The Holy City
Ten beauty measurements descended on the world;
nine received Jerusalem
and one, the rest of the world.
(Talmud of Babylonia, Treaty Kidushín 49:2)
Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, is in the heart of the country, leaned between the Mounts of Judea. The ancient stones of the city, saturated of milleniums of history and his numerous historical places, sanctums and places of cult, they are full of meaning for Jews, Christians and Muslims. His modern architecture, wide parks, walks, industrial areas and suburbs in expansion proclaim his hopes for the future.
The brilliant luminosity of Jerusalem, gilded by the beams of the sun, and silver-plated in view of the moon, is of an impact with which only the kaleidoscope of his people can compete - some progeny of several generations of jerosolimitanos, others originated from all the limits of the world. Mixed with persons who dress the whole bogey of the últlma fashion, we find ultraorthodox Jews with his dark suits, Arab women wrapped in tunics of embroidered colorings and Christian clergymen with his shaded habits.
Jerusalem extolled by the prophets, praised in the literature and the liturgy and praised by the poets, nearby and distant, along the generations.
The Capital of Israel
The days that David reigned on Israel were forty years;
seven years he reigned in Hebrón, and thirty three years he reigned in Jerusalem.
(I Kings 2:11)
With the reestablishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Jerusalem happened to be once again the capital of the sovereign Jewish State. Along the milleniums of his existence, Jerusalem has never been a capital of any other sovereign nation.
Jerusalem has been supported like the center of the national and spiritual life of the Jewish people since king David was turning in capital of his kingdom in the year 1003 AEC. The city kept on being the capital of David's dynasty for 400 years, until the kingdom was conquered by the Babylonians. After the return of the exile of Babylonia in the year 538 AEC, Jerusalem was the capital of the Jewish village again in his ground for the next five centuries and a half.
The Christian bond with Jerusalem is essentially religious. Except during the short period of the crossed kingdom, it has not assumed political or secular connotations. During six centuries of Roman and Byzantine diet, it was a Cesarean section, and not Jerusalem, the capital.
During the Moslem, Arab domain or not, on the city, Jerusalem was never turned in the political capital of a Moslem entity, and even it nor was a province inside the Moslem empire. Under the Arab Moslem domain (638 - 1099) of the caliphs omeyas, abasidas and fatimitas, Jerusalem was governed from Damascus, Baghdad and Cairo, respectively. In the eighth century, the city of Ramle was turned in capital of the district that was including Jerusalem.
During the period of the diet Mameluke (1250 - 016), the country was governed from Damascus; in the Ottoman epoch (017 - 1917), from Constantinople.
Under the British domain (1922 - 1948), Jerusalem was the head office of the Commissioned High place and of most of the administrative offices of the Order, as well as of the central institutions of the increasing Jewish community.
From 1948 until 1967, Jerusalem was a divided city, result of a war that was imposed on him. For nineteen years, walls of concrete and barbed-wire fences separated a part of the city of other one. His oriental part, including the Old City, was annexed by Jordan and governed from his capital, Amman. The western Jerusalem sector turned in the capital of Israel.
After another war, in June, 1967, Jerusalem was reunified. The barriers that were dividing the cludad were knocked down, the large doors of the Old City were opened to the people of all the religions and the oriental sector was reincorporated to the capital of the country.
In June, 1980 the Knéset approved the "Basic Law - Jerusalem" (English), which restored the rights and obligations of Israel relating to the capital. The Law determined that the holy places of all the religions would be protected to avoid desecrations, the free access to they would be guaranteed and the government would deal with the development of the city, as well as with the prosperity and the well-being of his inhabitants.
Throughout the centuries
If I will forget you oh Jerusalem,
My right hand is forgotten.
My language sticks to my palate,
If I will not extoll Jerusalem
As preferable matter of my happiness.
King David convertió to Jerusalem in the capital of his kingdom, as well as in the religious center of the Jewish people, in the year 1003 AEC. Approximately 40 years later, his son Salomón constructed the Temple (the national and religious center of the people of Israel) and transformed the cludad in the prosperous capital of an empire that was spreading from the Euphrates up to Egypt.
The Babylonian king Nabucodonosor conquered Jerusalem in the year 586 AEC, destroyed the Temple, and exiled the people. Fifty years later, when Babylonia was conquered by the Persians, king Ciro authorized to the Jews the comeback to his homeland and granted them autonomy. They constructed the Second Temple in the same place of the First one and reconstructed the city and his walls.
Alejandro Magno conquered Jerusalem in the year 332 AEC. After his death the city was governed by the ptolomeos of Egypt, and later by the seléucidas of Syria. The helenización of the city reached his climax under the diet seléucida of Antíoco IV; the desecration of the Temple and the attempts of suppressing the Jewish religious identity provoked a rebellion.
Directed by Judas Macabeo, the Jews defeated the seléucidas, re-dedicated the Temple (164 AEC) and restored the Jewish independence under the dynasty hasmonea, that lasted more than hundred years, until Pompeyo imposed the Roman domain over Jerusalem. King Herodes the Idumeo, who was imposed by the Romans as sovereign of Judea (37 - 4 AEC), it established cultural institutions in Jerusalem, constructed 16 magnificent public edificlos and reconstructed the Temple granting him big splendor.
The Jewish rebellion against Rome exploded in the year 66 EC, on having transformed the Roman domain, after the Herodes death, in extremely oppressive. A few years, Jerusalem was free of foreign domain, until, in the year 70 EC, Roman legions ordered by Tito conquered the city and destroyed the Temple. The Jewish independence was re-restored briefly during the rebellion of Bar Cojba (132 - 135), but again the Romans won. There was prohibited the Jews the entry to the city, which Aelia Capitolina was re-named, and reconstructed in accordance with the bosses of a Roman city.
During the next century and a half, Jerusalem was a small provincial city. This changed radically when the Byzantine emperor Constantino transformed Jerusalem into a Christian center. The Church of the Holy Tomb (335) was the first one of a series of grand constructions that got up in the city. The Moslem armies invaded the country in the year 634, and four years later the caliph Omar conquered Jerusalem. Only during the Abd reign to the-Malik, who constructed the Dome of the Rock (691), Jerusalem it happened to be, for a short period, the head office of a caliph. The mastery of more than one century of the dynasty Omeya of Damascus was an events in the year 750 for the abdsidas of Baghdad and with them the Jerusalem declination began.
The crossed ones conquered Jerusalem in the year 1099, massacred his Jewish and Moslem inhabitants and fixed the city as capital of the Crossed Kingdom. Down the crossed ones destroyed synagogs, ancient churches were reconstructed and many mosques were turned into Christian temples. The domain crossed over Jerusalem finished in 1187, after the Kurd fell down the city in hands of Saladino. The Mamelukes, a feudal military aristocracy of Egypt, dominated Jerusalem from 1250. They constructed numerous buildings, but they treated Jerusalem only like a Moslem theological center, ruining his economy by means of heavy and imposed negligent persons.
The Ottoman Turks, whose domain extended for four centuries, conquered Jerusalem in 017. Suleimán the Magnificent one reconstructed the walls of the city (037), constructed the Sink of the Sultan and installed drinking water national sources for the whole city. After his death, the central authorities in Constantinople demonstrated little interest in Jerusalem. During the sigios XVII and XVIII, Jerusalem it came to the deepest of his declines.
Jerusalem began to bloom again in the second half of the XIXth century. The increasing number of Jews that was returning to his ground, the decline of the Ottoman power and the revitalized European interest in the Holy Land led to a renewed Jerusalem development.
The British army ordered by general Allenby conquered Jerusalem in 1917. Between 1922 and 1948 Jerusalem was the administrative head office of the British authorities in the Earth of Israel (Palestine), which was entrusted to Great Britain by the League of the Nations as a result of the dismantling of the Ottoman empire after the First World war. The city developed quickly, growing towards the west, in what it happened to be known like "The new town".
After the term of the British Order on May 14, 1948, and in accordance with the resolution of the United Nations of November 29, 1947, Israel proclaimed his independence, with Jerusalem as his capital. Opposite to his establishment, the Arab countries initiated an entire attack to the new state, provoking this way the War of Independence of 1948-49. The lines of armistice, planned at the end of the war, divided Jerusalem in two, occupying Jordan the Old City and some areas to the north and on the south, and supporting Israel the Western and south sectors of the city.
Jerusalem was reunified in June, 1967, like result of a war in that the Jordanians tried to take possession of the western part of the city. The Jewish quarter in the Old City, which was destroyed under the Jordanian domination, has been restored and Israeli citizens can visit again his holy places, thing that was denied to them between 1948 and 1967.
The Holy City
Make you happy with Jerusalem, and enjoy you with her, all that you love it: fill you with her with pleasure, all that you dress in mourning for her: Because this way the Gentleman says: And now I extend on her peace like a river, and the glory of the nations like a creek that I salt of mother.
Sanctified by the religion and the tradition, by the history and the theology, by his holy places and temples, Jerusalem is a city revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims. It reflects the fervor and the piety of three principal monotheistic religions, each of which is tied to Jerusalem by the worship and the love.
The Jewish bond with Jerusalem has never been broken. During three milleniums Jerusalem it has been the center of the Jewish faith, supporting his symbolic value across the generations. The Jews who were exiled after the Roman conquest and dispersed for the entire world, never forgot Jerusalem. Year after year they repeated "next year in Jerusalem". Jerusalem convitió in the symbol of the wish of the Jews, in any place, of returning to his ground. It was invoked by the prophets, it evoked in the prayers daily and it praised by the Hebrew poets in every country.
The Mount Moriá, where once the Temple was; the remaining Western, only Wall of the same one, which has been the focus of the prayers and the wishes of the Jews for nineteen centuries; David's Grave in the Mount Zion; and the ancient cemetery in the Mount of the Olive trees, where for centuries Jews have been buried, all of them are imborrablemente engravings in the Jewish conscience.
Hundreds of synagogs identified with the diverse tendencies in the Judaism, as well as with ethnic and geographical groups, from Tunisia to Afghanistan and from Warsaw, they serve to New York to the Jewish Jerusalem population.
For the Christians, Jerusalem is the place in which Jesus lived, preached, died and resuscitated. Although the Church has emphasized the celestial Jerusalem more than the earthly one, places mentioned in the New Testament like the places of his department and passion pilgrims and the faithful have attracted for centuries. Between these places there is counted the Church of the Holy Tomb, the Garden of Gethsemane, the place of the Last Dinner, and the Painful Route with fourteen stations of the Cross.
The rights of the diverse Christian Churches to guard the Christian holy places in Jerusalem were defined during the XIXth century, when Jerusalem was part of the Ottoman empire.
Acquaintance as the "arrangement of the status quo on the Christian holy places in Jerusalem", these rights continued current during the period of the British Order and they are supported up to today.
The Christian Jerusalem community Roman catholic understands the sects orthodox oriental, monofisita, uniata and Protestant. Out of the Armenian community, which mostly he is progeny of the refugees that Ilegaron of Turkey in the decade of 1920, the majority of the Christians of Jerusalem descends from the ancient Christian communities of the Byzantine period.
In accordance with the Islam, the prophet Mahoma was transported miraculously from Mecca to Jerusalem and from here it amounted to the sky. The Dome of the Rock and the mosque of To - Aqsa ("the remote one"), both construídas in the VIIth century, made definitive the identification of Jerusalem like "the Remote Place" mentioned in the Koran, and it is a holy place after Mecca and Medina. The praise literature to the virtues of Jerusalem - the Fadhail to the-Kuds, bloomed in the Moslem world.
The first Jerusalem meeting with the Islam - in the VIIth century - was also the first meeting with the Arabs who were apostles of the Islam and who, under his flag, conquered a vast empire. Most of the Muslims who live today in Jerusalem are sunitas.
The freedom of cult and the protection of all the holy places are assured in the Declaration of the Independence of Israel. The holy places are administered by his respective communities and the free access to they is guaranteed by law.
Jerusalem, a city with one continues and registered history of more than thirty centuries and with historical meaning for three of the most important religions of the world, irresistible being has demonstrated for the archaeologists.
From the middle of the XIXth century, archaeological digs have been carried out inside and about the Old City, which they increase constantly his scope and improve his scientific methods. Layers on layers of past eras have been put to the overdraft, confirming the historical facts and revealing secrets earlier unknown.
In the last years many places have been restored and opened to the public. Between them:
The Archaeological Garden of the Ofel, under the southeast corner of the Mount of the Temple, reveals 2.500 years of history of Jerusalem in 25 layers of ruins of constructions of the successive leaders. The ancient staircase and the Door of Julda, where the faithful were entering the interior of the Second Temple, and remains of a complex of real palaces of the Moslem period of the VIIth century, are some of the open finds.
The Archaeological Park of David's City spreads on a hill to the southeast of the Old City. With the Spring of the Guijón to his feet, AEC possibly constructed by king David includes remains of cludadelas canaaneas and Israelites, a structure 16 meters high of the Xth century, and Jewish residences of the VIIIth and VIIth centuries AEC.
The Citadel, also acquaintance like David's Tower, lodges the Historical museum of Jerusalem. Excavations in the place have revealed a wall hasmonea of the sigto 11 AEC, three towers constructed by king Herodes, and structures of the Roman, Byzantine, crossed periods, Mameluke and Turk.
The "Burned House", in fact the underground workshop of a house destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 EC, is a testimony of last days of the ancient Jewish Jerusalem.
The "Quarter Herodiano" has revealed investigate of wealthy persons, including priests of the Temple, of the period herodiano.
A Roman Door was discovered under the Door of Damascus, that XVI was constructed in the sigio by the Ottoman ones. Seemingly, it would be a question of the principal entry to Aelia Capitolina, of the Roman emperor Adriano, and it consists of an entry tower with three apertures that lead to the towers of the watches and a square in his interior.
The Thistle, commercial, Roman and Byzantine public route, has been put to the overdraft and restored and his domed concavities serve once again as shops.
The lglesia Nea, constructed by the Byzantine emperor Justiniano in the VIth century, has been put to the overdraft and restored. A monumental Greek inscription identifies the Churches.
A grenade of ivory of the size of a thumb, with an ancient Hebrew inscription, is the only relic recovered for the first time of the lost treasures of the Temple of king Salomón. The tiny grenade, which seemingly was crowning a scepter taken by the Priest of the Temple, has the inscription "Belonging to the God's Temple, sacred for the priests". It dates of the middle of the VIIIth century AEC, the epoch of the Temple of Salomón.
Many of the treasures found in these excavations and in numerous others realized inside and about Jerusalem is in the Biblical Museum and Archaeological Bronfman and in the Museum Rockefeller, Israel divides both of the Museum in Jerusalem. Between the discoveries there are counted two minuscule rolls of silver dug up together with others of thousand gadgetry in an ancient place of burial known as Ketef Hinom, opposite to the walls of the Old City. Patiently opened, the rolls revealed an ancient Hebrew writing of the sigio VII AEC, which turns them into one of the most ancient found Hebrew Biblical texts. The roll contains it bendici6n priestly (Numbers 6:24-26):
"God blesses you and I kept you: God makes to glisten his face on you, and beech of you compassion: God lifts to you his face, and put in you peace".
Nuestors feet was in your doors,
oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which has been built like a city that is well joined between themselves.
The Old City of Jerusalem is one of the most ancient cludades continuously inhabited in the world; the archaeologists calculate his age in more than 4.500 years. The walls that surround the Old City shut up an area of scarcely a square kilometer. These walls were constructed by the sultan Suleimán Magnificent in the XVIth century, following approximately the line of the walls constructed by the Romans to surround Jerusalem in the 11th century.
Nowadays, the walls rise in his entire height and splendor, after the debris accumulated in the place has been withdrawn for centuries. There was constructed a "Walk along the Walls" that allows to have an incomparable sight of Jerusalem and his surroundings. The green area along the walls consists of flowery gardens and walks, as well as archaeological parks.
The walls of the city are provided with eight doors. Seven are opened and one remains sealed. Four principal doors - Door of Yafo, Door of Damascus, Door of the Lions and Door of Zion - were constructed in accordance with four points of the compass, and they go towards the principal cities of the country.
The Door of Yafo has the inscription of the sultan Suleimán, who arranged his construcclón in 038/9 (that corresponds to the year 945 in the Moslem calendar). The Door of Yafo is the most well-known and an action of the doors of Jerusalem. It was consrtuida looking towards the west, in direction of the Yafo port.
The New Door, looking towards the north, is essentially an opening in the wall opened in 1887 to allow the direct access to the Christian quarter.
The Door of Damascus is the principal entry to the Moslem quarter. His narrow entry and wooden bridge were replaced by a square in the shape of amphitheater and a massive bridge of stone. The door looks towards the north, in direcclón at Nablus (Siquem) and at Damascus, Syria.
The Door of Herodes, also looking towards the north, is called also the Door of the Flowers by the bas-reliefs with flowers in his front.
The Door of the Lions, adorned with heraldic lions on both sides, was restored, in accordance with his inscription, by the Ottoman ones in 038/9 (corresponding to the year 945 in the Moslem calendar). It is known also like the Door of San Esteban. It looks to the east, in direcclón to Jericho.
The Golden Door, which also looks to the east, is called in Hebrew and Arab the "Door of the Compassion". In accordance with the Jewish tradition, this is the door across which the Messiah will enter Jerusalem. To prevent the entry of the Messiah, the Arabs already sealed this door several centuries ago.
The Door of Zion or David's Door is in the Mount Zion. It was constructed by the sultan Suleimán in 040, in an area in which previous walls - of the periods hasmoneo and herodiano - they were dug up at present. This door looks towards the south, in direcclón at Hebrón.
The Door of the Garbage, which looks towards the south, is more a "door of service" that a monumental door, it is the entry nearest to the Western Wall ("Of the lamentations').
The Romans, who reconstructed Jerusalem after having devastated the city in his war against the Jews, constructed two main streets - one of north on south and other one, of this one on west - forming this way four sections that are nowadays the Jewish, Christian, Moslem and Armenian quarters of the Old City. These quarters, in spite of his names, have never been homogeneous: there has always been some Jew, Muslim or Christian who has lived in one of other quarters, and the holy places of three religions are for the whole Old City.
Under Israeli control, no effort has saved itself to keep alive the physical and spiritual legacy of the Old City and in preserving the tangible remains of his past.
The Jewish Quarter, which was destroyed practically in its entirety during the Jordanian occupation (1948 - 1967) has been reconstruído. The synagog Jurva, construída approximately 400 years ago, was dominating the line of the horizon of the area, before 1948: nowadays a commemorative arch indicates his place.
A modern square of attractive design, which allows the gathering of thousands of the faithful, borders on the remaining Western, only Wall of what was the Second Temple.
In the area of the market of the Moslem quarter of the Old City, which possesses a special architectural beauty, the fronts of the houses have been cleaned and repaired; póstigos, shop windows and other facilities have been replaced; horrible roofs into the main street of the market have been changed into wood and copper; the alleys have been re-paved and a modern infrastructure has interfered.
A new paving paves the Painful Route, the stones are arranged so that they indicate the stations of the Cross. Here and there, between the new paving stones jerosolimitanos, there are ancient stones that allow an interesting experience for the Christian pilgrim.
The Church of the Holy Tomb, damaged by the fire in 1833 and for an earthquake in 1926, has been recently refaccionada thanks to the joint effort of three principal Churches responsible for his care.
Nowadays, the Old City of Jerusalem is a real synthesis between the ancient thing and the new thing: it is not an only one historical shop window, but the hearth of many and a rough commercial district.
This way the Gentleman says: I have returned Zion, and I will reside in the middle of Jerusalem Aún old men and old women have to reside in the Jerusalem squares and the streets of the city will be full of boys and girls, who will play in the streets.
Jerusalem is a mosaic of cultures and nationalities, nations, quarters, ancient and new. It is a contrasts union with the only character.
Jerusalem is the head office of the President of Israel, the Knéset (the parliament of Israel), the Supreme Court, the ministerlos and the Big Rabinato. Here also they are the national brief the Museum Israel, the National library and Yad Vashem - for the martyrs of the Holocaust.
The modern Jerusalem has developed about the Jerusalem of intramural; the cludad, a strong metropolis with a population near to the half million persons, spreads on a territory of more than 100 square kilometers of hills and vales.
The history of the modern Jerusalem starts with the construction of Mishkenot Shaananim (180), the first quarter out of the protectors, but limitantes, walls of the city, which was constructed by those who were looking for a relief opposite to the overcrowding in the Jewish quarter. Fifty years later, in 17 quarters out of the walls, he was living through the double of the people than inside the Old City.
The Jerusalem of the XIXth and XXth centuries characterizes for the unit concept quagmire that began with four quarters of the Old City. In the "New town", the members of the different ethnic communities were settling together to found the first quarters. Later, a common ideology Ilevó to the people to be lived together. Later, several unmigratory waves of countries or specific regions were the principal factor in the determination of the composition of the population of a quarter.
The Jerusalem expansion, nowadays the biggest city of Israel, has erased the traditional homogeneity of his quarters. Nevertheless, most of them still preserve some of the features that characterized them in a beginning.
Due to the Jerusalem importance for the whole world, the alcalade Teddy Kollek founded in 1968 the Committee of Jerusalem, so that it checks the development plans of the city. The committee formed by nearly 70 renowned architects, urbanistas, historians and philosophers as advice international adviser worried by the restoration and development of the city, and the preservation of the special character of Jerusalem and his legacy pluralista énico.
The advance and development of Jerusalem from his reunification in 1967 has included practically all the spheres of the urban life: there are construído several new suburbs in the periphery of the city; many hotels have arisen; several industrial areas have developed; quarters have been "renewed"; tens public parks have stood firm; there have been restored synagogs, Churches and mosques and have constructed him some piece of news.
In parallel with his physical development, the facilities and cultural activities of Jerusalem have expanded. The city has turned into head office of international cultural festivals and of scientific conventions. The Festival annual Israel serves as stage for the ballet, theater and music executed by local and foreign artists; the International Fair of the Book of Jerusalem, every two years, and other regular festivals of movies, theater of many countries, meets in Jerusalem every two years and serves as marionettes and choral music they attract big public the capital of Israel.
Jerusalem - whose name, in accordance with the tradition, leeway of the Hebrew words to "go", that means city and "shalom", that means peace - it synthesizes the hope expressed in the most noble aspiration of the humanity: peace for all the men. The freedom of cult which Jews, Muslims and Christians enjoy in his holy places, at short distance some of others and the daily contact between the diverse ethnic and religious groups through that they live in the city, each of which shows a long cultural tradition, can serve as model of peace and coexistence to be imitated in the whole region.
Jerusalem, the capital of Israel and head office of the government, is the biggest city of the country. His population reaches 634.000 inhabitants (of them 14.000 Christians) it is a mosaic of diverse national, religious and ethnic communities.
"If I will forget you, oh Jerusalem, his skill forgets my right hand; adhere my language to the palate if I will not remember you; if it will not put Jerusalem in the summit of my happy moments." (Psalms 137:5-6)
Jerusalem is a city with carefully preserved and restored historical places, and with modern buildings, suburbs in permanent expansion, areas and shopping centers, industrial parks of high technology and of beautiful sceneries. It is a city at the same time ancient and modern, with his treasures of the past and with his plans for the future.
The Jerusalem holiness is recognized by three big monotheistic religions, the Judaism, the Christianity and the Islam, but the nature of the above mentioned holiness differs for each of them.
For the Jewish people, the city is holy in itself. Chosen by God in his promise to David, Jerusalem is the center itself of the spiritual and national existence, and of the Jewish continuity. For almost 3.000 years, from the times of king David and the construction of the First Temple responsible for his son Salomón, Jerusalem it was the focus of the prayers and the Jewish devotion. Anywhere these were, for almost 2.000 years, they always turned towards Jerusalem and the Mount of the Temple during his prayers.
For the Christians, Jerusalem is the city of Santos Lugares associated with the facts of the life and Jesus's department and with the history of the early apostolic church. It is a question of places of peregrinaje, prayer and devotion. The traditions that identify some of these places date of the first centuries of the Christianity.
In the Moslem tradition, the Mount of the Temple is identified like the most remote "sanctum" (in Arab, masjid to - aksa) from which the prophet Mahoma, accompanied by the angel Gabriel, carried out the night passage towards the God's Throne (the Koran, Sura 17:1, Al-Isra).
The Law of Santos Lugares (5727-1967) guarantees the free access to the sacred places for the members of the different cults.
The Jewish sovereignty in the city comes to his term in the year 135, with the repression of the second rebellion that these carry out against Rome and only it was restored in 1948, with the creation of the State of Israel. During all these centuries Jerusalem was under the mastery of foreign potency. Nevertheless, over the course of time there were always Jews who lived in Jerusalem and from 1870 they constitute most of his population.
As result of the struggles begun during the War of the Independence in 1948 and of the Jerusalem division, the historical synagogs and rabbinical academies in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City were destroyed or severely damaged. In 1967, with the reunification of the city after the War of Six Days, the Jewish Quarter in the Old City, with his academies and synagogs, it was restored and reconstructed.
Nowadays Jerusalem is a vibrant and vital city. It is a cultural center of international fame, which offers festivals of movies and of representative arts, concerts, singular museums, wide libraries and professional conventions.
"Three thousand years of history contemplate us today from this city on whose ancient stones the ancient Jewish nation was arising, in whose limpid mountains air his spiritual extract and his fortitude were absorbing three religions...
"Three thousand years of history contemplate us today from this city in which the blessings of the Jewish priest are mixed with called of the Moslem almuecín and with the bells of the Christian churches; in the one that in every alley and in every stone house the reprimands of the prophets have heard; whose towers have seen the emergence of the nations and his fall; but Jerusalem remains eternally...
Three thousand years of Jerusalem constitute for us, now and forever, a tolerance message between the cults, of love between the peoples, of understanding between the nations..."
(Yitzhak Rabín, September, 1995)
Across the centuries, Jerusalem has been known by numerous names of admiration and reverence. Most adapted of all it is "the City of the Peace".
Jerusalem - The high city during the period of the Second Temple
During the reign of king Herodes (ends of the Ist century AEC), Jerusalem grew enormously in surface and an intense construction activity took place, without parallel in the history of the city. Many state buildings were erected - being the most impressive of them the Mount of the Temple and the Temple itself.
The city was surrounded by walls with many towers. In the north-western end of the wall of the city, Herodes erected three imposing towers that were protecting the real palace located exactly to the south of them. Of these torrres, only the base of one, known traditionally like "David's Tower" exists up to today; one incorporated it in the Ottoman citadel of the city, to the south of the Door of Yafo.
The residential area on the western Jerusalem hill during the period of the Second Temple (his surface covers today the Jewish and Armenian quarters of the Old City and the Mount Zion out of the walls, towards the south) happened to be known like the "High City". The name comes from the fact that topographically is higher than the rest of the city, even that the Mount of the Temple. It was re-planned and reconstructed by Herodes and his successors, in accordance with the thinnest Roman tradition, with blocks of big buildings separated by streets and squares along which the palaces and the state buildings were.
The High City was the quarter of the rich ones, with big and exquisite residences inhabited by the families of I add up priests and of the local aristocracy. Here the palaces of the kings were hasmoneos, of king Herodes and of the Supreme Priest Caifás (mentioned in the New Testament). Here, Jesus was arrested and retained during one night before being dedicated to attorney Poncio Pilato for his judgment. (Mateo 26:57-75; Lucas 22:54-71, 23:1). In accordance with the Christian tradition, the palace of the Supreme Priest Caifás was in the Mount Zion, which is nowadays out of the walls of the Old City, towards the south.
The walls, the towers and the luxurious palaces of the High City are described in detail by the Jewish historian of the epoch Flavio Josefo, born in Jerusalem. The fue eyewitness of the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70 EC, and also it describes the conquest of the High City, where the Roman soldiers plundered the palaces and the elegant houses and 70 EC burned them up to the foundations on the eighth day of the month of Elul of the year, one month after the destruction of the Temple.
César, considering to be impossible to reduce the high city without terraces, due to the abrupt local nature, assigned the task to his forces 20 of the month of Lous (Av). The wooden transport was difficult, since all the surroundings of the city, up to a distance of hundred stadiums they were, as I have already said, naked. The ground works were completed after eighteen working days, seven of the month of the month of Gorpiaeus (Elul), and put in action the military machinery. From the rebels, some of them already driven to despair in the city, moved back for the terraces to the citadel, others fled for the tunnels. The Romans, advancing for the streets, sword in hand, massacred indiscriminately to everything the one that they were finding to his step, and burned the houses with all those who had found refuge inside them. Often on having entered the houses to plunder them, they were finding to the dead families and the rooms full of victims of the famine. . Happening over the one who was falling down in his way, they obstructed the streets with corpses and flooded the whole blood city, up to such a point that many of the fires became extinct for the blood stream. About the evening did it stop the massacre, but when the fire fell down the night he took possession of everything and this way did the dawn of the eighth day of the month of Gorpiaeus (Elul) find a Jerusalem in flames - a city that had suffered so many calamities? The Romans set fire to the marginal quarters of the city and destroyed the walls up to the foundations. This way Jerusalem was captured in the second year of the reign of Vespasiano, on the eighth day of the month of Gorpiaeus. (September 20, 70 EC).
(Wars VI. 8-10.)
From 1969 until 1982, when there was reconstructed the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, the High City of the period of the Second Temple was subject to a wide archaeological investigation. Impressive remains of a continuous establishment were discovered in the western mount - from ends of the period of the First Temple (VIIIth - VIIth centuries AEC) up to the modern times.
There stayed to the overdraft ruins of the residences of the High City, which had been buried for almost 1900 years. Houses and gadgetry survived almost in its entirety, protected by a thick layer of debris of a later occupation. The finds confirmed with all precision the evidence written by Flavio Josefo and the cruelty of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and of the High City.
On having finished the excavations, the ruins of the High City were preserved like museum, under the new buildings of the Jewish Quarter. The visitors can walk along the courtyards and the rooms of the houses in which the stones furniture and the secondhand vessels 2.000 years ago for his inhabitants remain intact and offer a vivid image of the way of life that concluded there in the year 70 EC.
The Quarter Herodiano
This was the principal place of the excavations in the Jewish Quarter, with parts of six or seven houses that cover a surface closely of 2.700 m2. The houses were constructed on patios, in the hillside of the mount that gives to the east to the Vale of Tyropoeon, at the head of Monte del Templo.
The Mansion Palacial
The "Mansion Palacial" in the Quarter Herodiano is the biggest, it completes and exquisite of the residences of the period of the Second Temple discovered in the Jewish Quarter. It represents faithfully the architecture and the splendor of the typical buildings of the High City.
Located in the oriental end of the High City, the building was constructed during the reign of king Herodes. It has a good sight towards the Mount of the Temple and the Temple itself, and it was spreading on three patios with an entire surface of 00 m2. There were excavated the ruins of two apartments of this house: the first floor in the western part of the house was including a central courtyard and residential rooms; a this tube in the part and north of the building it was including water facilities, deposits and quarters of service. The house had thick walls constructed with limestone of well carved Jerusalem, and his foundations were resting on the rock. Some parts of the house have survived up to a 2-3 meters impressive height.
The apartment of the central courtyard (8 x 8 m). in the first floor it was of square stones. It was surrounded by many rooms and was leading to other wings of the house. In the oriental side of the courtyard there was an opening towards a big underground cistern that was carved in the rock and covering with a thick layer of gray stucco to prevent filtrations. From the mouth of the cistern a narrow well was driving up to his flared cavity. There was gathered the rainwater of the roofs and the courtyards of the house and was transported across channels and pipes to the cistern, which had capacity of several thousands of liters and was providing water for the daily use during the dry months of the summer.
The first floor of the luxurious western wing of the Mansion Palacial was including a foyer (room of entry) with an apartment of mosaic, constituted by a coloring panel squared in a rosette of many petals in the center and grenades in the corners.
In the walls of the room along with the foyer fresh air survived up to a considerable height. These fresh colorings are in the style that it was popular in this epoch in the Roman Hellenic world, with coloring panels, imitation of marble, architectural elements and floral motives.
Numerous examples of coloring mosaics were in the houses of the High City, both in the lounges of reception and in the baths. These are the most ancient apartments of mosaic found in Jerusalem up to the date. Similar designs were in the Herodes palaces in Farmhouse, in Herodión and in other places. The decorative motives in these mosaics include geometric designs - interlaced lines, wavy lines and folded bands. The floral motives also are common, especially rosettes stylized with different numbers of petals. It is necessary to mention that the decorative motives used in the mosaics and fresh air of the period of the Second Temple do not include human or animal representations, since the Jews were avoiding definitely the figurative art.
The room of reception of the house was particularly big (11 x 6,5 m). and very luxurious. His walls preserved up to a 3 meters height, were covered with a white stucco, shaped in relief like panels. The imitation is of the costly Roman Hellenic stones construction with marginal relief, as in the walls of containment of the complex herodiano of the Mount of the Temple. Towards the west of the room of reception, there were discovered three rooms partially cut in the rock of the hillside. The walls of these rooms, decorated with fresh air, were covered with a layer of white stucco in preparation for a redecoration, what indicates that the residential wing of the mansion was in renewal process when the Romans destroyed it.
To the east of the central courtyard a small room put itself to the overdraft with a bank and an apartment of mosaic, with a kidling mikve (Jewish, plural ritual bath - mikvaot) along with her. From the courtyard, two stairs were driving at the underground level: one towards a wine vault and a mikve; other one to a network of areas of deposit, rooms and mikvaot in the parts north and this of the house. One of the rooms in the underground level had a mosaic apartment in the shape of board of chess (white and black stones) and from there a double entry was leading to a big mikve with domed roof.
The mikvaot are one of the most common features in the residences of the City Alta de Jerusalem. In every house there was one or two - sometimes more - mikvaot, evidence of the importance that was assuming to the ritual purity. A typical mikve was cut in the rock, estucada and roofed by a stone vault; a wide stairs stretch was driving to his fund. The mikvaot were filling in winter with the rainwater and in summer with the water of the cisterns. Sometimes there was along with the mikve a built bathtub of small stones, cement and estucada.
It is of supposing that the Mansion Palacial, with his place that looks at the Mount of the Temple and his big quantity of mikvaot, belonged to a priestly family.
The Burned House
The residence known as the Burned House, is located to the north of the Mansion Palacial, dates back also to the period of the Second Temple. Here, for the first time, 70 EC found evidence of the entire destruction of the city on the part of the Romans in the year. Although only a small surface of the house stayed to the overdraft, it demonstrated to be much richer, for the small finds, that other houses discovered in the High City.
The first floor of the Burned House stayed to the overdraft, including a small courtyard, four rooms, a kitchen and a mikve. The walls of the house, constructed of stone and cement and covering with a thick white stucco, survived up to the one meter height. In the apartments of the rooms, of ground, there were the bases of made round stoves of clay coffee, what indicates that probably this wing of the house was used like workshop.
The courtyard of the house was paved and across him it was going over to the kitchen and to other rooms. Three of them were of medium size and the fourth one, a side, extremely small room. The mikve is very small, covered with gray stucco, and she has four steps that descend up to the fund. At the corner of the kitchen there was a stove, stones of basalt for grinding along with he and a big bucketful of stone.
The Burned House was under a thick ravages layer. Dispersed in the house between the collapsed walls, the roofs and the second apartment, there were fragments of stones tables and many vessels of ceramics, stone and metal, evidences of the looting committed by the Roman soldiers. Supported against the corner of one of the rooms there was a spear of iron, which seemingly belonged to one of the Jewish combatants who lived there. In the entry of the side room there were the bones of the arm of a young woman, with the fingers seizing the stone of the threshold. The multiple nails of iron found between the ruins are everything what stayed of the wooden roof, of the shelves and furniture that were burned completely. Numerous coins minted during the rebellion against the Romans (66 - 70 EC) testify the date of destruction of this house.
In one of the rooms there was a weight of round stone, of approximately 10 cm. of diameter. In her, in square Arameic writing, the Hebrew inscription (of) Bar Katros was, what indicates that it belonged to the son of a man called Katros. There is known the "House of Katros" as a priestly family that abused his position in the Temple. A ditty preserved in the literature talmúdica speaks about the corruption of these priests:
Poor person of me for the House of Boetus,
poor person of me for his slaves.
Poor person of me for the House of Janán,
poor person of me for his conjurations.
Poor person of me for the House of Katros,
poor person of me for his pens.
Poor person of me for the House of Ishmael, son of Fiabi,
poor person of me for his handles.
Because they are Supreme Priests, and his children are treasurers and his sons-in-law are receivers, and his servants strike the people with sticks.
(Talmud of Babylonia, Pesajim 57, 1
Tosefta, Minjot 13,21)
їEs possible to assume that the Burned House is really the House of Katros?
Finds of the Period of the Second Temple in the High City
Hundreds of intact vessels of ceramics were found, principally in the mikvaot and in the cisterns of the houses, where seemingly they were placed during the siege. Many of the gadgetry and vessels, objects of daily use in the Ist century EC, are exhibited at present in the museums of the Quarter Herodiano and the Burned House.
Tables - fragments of tens stones tables of two classes - typical domestic furniture - were put to the overdraft in the excavations. Big tables of local limestone consisted of a rectangular covering (I divide equally 85 x 45 cm). carved in three sides with geometric and floral motives, which were placed on a central paw (of 70 - 80 cm. of height I mediate) in the shape of column with a base. These heavy tables were placed along with a wall.
Small round tables of approximately 50 cm. of diameter, done of different stones, they were including the local limestone and granite and imported marble, were placing themselves on a wooden tripod that has not survived. These were portable tables that were used to serve meal to the visits that were leaning back in low wooden couches in the luxurious reception lounges.
Stones vessels - An enormous quantity of stones vessels of the period of the Second Temple were in the houses of the High City. The vessels were done of the local, limestone soft and easy to work, that is in big quantity in Jerusalem, especially in the Mount Scopus and the Mount of the Olive trees. The vessels were done to hand or in a winch. More unusual are the big turned vessels. They have 0 - 80 cm. of high place with thick right or rounded walls, with form of glass of wide mouth, on a pedestal. Most of the smallest vessels also were turned, in a wide forms variety: bowls, glasses and glasses imitating the imported pottery. Between the vessels done to hand there are bucketfuls and receptacles of diverse sizes. Also the this way called measurement cups, in the shape of pitchers with right walls and big handles, were done to hand.
The stones vessels industry that EC bloomed in Jerusalem during the Ist century is clearly related to the strict observance of the Jewish laws of ritual purity, in accordance with which the stone does not absorb impurity. (Mishná, Kelim 10:1, Pará 5:5). The purity of the stones vessels is mentioned also in the New Testament, in the miracle of the conversion of the water in wine in Caná. (Juan 2:1-7).
Engraving of the Menorá - In the Jewish Quarter two stucco fragments were slightly colored, that date back to the period of the Second Temple, in which there is painted a menorá of seven arms (candelabrum). The engraving of the menorá has 20 cm. of high place and 12,5 cm. of breadth. Seven arms in high place, with a flame in the end of every arm; for on a base tripod and it is decorated by circles separated by pairs of lines. This decoration corresponds to the Biblical description of the menorá:
Three chalices as almond tree flowers it will have the first arm, with his globules and irises; the second arm will have [also] three chalices as almond tree flower with his globules and his flowers.
You will do for him seven lamps, which you will put on the candelabrum, so that they shine straight ahead.
This one seems to be the most ancient detailed drawing of the menorá that was in the Temple of Jerusalem and was taken as a booty by the Romans when they conquered the city.
The excavations in the Jewish Quarter were realized for N. Avigad on behalf of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Department of Antig? ages (today Authority of Antig? ages of Israel) and the Society of Exploration of Israel.
Source: MFA - Foreign Office of Israel