Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ramparts Walk, Birthplace of Mary, and the Tower of David Museum

So after being in Jerusalem for over a week now, I have a lot to report on!  We have officially started all of our classes now.  Here's what my classes are: Near Eastern Studies, Judaism, Palestine, field trips, Old Testament, and Hebrew.  And they are intense!  There is a lot required of us.  We have tons of reading to do everyday, but luckily all of those classes end after the first half of the semester except for Near Eastern Studies.  (That is a history class of the area from ancient times until modern times.)  During the second half of the semester, we have New Testament, and we have our field trip class still along with Near Eastern Studies.  So the first part is much harder than the second half.  But the classes here are really interesting even though they require a lot out of us.

I had some questions about my last post, so I thought I would answer them.  First of all, filaful is a fried ball of ground up chick peas and spices with bread crumbs on the outside.  It sounds weird, but it tastes really good!  You put that in a pita or this kind of thin tortilla-like bread with some hummus, tomatoes, cucumbers, and french fries, and it is really tasty!  The food in the cafeteria is really good because it's all a lot of things that are unique to this area, but they also serve American food too.  It's a buffet for every meal, and so it's important to not eat like you're at a buffet every meal because otherwise you could definitely gain some weight off of the food here.  Also it is really fun to have a balcony on my room.  (I have 3 other roommates btw: Kjersten - not a typo, pronounced Kirsten, another Rachel, and Melanie.)  We had roses blooming outside of our window, but then they came and wacked them all off this week to prune them, so now our balcony is not as pretty as it used to be.  I can see all of Jerusalem from anywhere in the Center that has a window because the Center is on the Mount of Olives overlooking the city.

So Sunday is our free day here, so I went out with some friends and did some really fun stuff.  First we did a walk on the wall all the way around the Old City.  You walk on the inside of the wall, and you can see a lot of neat things.  The pictures can show better than I can explain it.  It's called the Ramparts Walk, and it was only 8 shekels!  That translates to about $2.50.

After going doing the Ramparts Walk, we went to this fantastic museum called the Tower of David Museum.  The tower of David is a fortress that has been possessed by a lot of different people over time, and now it has been turned into a museum.  It goes through the history of Jerusalem.  It was really interesting, and I feel like I learned a lot.  There is an actual tower, and we went up on top of it, and took lots of pictures.  I posted most of them below.  Anyway, that's what I did this week on my free day.  I was gone from about 9 in the morning until 6:30 that night.  We took a taxi back from West Jerusalem after the museum, and that was really fun because our taxi driver didn't know where the "Mormon University" was and took us to Hebrew University instead.  But it was fine because that is just right down the road from us anyway.  Well that's all I have time to post now.  I'll post what we did on our field trip the next day on my post on Saturday.  This city is so great!  If you ever have the chance to go, I hope you take it because everything here is so full of history and richness!

A picture of me in the old city.  There are stairs like the ones behind me everywhere in the old city because it is all very uneven.

 This a picture I took while doing the ramparts walk of the main street that runs by the walls of the Old City.
 Me and a guy named Paul Bradshaw on the wall during the ramparts walk.
 A view of West Jerusalem from the ramparts walk.  What a beautiful city!
 Remnants of a mosque that is in one of the corners of the Old City from the ramparts walk.  The crescent moon on top is very characteristic of buildings of Islam. 
 A view of a street in the old city from the ramparts walk.
 I'm not sure what these are, but this is part of the wall of the Old City that we saw on the ramparts wall.
 Part of the group that came on the ramparts walk.  There were about twenty of us all together. 
 These are more views of Jerusalem outside the city walls that we saw on the ramparts walk.  These are some tombs I'm assuming outside of the city wall.
 This is outside the birthplace of the Virgin Mary in the Christian quarter of the Old City. 

 These are all pictures of inside the building that is in honor of Mary.  Notice the money that people give as a gift in the bottom picture. Also notice how ornate the artwork is in this place!  So pretty!
 My friends Rose and Kate and me in the Old City again. 
 This is inside the walls of the Tower of David Museum.  All of these are reconstructed remnants to how it was thought to look when the building was in use as a fortress.
 On top of the tower of David at the Tower of David Museum.  This is West Jerusalem in the background.
 This is the view of the Old City from on top of the tower.  The gold dome on the right is Dome of the Rock, and the gray domes on the right are the Church of the Holy Seplechre of the Christian church. 
 On top of the tower again with the inside of the fortress in the background.
 Kate, Rose, and me next to a piece of the original gate of the city of Jerusalem from when Herod the Great was the Emperor of Rome and the Romans were ruling the Holy Land. 
 This is a fun little park we found in West Jerusalem.  Those cushions are made out of concrete!  They look very real, and they have imprints in them like people just sat on them. 


  1. Can you see the Jerusalem Center in some of the pictures you posted? I thought I could, but wanted to make sure.

  2. Yes, you can see the Jerusalem Center in the background with its arches in the pictures that show the Tower of David Museum and the picture of the graves by the city wall from the ramparts walk.