Palestinian archeologist at Hezekiah’s tunnel

I will add a few more articles on my trip around the Galilee very soon.

I went with some friends to Hezekiah’s tunnel in the City of David museum in Silwan, a volatile Arab neighbourhood close to the Dung Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem.

There is over a mile of tunnels you have to walk through in darkness and in water upto your knees.

I have been here before actually, you can see my original article here.

This plastic pipe seems to be a temporary replacement for the modern drainage system which was removed with this area was dug up.

At the back of the museum is this place, dug up not so long ago.

This places was once a source of water, from the museum web site:-

In June of 2004, municipal workers who were repairing a sewage drain in the City of David were shocked to discover a staircase deep underneath the ground.  Salvage excavations done at the site revealed that the stairs are part of an ancient thoroughfare, leading from the Shiloach Pool – the major water drawing source in Jerusalem from Biblical times, to the Temple Mount over 2300 feet to the north. Excavations conducted by Eli Shukron are discovering the original stones walked upon by the Jewish people as they made their pilgrimage to the Jewish temple most notably on the festivals of Passover, Shavuot and Succoth.

In places, the pavement was broken, revealing an underground drainage channel filled with whole pottery vessels and coins. Josephus Flavius, a famous historian of that period, describes this very place as one where the Jews unsuccessfully attempted to hide during the Roman Revolt in 70 CE.  For over 2,000 years this road has secretly laid, hidden from the world. Today, in the center of Jerusalem, in the historic City of David, we have the unique opportunity to once again reveal this road before the eyes of the world.


Sign here say that this ground on the surface is a cemetery for Arab children.

What surprised me was there was a Palestinian man working in the museum who had a love of history.  Silwan is quite a troubled neighbourhood and often Palestinian groups and their supporters around the world, try to show this part of the world as stolen land, despite the wealth of historical information that shows its been occupied by many different groups of people; Roman, Byzantine, Jewish, Arab, Crusader, Ottoman, British Mandate etc, that have lived here.

This man showed some coins he personally found himself, this coin to the left can be clearly seen as being Roman, the one to the bottom right has a Christian cross on it.

He told us he had his car set on fire by other people in his neighbourhood for working with Jews.   He told us he was not religious and not interested in politics, only liked working at the museum and finding discoveries from past.

  

With the large numbers of Christian visitors that come to this site every day, I am hoping the most of them will be praying for this man, for his safety and for him to find his Lord and saviour.

One we were out the rear entrance of the museum, I found myself in a Palestinian community.

Next to this simple sandwich shop is this fruit tree which I think has plums on it, far from ripe of course.  House opposite has a Palestinian flag on it.   We got a ride back to the main high street in this blue VW taxi van.

Web site of City of David museum and Hezekiah’s tunnel

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Caesarea revisited

On the away trip with the staff of the charity I volunteer for, we first stopped off at Caesarea.

I have blogged on this place before but only very briefly, really only touching on the theatre which hosts live music and TV shows today, this time I got to see this place in a bit more detail.

The museum park is mostly outdoors and is a beautiful place to visit.  It is probably the most important piece of Roman history in the Middle East.

This sign shows how the harbour looked like:

Here you can see only a portion of the harbour is still here, the rest disappeared into the sea, although not so much through war, actually it happened by earthquake.


Today there is some flags out as a sign of countries in battle – this time the world cup football.

By the way the name ‘Palestine’ was invented by the Roman emperor Hadrian long before any Arab people populated this land.  Caearea was built by Herod, but there are signs here showing it was inhabited by Greeks, Crusaders and Muslims.

Outside a cafe at this place I ordered a hot dog with some french fries and sat outside.  The elderly man who ran the cafe had a strong New York accent brought out some pizza to one of my friends at the table and I noticed a small green tattoo on the man’s arm, not a particularly interesting design but when I went up to get some mustard I saw it again, it was about six numbers.   This was the unmistakable sign the Nazis used on Jewish prisoners in the holocaust camps, where as most people were rapidly slaughtered in the gas chambers not long after they had arrived by train, the ones with the tattoos tended to be those that were younger that were deemed suitable for working in the camp in unspeakable conditions.   Still today there are people who try to revise history and say it never happened. I would imagine the man is probably Polish and moved to the US in late 1940s and came to Israel not so long ago.  On one of the other tables he got chatting to one of the other staff, I didn’t hear what was said apart from he said he was from New York.   Its a sobering thought that history has come full circle, as the Nazis closely modeled themselves on the Romans to some degree and now as this small fragment of the Middle East is now owned by Jews again and some of them have reminders of tragedies gone by.

There are two films that can be watched in separate screens that show how Caesarea was restored by archeologists as you can see today.  Some other people on our trip went to scuba diving as there are parts of the ruins that can only be seen underwater.

People fishing, although I think this sign probably says you aren’t supposed to.

It perhaps doesn’t ‘go’, but I really like this wooden Caribbean style bar :o)

Current prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lived here in the town and so did Russian-Israeli Billionaire Arcadi Gaydamak who used to own football clubs in Jerusalem and Portsmouth UK, its incredible this location has changed hands through so many people.

This is an absolutely must see for any visitor to the holy land.

I will cover the Kibbutz where I stayed next…