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June 1, 2010June 1, 2010  1 comments  Uncategorized

You can see Jerusalem in a whole new light very soon. Literally. The second annual Festival of Light will take place from June 9 to 16 with light and sound shows bringing the magic of the Old City to life from 8 p.m. to midnight each evening.

The displays illuminate architecture and statues that are otherwise unseen in the night hours. Last year some 200,000 people roamed the Old City streets to take in the awe inspiring light displays. The festival promotes tourism in the Old City, which usually tapers off each day when the sun sets.

Lighting artists will present their work integrating light, sound, dance, drama and architecture for the eight nights (the display will be closed on Friday and will only reopen one hour after the Sabbath on Saturday night). Traditional locations like the Cardo and intricate alleyways in the heart of the Old City will take on a whole new look bathed in dramatic lighting.

The opening performance that will take place in Sultan’s pool featuring a concert by the Symphony Orchestra and lighting design designer Avi-Yonah Bueno. Tickets must be purchased in advance. A special performance will take place every night at the Habonim Gardens integrating dance and acrobatics with lighting and pyrotechnic effects.

Admission is free for the main exhibits in the Old City, street events among the light creations, and the Lighting Fair at the Byzantine Cardo. There are shuttles for easy transport to festival locations.

Other light shows include:

The History of Light - Nocturnal Light Show, which will take place at Gan Habonim combining spectacular lights and movements.

The Night Spectacular at the Tower of David, an event at the Tower of David that, with 3D images and music, tells the history of the ancient city through modern times. The fee is 40 NIS for adults and 35 NIS for students, senior citizens, and children.

Generation Link, which tells of the history of the Jewish people through exile and redemption, presenting fascinating archaeology with lights and effects. Make reservations at http://english.thekotel.org/. The cost is 25 shekels for adults and 15 for students, children, senior citizens and the handicapped.

The Burnt House Museum, which shows the history of a wealthy family and their story in the time of the Roman occupation in Israel.

For a map of the locations that will be lit up, click here. http://en.lightinjerusalem.org.il/2010/map

July 8, 2010July 8, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Conservation work on Jerusalem’s Old City walls turned up an intriguing find this week when a 100-year-old grenade was discovered in the wall near the Damascus Gate.

The Ottoman-era weapon was discovered on Monday by a conservation team of the Israel Antiquities Authority under the direction of conservator Fuad Abu Taa. The team was dismantling fragments of a crushed stone that needed replacement when they discovered a chunk of metal in the core of the wall.

“The stone was partially crushed and someone probably chose it as a place to hide the hand grenade,” said Yoram Saad, head of the Implementation Branch of the Israel Antiquities Authority Conservation Department.

The Ottoman Empire extended to what is now modern-day Israel from 1516 until the British Mandate took over in 1918.

Of course, in Israel, the discovery of a weapon, no matter how old, involves police and security experts. Police sappers summoned to the site deemed the grenade to contain up to 300 grams of explosives and carried out a controlled detonation of the weapon.

A section of the city wall near Damascus Gate is being treated as part of the Jerusalem Walls Conservation Project being carried out by the Prime Minister’s Office, the Jerusalem Development Authority, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Jerusalem Municipality in order to restore the neglected and weathered Old City walls.

By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy Land.

October 21, 2010October 21, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Once the site of a great revival in the book of Acts, the city of Lod is looking for a modern day renaissance to resurrect the ancient city.

In the book of Acts, Peter visited the believers in Lod - called Lydda at the time - and prayed for a paralyzed man named Aeneas. When the man was healed, all the residents in Lydda and Sharon turned to the Lord, according to the account in Acts 9. Peter then headed to Joppa, modern day Jaffa.

Today, Jaffa and the house of Simon the Tanner are sites frequented by tourists. But just some minutes away, Lod has yet to make the tourist trail.

“It is the oldest city in the land of Israel with 8,000 years of consecutive settlement in Lod - unprecedented in the entire Middle East,” Aviv Wasserman, co-founder and director of Lod Community Foundation, told Travelujah, the only Christian social network dedicated to travel in the Holy Land.

Often overlooked by Israelis as well as foreigners, Lod is rich in history for Christians, Jews and Muslims. The Old City is older than both old cities in Jaffa and Jerusalem. The city is the home of the Cathedral of St. George the dragon slayer, and the Mamluk Mosque, El Omri. It is also a holy site for the Jews as during the time of the Mishnah and the Talmud, the city was named “Second to Jerusalem.” Georgian and Indian synagogues add to the Jewish diversity of the city.

A large and impressive mosaic floor of a Roman villa from about 300 AD was unearthed in Lod and is currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The mosaic, likely in the home of a wealthy Roman, depicts animals and a marine scene of fish and ships.

The history reflects today’s demographics as well. A large and diverse Jewish community plus Christian and Muslim Arabs comprise the population. Out of about 70,000 residents, 80 percent are Jewish and 20 percent are Arab.

“Lod was the capital of every culture that ruled Israel since the stone age,” Wasserman said. “And today it is a beautiful mosaic of people. We are trying to bring this fact out to people.”

Located near Ben Gurion Airport, Lod was a Jewish city from the 5th century BC until the Roman conquest in 70 AD and was mentioned several times in the Old Testament. Today the city only makes headlines for random violence and drug crimes.

In an effort to improve the city’s image, the Lod Community Foundation is working to rebrand the city’s image. Part of this effort is a two-night festival called “Painting Lod with Music,” which began Oct. 21 and will be continued on Oct. 28.
Admission is free to a photo gallery, musical performances by famous Israeli artists and bands and street shows.


By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy Land.

Tags: lod lydda old city festival 

June 21, 2011June 21, 2011  1 comments  Uncategorized

A new archaeological site revealing remnants of a city dating back to the time of King Solomon right outside the walls of the Old City was officially opened to the public on Tuesday.
Portions of this site could have been mentioned in scripture, dating back to the first temple period, according to archaeologists. The site includes an exhibit in the Archaeological Garden of the Davidson Center of the oldest known written document from Jerusalem found at the site.


ophel, old city, jerusalem

The Israel Antiquities Authority and Mayor Nir Barkat opened the Ophel City Walls Site to the public revealing a complex of buildings dating back to between the 10th to 6th centuries BC, including what is believed to have been a gate house, a royal edifice, a section of a tower and the city wall itself. Hebrew University archaeologist Eilat Mazar suggested that the buildings could have been part of the fortifications that King Solomon built in Jerusalem.

“Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the LORD, and the wall around Jerusalem.” 1 Kings 3:1

Visitors will be able to touch the stones and walls at the site. Signs elaborate on the history and significance of the finds.


ophel, old city, jerusalem

Sections of a Byzantine city wall and two of its towers were and two rooms from the second temple period were also found.

The oldest known written document from Jerusalem is a 2 cm. fragment discovered in the area by archaeologists. It dates from the late Bronze Age and is written in Akkadian and appears to be a copy of a letter sent to an Egyptian King when Jerusalem was still called Salem.

The gate house is comprised of four rooms on both sides of a broad corridor and is characteristic of the first temple period similar to gates revealed at Megiddo, Beer Sheva and Ashdod.

ophel, old city, jerusalem

(Photos courtesy of IAA)

Mazar said the gate house could be the Water Gate mentioned in the Nehemiah 3:26: “…and the temple servants living on Ophel repaired to a point opposite the Water Gate on the east and the projecting tower.”

The structure could have been destroyed by the Babylonian conquest of the city in 586 BC, Mazar said. Also discovered on site were 12 large, clay jars, which probably contained wine or oil, one with a Hebrew inscription indicating that it belonged to one of the kingdom’s ministers.

By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on connecting Christians to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.

August 9, 2011August 9, 2011  0 comments  Uncategorized

Israeli archaeologists made two important discoveries during excavations of a drainage channel in the ancient City of David including a Roman sword from the time of the destruction of the second Jewish temple in 70 AD and an engraving of a Menorah on a piece of stone dating from 66 AD.

The finds, which were announced on Monday by the Israel Antiquities Authority, show that the drainage channel in the City of David served as a hiding place for the residents of Jerusalem during the Roman siege of the second temple, the IAA said in a statement.


archaeology, jerusalem, old city, city of david





(photos: Israel Antiquities Authority)


Excavation directors Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa noted that the sword likely belonged to a Roman infantryman.

"The sword’s fine state of preservation is surprising: not only its length (23.6 inches, 60 cm.), but also the preservation of the leather scabbard (a material that generally disintegrates quickly over time) and some of its decoration,” the IAA statement said.

The second temple, built by King Herod, was destroyed in 70 AD by the Roman.

A stone object engraved with a picture of a menorah was found next to the channel. Researchers believe that the etching of the golden seven-branched candelabrum may been carved by a visitor to the nearby temple, but later tossed aside. The carving confirms the original design of the menorah's base: a tripod shape, Shukron and Reich said.

The sword is the third Roman one found in Jerusalem.

The ancient drainage channel begins in the Siloam Pool and runs from the City of David to the archaeological garden near the Western Wall. The excavations are being conducted on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, in cooperation with the Nature and Parks Authority and underwritten by the City of David Foundation.


By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on connecting Christians to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.


September 16, 2011September 16, 2011  0 comments  Uncategorized

Jerusalem has been a destination for many spiritual and historic journeys, but on Thursday night it became the magnet for women of all faiths and ages who are interested in fitness.

Hundreds of women gathered at the Jaffa Gate plaza for exercise followed by a 5-kilometer walk in the Athena Women's Walk in honor of a happy, healthy new year and in encouragement of an active, healthy lifestyle. The Jewish new year, Rosh HaShana, begins on Sept. 28.


The event, usually held on the Tel Aviv beachfront, took the capital by storm with road closures and thousands of extra visitors that day. Having it in Jerusalem opened up the event to diverse participants from religious to secular Jews to Arab women from East Jerusalem.

Ancient met modern at Jaffa Gate where the area was cleared for spinning machines, a kickboxing zone, Zumba and Latino dance stage, and sport and active lifestyle retail tents. Women and young girls took part in the live dance sessions and availed themselves of the exercise equipment set up for the day.

Mayor Nir Barkat unveiled a 300-meter sign greeting visitors with the new year greeting, Shana Tova on the Old City walls.

jaffa gate, jerusalemThe walk is one for the tour books: Taking walkers through the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and out Zion Gate, visitors pass Sultan’s Pool, climb up past the Cinemateque to the new trail along the old train tracks in Baka, up Emek Refaim Street in the trendy German Colony area, through the quaint neighborhood of Yemin Moshe, past the historic King David hotel and back to Jaffa Gate Square.

“We are excited to be holding this event in Jerusalem at this time in history,” said Ilan Green, Manager of Public Sports at the Sports Department of the Jerusalem Municipality. “The event has potential to unite this varied group of women as they come together to have fun in a positive, healthy way.”

The purpose of the "Athena Women's Walk" was to empower and inspire women to choose an active and healthy lifestyle.


By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land.


November 23, 2011November 23, 2011  1 comments  Uncategorized

Despite centuries of assumption that King Herod built the Western Wall of the temple in Jerusalem, recent archaeological findings could throw this accepted conventional premise on its head.



Professor Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa and Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a news conference on Wednesday that a ritual bath exposed beneath the Western Wall of the Temple Mount contains proof that the construction of that wall was not completed during Herod’s lifetime but at least 20 years after his death around 4 BC.

israel, archaeolgy, jerusalem, western wall

















"The find changes the way we see the construction, and shows it lasted for longer than we originally thought,” Shukron said.

This confirm accounts by Josephus, the Jewish historian, who wrote that the work was only finished during the reign of King Agrippa II (Herod's great-grandson), not before that during Herod's time.

During recent excavations, archaeologists uncovered three clay oil lamps from the 1st century AD and 17 bronze coins, some dating to around 17 or 18 AD, approximately 20 years after Herod's death, the archaeologists said.


Donald Ariel, curator of the numismatic collection of the Israel Antiquities Authority, determined that the bronze coins were stamped by a Roman proconsul, Valerius Gratus, 20 years after Herod’s death, around 17 AD. That indicates that Herod did not build the wall and that construction was not close to being complete when he died. Valerius Gratus was the predecessor of Pontius Pilate, Reich said.

israel, archaeolgy, jerusalem, western wall

The coins were found inside the ritual bath. The find is the first archaeological evidence that supports Josephus' account.

"This bit of archaeological information illustrates the fact that the construction of the Temple Mount walls and Robinson's Arch was an enormous project that lasted decades and was not completed during Herod's lifetime," the Israel Antiquities Authority said.

Photos: Vladimir Naykhin

By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on connecting Christians to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.


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