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November 5, 2012November 5, 2012  0 comments  History

Hanevim Street is known as the Street of the Prophets and runs east west from the Damsacus Gate in the East to Davidka Square in the West side of Jerusalem. Many major historic buildings are situated along the corridor, including the Ethiopian Church.


History of the Ethiopian Church in West Jerusalem


The Ethiopian community evolved around the Haneviim corridor in the 1880's and the church was built  along Ethiopia Street, that was purchased in 1888 just north of Hanevim Street.  Ethiopia Street bought in 1888, just north of Street of the Prophets.  Under the initiative of Empress Taytu Betul, Ethiopian Empress Taytu Betul was instrumental in encouraging other Ethiopian nobles and wealthy individuals to purchase  homes on Ethiopia Street and Street of the Prophets, which still belong to the community to this day.




The Ethiopian Church was planned by German protestant architect Conrad Schick, the same architect who created a number of very important buildings still standing on Hanevim Street such as the Tabor House and the Swedish Theological Seminary as well as several unique models of the Old City of Jerusalem, that were, coincidentally, recently purchased by CMJ Israel and are now on display at the Christ Church Heritage Center in the Old city.


There are many similarities between the Ethiopian church and traditions with early Judaism. First of all, the church as built with a concentric plan with the holy of holies located in the middle of the church, similar to that of the Jewish Temple of 2000 years ago.  The priest that is leading the prayers (done in the traditional Ethiopian language of Ge'ez)  is the only person allowed inside the Holy of Holies.


It is said that the Ethiopian Christians trace their ancestry to King Mamlek,  himself a  descendent of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.


Traditions in the Ethiopian church


One of the most visible traditions within the Ethiopian church is that all visitors must take off their shoes upon entering the church. Also during prayers, worshippers must stand for a long time and they use a special Ethiopian cane, often decorated in special traditional patterns that are used to support their chins.  Ethiopian drums are often used in processions and have special straps that enable people to comfortably  carry and play them for long periods of time.


 "Exodus" the Movie


The scene  from the  film Exodus starring Paul Newman where he was running away from the British Forces  was filmed in the courtyard of the Ethiopian church.


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Elisa Moed is the Founder and CEO of Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share, their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.



February 13, 2012February 13, 2012  1 comments  attractions

Conrad Schick, a 19th century German missionary, scholar and architect, was described by Dr. Shimon Gibson as a kind of "oracle" in Jerusalem during his time. Anyone desiring to truly understand the city's history, and possibly its future, simply had to visit and learn from Schick. With the return of some of Schick's most prominent work to the Christ Church compound in Jerusalem's Old City, pilgrims once again have the opportunity to do so.

Conrad Schick model of Temple Mount

Photo courtesy: Ryan Jones, Travelujah; Conrad Schick's model of the Temple Mount, on display at the Christ Church Heritage Center inside Jerusalem's Old City.

Having attended the unveiling of Schick's famous multi-layered model of Jerusalem's Temple Mount at Christ Church's Heritage Center, it seems hard to understate the man's importance to and impact on the city, even if one has never before heard his name.

"Still today, we are finding that supposedly new archeological discoveries in Jerusalem had already been discovered and written about by Schick," Gibson, told Travelujah. Gibson, a British-born archaeologist is a Senior Associate Fellow at the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research and adjunct Professor of Archaeology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Archaeologist Shimon Gibson

Photo courtesy: Ryan Jones, Travelujah; Archaeologist Shimon Gibson at Schick's model

But, perhaps it would be instructive to go back to the beginning.

Schick was sent to the Holy Land in 1846 as a missionary with the Reformed St. Chrischona Pilgrim Mission as part of a kind of "quiet mission," where he and another German missionary would settle and become living examples of Jesus' love and message. While he remained dedicated to that mission until his death in 1901, Schick found that he had something else to offer both Jerusalem and its visitors.

Despite lacking any formal education in architecture, archeology, history or geology, Schick nevertheless became recognized as "the foremost authority on everything about Jerusalem," said Prof. Haim Goren, an expert on 19th century German Christianity in the Holy Land, adding that "Schick's house [Tabor House on Jerusalem's Prophets Street] was a regular pilgrimage tour stop during his day."

After he started making models in the 1850s, Schick used his architectural and artistic abilities to help solve disputes concerning the historical terrain. For instance, Goren recounted that Schick's detailed model of the Holy Sepulcher (which is also on display at the Heritage Center) was built to bring a conclusion to arguments between the various Christian sects inhabiting the ancient church. In addition to his creative talents, that incident likewise demonstrates Schick's considerable status among all Christians in the Holy Land at the time.

Conrad Schick's Church of the Holy Sepulcher model

Photo courtesy: Ryan Jones, Travelujah; Conrad Schick's model of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher

And his influence is still fully felt today. "We are still using Schick's sketches to make new discoveries in Jerusalem," said Goren. "His genius permeates everything concerning Jerusalem. He was one of the most important people in one of the most important periods of this city's development."

Gibson also stressed the enormous impact of Schick's work on modern archeology, noting that Schick had access to areas that today's researchers could only dream of entering, such as the multitude of passages, cisterns and ancient halls under Jerusalem's Temple Mount. And his privileged knowledge is now on display for all to see in Schick's stunning recreation of the Temple Mount, a model that spent the last 150 years traveling the world, first on display at prestigious events like the World Fair and then gathering dust in Swiss attics.

Slowly lifting the different layered pieces, Gibson revealed the intricate craftsmanship that is perhaps the only detailed documentation of what today lies beneath the Temple Mount.

Christ Church went to considerable effort to raise funds to purchase the Temple Mount and others of Schick's models when St. Chrischona decided in 2010 to auction them. The transition is a homecoming for Schick's work, literally. The building that is today the Christ Church Heritage Center was in Schick's day known as the House of Industry, a portion of Christ Church where local carpenters produced goods made of olive wood, and the very place where Schick constructed his models.

Dr. Don Stanley, head of CMJ Israel (Christ Church's parent ministry), said he hopes the model will become the centerpiece of the new Heritage Center and a strong reminder of the historical and biblical importance of Jerusalem. That sentiment was echoed by St. Chrischona Spokesman Claudius Buser, who stated, "The long round trip is finally over, and Schick's work is back home in Jerusalem. We know that in Jerusalem, the models will serve so many more pilgrims."

If you go:

The entire Christ Church Heritage Campus is open to the public every day of the week and includes a small guest house, the Christ Church, recognized as the first Protestant Church in the Middle East, as well as a lovely restaurant servicing breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Outside groups and individuals are welcome.

The new Heritage museum at Christ Church  will be open shortly to the public, (by march 2012 at the latest).We recommend that you contact the guesthouse at christch@netvision.net.il   to check on opening hours of the museum.

The new Heritage Center is situated in the Alexander Wing of the complex which is accessed off the guesthouse courtyard.

Private group visits should  be pre-arranged by contacting Christ Church at christch@netvision.net.il

If you wish to arrange a Holy Land tour and to include this museum on your itinerary, please contact Travelujah.


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Ryan Jones writes frequently for Travelujah-Holy Land Tours, the leading Christian social network focusing on Christian travel to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.


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