Israel,  Middle East,  Travel

A Day of Walking in Jerusalem

I visited Israel for the first time in 2017 and I had the chance to visit Jerusalem twice. The first one was when when I went on a group tour organized by Tourist Israel. The second was when Igal and I joined the tip-based walking tour organized by New Sandeman.

 

Holy Sepulchre Church was included in both of those tours. However, we only stayed outside the church on the New Sandeman tour (the one with Igal) where the tour guide talked about its history. On the way home from the tour, I told Igal that I also got to see the inside of the church in my Tourist Israel tour. He then told me that he hasn’t been inside the church ever! So, I told him that next time we’re in Jerusalem, we’re going inside so he can see it.

 

Fast forward to 2018, I’m in Israel again and Igal scheduled a meet-up in Jerusalem with one of his friends. As agreed before, visiting the inside of the Holy Sepulchre Church was on our day’s to-do list. Once inside the church, Igal and I walked around and I told him the things I remembered from my tour in 2017. We even went to the lower level of the church which wasn’t part of my tour back in 2017.

 

Since we had a few more hours to kill before our late lunch / early dinner date with friends, we decided to check out other places nearby.

 

  • Mary Magdalene Church – Igal said that he heard about this beautiful church outside the old city and near the Mount of Olives. It’s located on the hill so be ready to do some uphill walk coming from the old city. We exited the old city using the Lion’s Gate as we find our way to this church. Unfortunately, we weren’t aware of it’s operation hours and it turned out that it’s closed on Fridays so we weren’t able to see it.

 

  • Garden of Gethsemane and Basilica of Agony – we saw this at the foot of Mount of Olives, on our way to the Mary Magdalene Church, and I remembered that my Tourist Israel guide from 2017 said that it’s worth a visit. So, we went inside and looked around the basilica and the garden. It wasn’t crowded during our visit which was great because it lets you feel its serenity.

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The church is located right beside the Garden of Gethsemane. It's called "Church of All Nations" due to the fact that various countries contributed for its construction. The ceiling design inside shows the national symbols of 12 donors – Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and USA. Australia gave the wreath around the Rock of Agony, while some mosaics were donated by Hungary, Ireland, and Poland. • • This church is a short walk away from the Lion's Gate of the old Jerusalem city. We went on an early Friday afternoon and there wasn't any crowd. Igal and I were the only people inside the church. In the garden, there was just one other person (not counting the gardener who's always there with the olive trees). • • Jerusalem, Israel • 31 Aug 2018

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  • Dominus Flevit Church – we continued walking uphill from the Mary Magdalene Church, hoping to find some way to see it but failed. We ended up visiting this church. The church itself is small but the window right behind the altar has a nice framed view of the dome of the rock.

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Dominus Flevit Church – a small Roman Catholic church located on Mount of Olives. The latin name translates to "the Lord wept." The church's teardrop shape symbolizes the tear of Jesus as he predicted Jerusalem's future destruction while he was riding towards the city on the first Palm Sunday (Luke 19:37-44). In AD 70, Jesus' prophesy came true. Jerusalem was besieged and levelled by Roman Legions. • • Dominus Flevit Church can be accessed by foot from the old city by exiting through the Lion's Gate then taking the uphill road from Gethsemane. The uphill walk can be a good exercise, and you have the option to push it further up to the top of the Mount of Olives after your visit here. • • Dominus Flevit Church, Jerusalem, Israel • 31 Aug 2018

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  • Mount of Olives – we had two option after Dominus Flevit, go back down or continue up the hill to the Mount of Olives. We agreed to continue uphill to spend some time at the top and look over the old city of Jerusalem. Besides, we’re halfway up. Best to just finish it all the way to the top 🙂

 

  • St. Anne’s Church – we went back downhill after the Mount of Olives and entered the old city through the Lion’s Gate again. We noticed this church which says that it’s the birthplace of the Virgin Mary and we instantly decided to take a look around.

 

If you ever decide to also do this route on a sunny day, don’t forget to bring water to keep you hydrated. A comfortable pair of footwear is advisable since there will be uphill and downhill walking, which is steep at some points.

 

Below is a map of the places we visited during this recent visit in Jerusalem. The Lion’s Gate is the one very close to St. Anne’s Church.

 

JerusalemDayTrip

 

Below are schedules of operation of the places mentioned in this post. Be in Jerusalem either on a Tuesday or Thursday if you’re adamant about visiting the Mary Magdalene Church. I hope this post helps you in planning your visit to Jerusalem.

OperatingHours2

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