Jerusalem is an amazing city filled with great people and extraordinary places to see. You can pick any street to wonder down and you will be surrounded by the most amazing architecture ever. Millions and millions of feet have walked across these same cobbled streets. Some in search of adventure and others on a pilgrimage through this historical city.
Early in the mornings the streets are quite deserted and you get to feel quite alone as you wonder through the city. These are photos of some of the alleyways and lanes that I wondered through on my way from New Gate down to Zion’s Gate on the other sde of the Old city. After exciting through Zion’s Gate you nearly walk into David’s Tomb and the room of the Last Supper.
King David’s Tomb is a site traditionally viewed as the burial place of David the King of Israel. It is located in a ground floor corner of the remains of the former Hagia Zion, a Byzantine church.
The Last Supper Room is arectangular room with gothic style pillars and a vaulted ceiling. This is said to be the room where Jesus and his deciples had their last supper together although it looks more like a small chapel to me.
I ended up in the magnificent Domica Cathedral which is located on Mount Zion, southwest of the Old City and it immortalizes the deep sleep of Mary, mother of Jesus. “Dormitio” in Latin means “to sleep”.
This Cathedral commemorates the memory of Virgin Mary, in the traditional site of her death (the name means “Eternal sleep”).
The church was first built in the fourth century and called “Hagia Zion” (Holy Zion) but since then it has undergone many periods of destruction and renovation by the various rulers of Jerusalem. The church as it stands today was built in the neo-Romanesque style of the Middle Ages and was inaugurated in 1910.
It is maintained by the German Benedictine Order and is decorated in the style of many churches in the Christian world, with mosaics showing figures from the Old and New Testaments and paintings of a variety of saints.
The beauty and grand design of the church is very impressive as I approached it from the alley that leads from the Zion gate.
Once inside my eyes were drawn to the painted ceiling, decorated walls and even the floor. The floor is decorated with the symbols of the Zodiac, names of Prophets, and a verse from Proverbs (8, 23-25) written on its circumference.
Inside the church are two spiral staircases that lead down to the crypt. The crypt is a round pillared room, which is located in a level under the church. In the center of the crypt, surrounded by six pillars, is a sculpture of Mary’s deathbed, made of ivory and cherry wood. Visitors light up candles before the sculpture. While I was down there a priest conducted a service, it was beautiful to sit and listen to.
On the ceiling of the crypt above Mary are Jesus (in the center) surrounded by famous Biblical women figures: Eve, Esther, Ruth, Yael, Judith and Mary sister of Moses, they are here to honor Mary.
I bought myself a beautiful mother of pearl rosary here as it will have special memories attached with my visit to this extraordinary church.
The Bell tower of this church is crowned with a sign of the cock, similar to the Gallicantu church. The Biblical text (Mark 14: 26-72) describes the story of Peters’ triple denial of Christ and the cock crowing twice, which happened on Mount Zion.
The story is as follows: Jesus was sitting with his disciples before his arrest, and doubted their loyalty. Peter declared that he will not be among them, but Jesus predicted that within that night, even before the 2nd crow of the cock, Peter will deny him 3 times. This is exactly what has happened, as Peter found out himself.