Category Archives: Jerusalem

Day Tour Jerusalem

For costs, questions, queries and other related information, click here.

This tour is for any visitors to Jerusalem (or locals). This tour will bring you to all the important and well-known touristic sights the Jerusalem has to offer. The tour is designed for the individual, as for groups, with or without a professional guide.

In this itinerary are always alternatives and added sights. Click on More Info or Things to do behind the sigh. Restaurants in the neighborhood of the sights are available in this itinerary each day. Click on Restaurants.

Click here for the day tour map.

  1. Jaffa Gate at the Tourist information boot (tour starts here)
  2. Tower of David
  3. Qishle – police headquarters and prison during Ottoman times
  4. St. James Cathedral Church
  5. Zion Gate
  6. King David’s tomb
  7. Mount Zion
  8. Dormition Abbey

BREAK

  1. The Western Wall Excavations
  2. The Davidson Center
  3. City of David
  4. Gihon Spring
  5. Hezekiah’s and Siloam Tunnels
  6. Zecharias’ Tomb
  7. Church of the Assumption (Mary’s Tomb)
  8. Lions’ Gate
  9. Church convictionRestaurants.

BREAK

  1. Church of St. Mary of agony
  2. VIA DOLOROSA
  3. The Ethiopian PatriarchateRestaurants.
  4. Church of the Holy Sepulchre
  5. Old City Bazaar
  6. Lutheran Church of the Redeemer
  7. Church of St. John the Baptist
  8. Cardo

BREAK

  1. Burnt House
  2. Western wall
  3. Al-Aqsa Mosque
  4. Temple Mount
  5. Dome of the Rock (tour ends here) – Restaurants.

The Foundation Stone of the World

The Foundation Stone is the name of the rock at the heart of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Jews traditionally face it while praying, in the belief that it was the location of the Holy of Holies in the Temple. Muslims believe that angels visited the site 2,000 years before the creation of Adam, the place to which Muhammad traveled in the Night Journey and it’s the place where Israfel, the angel of the trumpet, will sound his horn on Resurrection Day. Map.

Foundation Stone
Foundation Stone

Many sages from the Talmud were mentioned about the Foundation Stone.

  • God took the Foundation Stone and threw it into the depths and from it the world expanded. It’s the center point of the world and the first part of the Earth to come into existence.
  • Also it was close to the Foundation Stone, that God gathered the earth and created Adam.
  • It was on this rock that Adam—and later Cain, Abel, and Noah—offered sacrifices to God.
  • Jewish sources identify this rock as the place mentioned in the Bible where Abraham fulfilled God’s test to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac.
  • It is also identified as the rock upon which Jacob dreamt about angels ascending and descending on a ladder and consequently consecrating and offering a sacrifice upon.
  • When (according to the Bible) King David purchased a threshing floor owned by Araunah the Jebusite (Canaanites), it is believed that it was upon this rock that he offered the sacrifice mentioned in the verse.
  • He wanted to construct a permanent temple there, but as his hands were “bloodied”, he was forbidden to do so himself. The task was left to his son Solomon, who completed the Temple in c. 950 BCE.
  • Situated inside the Holy of Holies, this was the rock upon which the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the First Temple.
  • During the Second Temple period when the Ark of the Covenant was not present, the stone was used by the High Priest who offered up the incense and sprinkled the blood of the sacrifices on it during the Yom Kippur service.
Foundation Stone
Foundation Stone

The rock itself is 90-million-year-old and quite different compared with rocks surrounding it. The southern side of the Foundation Stone forms a ledge, with a gap between it and the surrounding ground; a set of steps currently uses this gap to provide access from the Dome of the Rock to the Well of Souls beneath it.

Foundation Stone
Foundation Stone

The rock has several human-made cuts in its surface, created by the Crusaders. Flat sections on the stone indicates foundation trenches on top of which the walls of the original temple were laid.

Foundation Stone
Foundation Stone

The Mysterious Well of Souls, the Holy of Holies

The Well of Souls is a partly natural, partly man-made cave located inside the Foundation Stone under the Dome of the Rock shrine in Jerusalem. For Muslims, the spirits of the dead can be heard awaiting Judgment Day. For Christians, the site is known as the Holy of Holies and is venerated as a possible “site of the annunciation of John the Baptist”. The Well of Souls has also other names: Pit of SoulsCave of Spirits, and Well of Spirits in Islam.

There was never an archeological investigation because of political and diplomatic sensitivities. And that means that the mystery only gets more mystified!

Well of Souls
Well of Souls

For Christian Pilgrims it’s one of the places to visit. It’s not for nothing the Holy of Holies. It’s also the place covered in mysteries …

The Well of Souls, located on Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, may contain the fabled and elusive Ark of the Covenant. This is the sacred vessel that, according to biblical account, contained the original Ten Commandments tablets that God gave to Moses at Mount Sinai as the ancient Israelites wandered the desert.

The Well of Souls is purportedly located below a natural cave under the rock upon which Jewish tradition says Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. Islamic tradition indicates Muhammad ascended to heaven from this same stone.

No one knows with absolute certainty whether the Well of Souls—or the Ark of the Covenant—actually exists. Though knocking on the floor of the cave under the Muslim Dome of the Rock shrine elicits a resounding hollow echo, no one has ever seen this alleged chamber. The Temple Mount itself is rife with a network of some 45 cisterns, chambers, tunnels, and caves.

Well of Souls
Well of Souls

There has never been any proper archaeological exploration of the site, which is under control of the Waqf Muslim religious trust.

The famed 19th-century British explorers Charles Wilson and Sir Charles Warren could neither prove nor disprove the existence of a hollow chamber below the cave. They believed the sound reportedly heard by visitors was simply an echo in a small fissure beneath the floor.

Well of Souls
Well of Souls

Shimon Gibson, senior fellow at the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, published a definitive review together with colleague David Jacobson called Below the Temple Mount in Jerusalem: A Sourcebook on the Cisterns, Subterranean Chambers and Conduits of the Haram Al-Sharif. “Since the 19th century, no Westerner has been allowed access to the subterranean chambers on the Temple Mount,” Gibson said.

The Temple Mount and the natural cave below the Dome of the Rock are periodically open to tourists, depending upon the local security and political situation.

History

Well of Souls
Well of Souls

Both Jewish and Muslim traditions relate to what may lie beneath the Foundation Stone, the earliest of them found in the Talmud in the former and understood to date to the 12th and 13th centuries in the latter.

The Talmud indicates that the Stone marks the center of the world and serves as a cover for the Abyss containing the raging waters of the Flood.

Muslim tradition likewise places it at the center of the world and over a bottomless pit with the flowing waters of Paradise underneath. A palm tree is said to grow out of the River of Paradise here to support the Stone.

Noah is said to have landed here after the Flood. The souls of the dead are said to be audible here as they await the Last Judgment.

Well of Souls
Well of Souls

The Crusaders recaptured Jerusalem in 1099 and converted the Dome of the Rock into a church, calling it the Templum Domini, or the Temple of the Lord.

They were cutting away much of the rock to make staircases and paving the Stone over with marble slabs. They enlarged the main entrance of the cave and probably are also responsible for creating the shaft ascending from the center of the chamber. The Crusaders called the cave the “Holy of Holies” and venerated it as the site of the announcement of John the Baptist’s birth.


Reference

  • The earliest reference to a “pierced rock” (the shaft in the cave’s roof) may be that in the Itinerarium Burdigalense by the anonymous “Pilgrim of Bordeaux” who visited Jerusalem in 333 AD.
  • References to the “Well of Souls” under the Foundation Stone date back at least to the 10th-century Persian writer Ibn al-Faqih who mentions it as an Islamic sacred site.
  • The 11th-century Persian writer and traveler Nasir-i Khusraw related the traditional story of the origin of the cave in his classic travelogue Safarnama:

They say that on the night of his Ascension into heaven, the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, prayed first at the Dome of the Rock, laying his hand upon the Rock. As he went out, the Rock, to do him honor, rose up, but he laid his hand on it to keep it in its place and firmly fixed it there. But by reason of this rising up, it is even to this present day partly detached from the ground beneath.

  • The 16th-century rabbi David ben Solomon ibn Abi Zimra attested to the existence of a cave found under the Dome of the Rock and known as the “Well of Souls”.
  • The definitive modern review of the Well of Souls, along with other underground openings beneath the Temple Mount, is in Shimon Gibson and David Jacobson’s Below the Temple Mount in Jerusalem: A Sourcebook on the Cisterns, Subterranean Chambers and Conduits of the Haram Al-Sharif.

 

Orthodox Services in Jerusalem AND Bethlehem

KEY: (W) = Winter (S) = Summer

Armenian

Church Sundays Weekdays
St.James Cathedral
Armenian Orth. Patr. Rd.
Tel: 02-6282331
6.30 am Morning Prayer
8.30 am Liturgy twice a month
3.00 pm Vespers
6.30 am Morning Prayer
3.00 pm Vespers
8.00 am Liturgy Sat.
Holy Sepulchre
Tel: 02-6284347
8.45 am Liturgy (W) twice a month
9.45 am Liturgy (S) twice a month
4.15 pm Procession (W)
5.15 pm Procession (S)
3.30 am Liturgy (W)
4.30 am Liturgy (S)
4.15 pm Procession Fri.+ Sat.(W)
5.15 pm Procession Fri.+ Sat. (S)
Tomb of Mary, Gethsemane
Tel: 02-6284054
Phone before Phone before
Nativity Bethlehem
Rel: 02-2742410
9.00 am Liturgy (W) – 10.00 am (S) 8.00 am Liturgy (W) – 9.00 am (S)
Coptic

Church Sundays Weekday
St.Anthony Patriarchate (9th Station)
Tel: 02-6272645
5.30 am Liturgy Sat.
St. Mary’s Church 5.30 am Liturgy Mon.
St. Helen’s Church 5.30 am Liturgy Tues.
Tomb of Mary, Gethsemane 7.30 am Liturgy Wed.+ Fri. (W)
8.30 am Liturgy Wed.+ Fri. (S)
Holy Sepulchre 7.00 am Liturgy (W) – 8.00 am (S) 6.00 am Liturgy Wed. + Fri. (W)
7.00 am Liturgy Wed. + Fri. (S)
2.30 pm Vespers Sat. (W)
4.00 pm Vespers Sat. (S)
St.George’s Monastery
Mar Girges Street
5.30 am Liturgy Thurs.
ETHIOPIAN

Church Sundays Weekday
Deir el Habes
8th Station – Tel. 02-6282848
Phone before Phone before
Deir es Sultan
Roof of H. Sepulchre
Tel: 02-6280326
4.00 am Matins (W) – 5.00 am (S)
6.00 am Liturgy (W) – 7.00 am (S)
4.00 pm Vespers (W) – 5.00 pm (S)
4.00 am Matins (W) – 5.00 am (S)
6.00 am Liturgy (not every day) (W)
7.00 am Liturgy (not every day) (S)
4.00 pm Vespers (W) 5.00 pm (S)
Däbrä Gännät Monastery
Ethiopia Street 10
Tel: 02-6286871
4.00 am Matins (W) – 5.00 am (S)
6.00 am Liturgy (W) – 7.00 am (S)
4.00 pm Vespers (W) – 5.00 pm (S)
4.00 am Matins (W) – 5.00 am (S)
6.00 am Liturgy (not every day) (W)
7.00 am Liturgy (not every day) (S)
4.00 pm Vespers (W) – 5.00 pm (S)
SYRIAN

Church Sundays Weekdays
St. Mark’s Church
Tel: 02-6283304
4.00 pm Vespers (W) – 5.00 pm (S) 8.30 am Liturgy Fri. (W) – 9.30 am (S)
4.00 pm Vespers (W) – 5.00 pm (S)
Holy Sepulchre 8.30 am Liturgy (W) – 9.30 am (S)
Tomb of Mary, Gethsemane 8.00 am Liturgy Wed.(W)-7.30 am (S)
Romanian

Church Sundays Weekdays
Shivtei Israel Str. 46
Tel: 02-6264628
8.30 am Liturgy
7.00 pm Vespers
7.00 am Matins – Mon.-Fri.
8.30 am Liturgy Sat.
7.00 pm Vespers
Greek

Church Sundays Weekdays
Holy Sepulchre
Tel: 02-6284202
7.00 am Orthros (W) – 8.00 am (S) 11.00 pm Liturgy (W) – 12.00 mn. (S)
St. James Cathedral
Parvis H. Sepulchre
Tel: 02-6289112
9.30 am Liturgy (W/S) Phone before
St. Constantine Convent
Greek Orth. Patriarchate
Tel: 02-6282048
5.00 am Liturgy (W)
6.00 am Liturgy (S)
5.00 am Liturgy (W)
6.00 am Liturgy (S)
Tomb of Mary, Gethsemane
Tel. 02-6274054
Phone before Phone before
St. Michel Archangel
St. Francis Street
Tel: 02-6276411
Phone before 7.00 am Liturgy Mon. + Sat. (W)
8.00 am Liturgy Mon. + Sat. (S)
St. John the Baptist
Christian Quarter Road
Tel: 02-6436297; Cell. 0544865063
Phone before Phone before
St. Charalambos
Khanqa Road, 8th Station
Mob. 0545832567
Phone before Phone before
St. Nicholas (near the Patriarchate) Will be updated. Will be updated.
St. Spyridion
Jabsheh Road – Cell. 0545670625
Phone before Phone before
St. Catherine, Rusul Street
Cell. 0543487849
Phone before Phone before
St. Theodoros, Casa Nova St.
Cell. 0549759540
Phone before Phone before
St. Anna, St. Stephen’s Gate
Cell. 0544628103
Phone before Phone before
Praetorium, Via Dolorosa
Tel: 02-6281786
Phone before Phone before
Panagia Sydnaya
Sayide Road – Tel: 02-6285356; Cell. 0544364157
Phone before Phone before
St. Efthymios, Rusul Street
Tel. 02-6277121
Phone before Phone before
St. Simeon Katamon
Bnei Betera Street, Tel: 02-6790477
6.00 am Liturgy (W)
7.00 am Liturgy (S)
Phone before
Nativity Bethlehem
Tel: 02-2748649
7.00 am Liturgy (W)
8.00 am Liturgy (S)
6.30 am Liturgy (W)
7.30 am Liturgy (S)
Russian

Church Sundays Weekdays
St. Alexander Nefsky
25, Dabbagha Street, Tel: 02-6274952
Phone before 6.30 am Liturgy Thurs.
St. Mary Magdalene
Gethsemane
Tel: 02-6284371
7.30 am Liturgy (W) – 8.30 am (S)
4.30 pm Vespers (W) – 5.30 pm (S)
6.30 am Liturgy (W) – 7.30 am (S)
4.30 pm Vespers (W) – 5.30 pm (S)
Ascension Convent
Tel: 02-6284373
6.30 am Liturgy (W) – 7.30 am (S)
4.00 pm Vespers (W) – 5.00 pm (S)
6.30 am Liturgy (W) – 7.30 am (S)
4.00 pm Vespers (W) – 5.00 pm (S)
Russian – Moscow Mission

Church Sundays Weekdays
Holy Trinity Cathedral, Russian Compound
Tel: 02-6252565;
Tel: +972 (0)2-6252565, Fax: +972 (0)2-6256325
Cell. +972 (0)54 6857278 (Sr. Ekaterina)
9.00 am Liturgy Saturday 8.00 am Liturgy
5.00 pm Vespers Sat.