I planned our 10 day Israel and Jordan itinerary around my most important criteria: spending two days in Petra. A visit to the Petra Archeological site was high on my travel bucket list and I wanted to have plenty of time to take in this ancient wonder.
A ten day trip to Jordan and Israel was definitely not going to be enough time to see all that these two history rich countries had to offer, but that was all the time we had. So I prioritized what I wanted to see and built my itinerary around this, adding in time to get from one place to another.
Even with just one day in Jerusalem, I was able to see a majority of the historic sights.
On our recent trip to Israel and Jordan, a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage listed city of Old Jerusalem was a high priority. Our schedule allowed for only one day in Jerusalem, but we managed to make the most of our time as we discovered why this city is such a historic location for three of the world’s biggest religions.
Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre is an important religious site for the Christian faith. Tradition holds that the church is built over the site where Jesus was crucified and then buried. There are many chapels and items of religious significance in this church. Here, I was struck by the contrast of pilgrims prostrating themselves over the Stone of Anointing where it is believed that Jesus’ body was prepared for burial, and the Christian orthodox nun standing behind them, looking at her cell phone.
I am sharing my tips for visiting the Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount after my recent trip to Jerusalem so that your visit to this beautiful sight is as easy and memorable as mine was.
Seeing the UNESCO Heritage listed Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem is at the top of many visitor’s wish list, and it was on mine also. In fact, on my recent trip to Jerusalem, I visited the Dome of the Rock twice so that I could get all the photos I wanted.
Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and the rock on top of it is a sacred site to both the Jewish and Islamic faiths. In Judaism, the rock is where Abraham was preparing to sacrifice his son Isaac. For Muslims it is the location from which Muhammed started his journey to heaven. The octagonal Dome of the Rock which sits atop this Foundation Stone was built in 691 CE, though it has been rebuilt a few times since then. Visitors can tour the outside of the Dome of the Rock during non-Muslim prayer times, but cannot go inside unless they are Muslim. Even just seeing the outside, it was a beautiful structure to visit.
One of the excursions on my European Waterways Burgundy Canal cruise was to the UNESCO listed Abbey de Fontenay. The abbey was founded in 1118 by a group of Cistercian monks. On our tour, I leaned that the Cistercian order was established in response to the excesses displayed by the Benedictine monks. The Cistercian’s believed in hard work in a simple, austere environment and they built this large abbey to insure that they would be self-sufficient. Much of the original abbey architecture remains to this day, including the cloisters seen in this photo.
After 1000 years of history, Our Lady of Notre Dame de Paris still stands strong. She is a little rougher around the edges, but her soul still shines through. The spire and the roof are gone but the site looks remarkably clean. For the time being, you can only admire her from afar. Unlike my previous visits, there was no revelry as people stood to watch and take photos. There was a quiet worshipful reverence as tourists continued to admire this historic Paris icon.
You’ll see Whirling Dervish performances advertised throughout Istanbul, offering an evening of entertainment. But for an authentic experience, I chose to attend a true Mevlevi religious ritual at the Galata Dervish Monastery.
To step through the door into Hagia Irene in Istanbul is to step through a time portal back to fourth century Constantinople. Before the more famous Hagia Sofia was built, Hagia Irene served as the main church for the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Hagia Irene also served as a model for the construction of the Hagia Sofia next door.