There are so many things to learn about the Holy Land. I’d like to share six interesting facts you probably didn’t already know about the land of the Bible:
1. The olives trees in the Garden of Gethsemane are estimated to be anywhere between 1,000 and 2,000 years old.
2. When the Bible speaks of the land of milk and honey, the honey it refers to is the sugary liquid that drips from dates.
3. The synagogue at Gamla is one of the few that existed while the Second Temple in Jerusalem was still standing, making it one of the most ancient in the Land.
4. Popes Paul VI and John Paul II each celebrated Mass at the Church of the Beatitudes during their visits to the Holy Land.
5. Near the port of Old Jaffa, you’ll find an Armenian convent. This building served as a hospital for Napoleon’s troops on his expedition to the Holy Land. Napoleon stopped in Jaffa on his campaign through David’s Land.
In 1804, Napoleon commissioned a painting called “Bonaparte Visiting the Plague Victims of Jaffa.” The scene shows Napoleon in Jaffa in 1799 trying to raise his troops’ morale by approaching and touching soldiers who had fallen victim to a plague epidemic that was decimating the French army.
The painting is on display today at the Louvre in Paris.
6. Just at the time that Jesus was growing to manhood in nearby Nazareth, a great building project was taking place in Zippori. Some scholars claim that this building project may have employed the artisan Joseph, husband of Mary, and, perhaps, even his apprentice, Jesus.
David Wexler is an Israeli tour guide, yet born and raised in the USA. His Travelujah posts provides a review of religious, historic and off-the-beaten path sites in this fascinating country he calls home. Visit his website to find out more about your next tour to the Holy Land.