After exploring the walled city of Old Jerusalem and retracing the steps of Christ in the Via Dolorosa in the morning, we explored the area of Mt. Zion, located on the south-west side of the old city and outside of the present walls.
Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu
This is one of my favorite churches in this trip because of its location in the slopes of Mount Zion and offering a good view of Kidron Valley.
The name of the church Gallicantu means “cock’s crow” as it is believed that the site is the location of high priest Caiaphas’ palace where Peter denied Jesus three times and the cock crowed twice after.
At the basement of the church lies the caves believed to be guardroom and a prisoner’s cell of Jesus.
Zion Gate is one of the gates leading to the Jewish Quarter. It is also called the “wounded gate” due to the bullet holes it has sustained during the Israeli assault in May 1948.
This Benedictine abbey marks the location believed to be where Virgin Mary died. The complex is called Hagia-Maria-Sion-Abbey, after the Byzantine church which used to be built there.
There is another belief that Virgin Mary died in Ephesus.
At the basement of the church is a crypt or “Rotunda” where a sculpture of Virgin Mary in her deathbed is located. On the ceiling directly above the crypt is a mosaic of Jesus surrounded by famous women in the Bible.
Around the crypt are chapels donated by different countries. The chapel below was donated by Ivory Coast. The altar has the letters Alpha and Omega inscribed, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.
King David’s Tomb
David is an important figure in Jewish, Christian and Islam faiths. The site of King David’s Tomb is revered by followers of this religion as the ground floor houses King David’s tomb, the second floor is the traditional site of the Last Supper Hall and the third floor has a minaret of a Muslim mosque.
The Cenacle Room
This room, located on the second floor of the Tomb of David, is where two significant events in Christian faith is commemorated. This is the place believed to be the location of Jesus’ last supper with His apostles and the place of the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Near the entrance to the Tomb of David is this sculpture of his playing his harp.
… and this vendor, in case all the walking got you hungry.
It’s Christmas Eve, everybody was excited to have finished the day. We started to make plans for midnight as we were travelling back to Bethlehem.
How did we celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem? Find out in my next post!