What any tourist should know about visiting the Old City of Jerusalem is that by rising early, one can walk the streets unimpeded by other tourists! Staging photographs is easy when no one is on the streets to get in the way of a pristine shot. Such was the case this morning at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Normally, this landmark is packed with pilgrims. Many wait to enter the aedicule in the center of the church to inspect and reverence the supposed tomb of Christ. This morning, there was no line at all and I was able to capture this wonderful photograph.
Because of the lack of crowds, I actually entered the aedicule myself for the first time in three visits!
The real coup for me, however, was having the entire Upper Room on Mount Zion all to myself. I fully documented this structure with numerous photographs, rephotographing some parts that were marred in earlier compositions by the presence of visitors.
Tomorrow, we will be visiting Mount Zion again and I hope to capture the east wall of the Cenacle structure that stands adjacent a Muslim graveyard. Special permission is required to enter the grounds. If I am fortunate, I will also try to photograph the building from atop the bell tower of the Dormition Abbey next door.
I spent some time also with Mr. Emil Abu-Sa’da, manager of the Dormition Abbey gift shop attempting to interest him in stocking my book on the Upper Room which is only next door to the Abbey. I gave a copy to Emil and he seemed very pleased and eager to read it.
The rest of the day was spent walking the Muristan in the Christian Quarter. I visited and photographed a number of attractions including the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer and the Alexander Nevsky Church. In the latter is an arch from the time of the Roman emperor Hadrian (early 2nd century C.E.) which was unearthed beneath the church.
Tonight will be spent in the company of a resident family enjoying a Sabbath dinner. Sabbath starts at sundown on Friday. I am in charge of bringing the wine!