple Mount through the ages, exploring the various stages this epic structure has gone through.

We investigated the remains of an ancient shop-lined street called the Cardo, stretching from the Jewish Quarter in the south to Damascus Gate in the north.

As we went up onto the heavily restricted Temple Mount, we were able to observe Orthodox Jews praying and studying at the Western Wall, the closest thing they have to the long-destroyed Temple.

The Temple Mount today is dominated by the impressive and iconic Dome of the Rock, a Muslim mosque. It sits on the very spot where the Jewish temple was constructed and enshrines the massive rock which was the floor of the Temple's Holy of Holies.

We then went out of the city and walked up the Mount of Olives to Dominus Flevit, a church built to commemorate Jesus weeping over the city of Jerusalem.

After that, we grabbed lunch and journeyed through the maze-like streets of the Old City. We are all exhausted after a long day combined with jet lag, but are looking forward to a good night of rest and an early start tomorrow!