2019 Israel Trip – Day 6

These first few photos are actually from last night (Day 5), but it was too late to post when we got back to the hotel.

Western Wall

The lowest level of the western wall of the Temple Mount consists of foundation stones (Herodian) from the time of Jesus.

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Under the old city, running parallel to the western wall is a tunnel with several openings and rooms.  What is now a tunnel actually follows a 1st-century Herodian road that starts at the Pool of Siloam and runs all the way to the Temple Mount and followed the Western wall.

This single stone is nearly 48 feet long and has been chiseled as a single piece of limestone (part of the Herodian foundation).  The stones are set on top of each other without mortar.P1040285 P1040287

At one point you can look down (from the bridge inside the tunnel) and see that the foundation of the temple mount goes nearly forty feet below the original, first-century street level (which is already well below the modern street level)P1040292 P1040295

Note how precisely these huge stones fit together.  The level of engineering is amazing.P1040296

The walkway in the tunnel has several “windows” in the floor that allow you to look down.  Here you can see stones from the 1st century temple that were thrown down during it’s destruction in 70 AD.  If you look closely you can see evidence of burning on some of them.P1040297

The tunnel comes to an end where the 1st century street originally ended . The paving stones we’re standing on are Herodian (first century).P1040300 P1040301 P1040302

Jericho

You must first traverse modern Jericho to reach the excavations of the site of ancient Jericho.  Here is one of many mosques in the city.P1040305

This fountain greets visitors to the site of ancient Jericho, which claims to be the oldest city in the world.P1040307 P1040311

This is the remains of a tower that also functions as a mausoleum.  P1040315

On the hills overlooking Jericho is a monastery.  It actually projects back into the mountain.P1040319 P1040320 P1040322

Remains of another tower that anchored a portion of the city wall.P1040326

This is an example of a “double-wall”.  Between the inner and outer walls there were rooms where guards and the poor resided.  This is the type of dwelling where Rehab lived (in the wall).P1040329 P1040330

Climbing down from the telP1040331

We visited a very interesting ministry in Jericho called Seeds of Hope.  They provide education and activities for children in the city, regardless of their religion.P1040333 P1040334 P1040335

Ein Gedi

Deep in the Judean wilderness, near the Dead Sea there is an amazing oasis.  It was here that David hid in caves while Saul was pursuing him.P1040339 P1040341 P1040343

There is plenty of wildlife in Ein Gedi.  These little guys (hyrex) were everywhere.  They look something like a groundhog, but they are great tree climbers.P1040345 P1040346

The “lower” falls at Ein GediP1040348

The cliffs surrounding the oasis are riddled with caves.P1040352 P1040353

Massada

An ancient fortress in the far south of the country, adjacent to the Dead Sea, Massada is most famous for the last stand of Jewish rebels against the Roman 10th legion.  Before that time, it was one of a string of fortresses constructed by Herod.  The ruins of one of his palaces is here.

You can walk up the “snake trail” to reach Massada, but old guys like me prefer to take the cable car to the top.

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Even after a long cable-car ride, there’s still more walking uphill.  Whew!P1040362 P1040364 P1040365 P1040366

It’s certainly worth it for the magnificent view of the Judean wilderness and the lower portion of the Dead Sea.P1040370 P1040372 P1040374 P1040378 P1040380

Here’s Vince and Gretta, one of the couples in our group.P1040386 P1040388

On the back (west) side of Massada the dropoff is less severe.  Here you can see the remains (unexcavated) of the Roman encampment.P1040391 P1040393

This is what remains of the earthen ramp that the Romans constructed in order to reach the city and eventually batter down it’s gates.P1040397

This is a synagogue on the summit of MassadaP1040400

These are the ruins of a Byzantine church constructed on the site.P1040403

One of the floors of the church has a beautiful and nearly-intact mosaic floor.P1040407 P1040408

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