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Janaline's World Journey “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”

Morning spent Exploring the Old City of Jerusalem

ISRAEL | Monday, 4 March 2013 | Views [836]

The Bell Tower of the Domica Cathedral

The Bell Tower of the Domica Cathedral

Walking through the Old city towards Zion’s Gate

Small church I found on my way to Zion’s Gate

Small church I found on my way to Zion’s Gate

It was Tuesday 27 December, day 4 of my Israel Adventure and so far it had been stunning, filled with great people and extraordinary places to see.

 Entrance to the Tower of David Museum

Walking through the Old city towards Zion’s Gate

I started my day early and walked from New Gate down to Zion’s Gate where I exited the old city to go to David’s Tomb and the room of the Last Supper.

The roofs above Davids Tomb

Entrance to King David’s Tomb

King David's Tomb is a site traditionally viewed as the burial place of David, King of Israel. It is located near the Hagia Maria Sion Abbey. The tomb is situated in a ground floor corner of the remains of the former Hagia Zion, a Byzantine church.

 Inside he Last Supper Room

The Last Supper Room

The Last Supper Room is an attractive, mostly empty rectangular room with pillars and a groin-vaulted ceiling. The capitals on the pillars are mainly 12th-century and Gothic in style. There are traces of 14th-century paint on the wall just inside to the right of the door. The east end originally had an altar and choir, but these were destroyed when the dome was built over the Tomb of David in the lower level.

 Entrance to The Last Supper Room

Windows of The Last Supper Room

I ended up in the magnificent Domica Cathedral which is located on Mount Zion, southwest of the Old City and it immortalizes the deep sleep of Mary, mother of Jesus. "Dormitio" in Latin means "to sleep".

Seller in front of the church

Walking around the Hagia Maria Sion Abbey

This Cathedral commemorates the memory of Virgin Mary, in the traditional site of her death (the name means "Eternal sleep").

Going up the stairs next to the Last Supper room

Entering the Domica Cathedral

 Heading towards the Domica Cathedral

Domica Cathedral

The church was first built in the fourth century and called "Hagia Zion" (Holy Zion) but since then it has undergone many periods of destruction and renovation by the various rulers of Jerusalem. The church as it stands today was built in the neo-Romanesque style of the Middle Ages and was inaugurated in 1910.

The towers of the Hagia Maria Sion Abbey

It is maintained by the German Benedictine Order and is decorated in the style of many churches in the Christian world, with mosaics showing figures from the Old and New Testaments and paintings of a variety of saints.

 The beauty and grand design of the church is very impressive as I approached it from the alley that leads from the Zion gate.

 Domica Cathedral

Up close to the Domica Cathedral

The Domica Cathedral

Once inside my eyes were drawn to the painted ceiling, decorated walls and even the floor. The floor is decorated with the symbols of the Zodiac, names of Prophets, and a verse from Proverbs (8, 23-25) written on its circumference.

Inside the Domica Cathedral 

Inside the church are two spiral staircases that lead down to the crypt. The crypt is a round pillared room, which is located in a level under the church. In the center of the crypt, surrounded by six pillars, is a sculpture of Mary's deathbed, made of ivory and cherry wood.  Visitors light up candles before the sculpture. While I was down there a priest conducted a service, it was beautiful to sit and listen to.

On the ceiling of the crypt above Mary are Jesus (in the center) surrounded by famous Biblical women figures: Eve, Esther, Ruth, Yael, Judith and Mary sister of Moses, they are here to honor Mary. 

Walls of the Domica Cathedral

I bought myself a beautiful mother of pearl rosary here as it will have special memories attached with my visit to this extraordinary church.

 The Bell Tower of the Domica Cathedral

The Bell tower of this church is crowned with a sign of the cock, similar to the Gallicantu church. The Biblical text (Mark 14: 26-72) describes the story of Peters' triple denial of Christ and the cock crowing twice, which happened on MountZion.

  The story is as follows: Jesus was sitting with his disciples before his arrest, and doubted their loyalty.  Peter declared that he will not be among them, but Jesus predicted that within that night, even before the 2nd crow of the cock, Peter will deny him 3 times. This is exactly what has happened, as Peter found out himself.

This beautiful gate is just opposite the Domica Cathedral

Tags: church, david’s tomb, domica cathedral, hagia maria sion abbey, israel, jerusalem, photography, the last supper, travel

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