BC: DEPARTED | ISRAEL | 14 August 2012
FC: Israe | Israel, Jordan August 2012
1: Israel | Israel | ARRIVED 1 AUG 2012 | The adventure starts in Tel Aviv - the second most populous city in Israel. Tel Aviv is located on the Mediterranean coastline and was founded in 1909. | Top: Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv Israel Bottom: Mediterranean at sunset. | Every tree or plant in Tel Aviv is attached directly to a tube of water.
2: Wedding of Guy and Ela | The wedding took place on August 2, 2012 at a banquet hall just outside Tel Aviv. Invitation by Guy's parents Ilya and Tolik with whom we stayed the first week of our trip, served as purpose of our visit. In Jewish wedding ceremony, chuppah (a cloth stretched or supported over four poles) symbolizes the home that the couple will build together.
4: Left page: Both of us and Sashka's sister Raya chilling at a nice seafood restaurant Raya invited us to on the first night in Tel Aviv. So much dreamed and talked about before we finally met in Israel on Raya's side! Right page: Old and New Tel Aviv - Middle Eastern bazaar, cafés and port.
6: Left page: (from left to right) Sashka, Tolik, Ilya, Olesya and Marina outside of Tolik & Ilya's apartment building. Right page: Sashka & Raya at the Mediterranean Sea beach. Two bottom pictures are Mediterranean Sea in daylight and at sunset. The term Mediterranean derives from the Latin word mediterraneus, meaning "in the middle of earth" or "between lands" (medius, "middle, between" + terra, "land, earth"): as it is between the continents of Africa, Asia and Europe.
8: Tel Aviv Port is a commercial and entertainment district in northwest Tel Aviv, Israel along the Mediterranean Sea. The port was opened on February 23, 1938 and closed on October 25, 1965 when its operations moved to the Ashdod Port. In recent years, it underwent a major restoration program and is now a popular attraction in Tel Aviv. In 2011, it was announced that the site would be developed to become a major tourist site with recreational and cultural venues similar to Times Square. Top pictures are family and Tel Aviv sightseeing.
9: Sashka and Raya exploring Old Tel Aviv.
10: Jerusalem | is the capital of Israel. It is Israel's largest city in both population and area and is also a holy city to the three major Abrahamic religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Left page: the Temple Mount landscape view from the Mount of Olives, and (bottom) the Western Gates to the Old City. Right page: (top row) view on Jerusalem outside the Old City and excavations inside the Old City. (middle row) ancient olives in the Garden of Gethsemane, parked camel and a view of the wall surrounding the Old City. (bottom row) view of Al Aqsa Mosque and The Church of the Holy Sepulchre (left pic), and the Russian Orthodox Church of Maria Magdalene next to the Church of All Nations (right pic).
12: The church was designed by Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi and is currently held in trust by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. | Countries donated to the reconstruction of the Church from 1919 through 1924 are Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The mosaics in the apses were donated by Ireland, Hungary, and Poland. The crown around the bedrock itself was a gift of Australia.
13: The Church of All Nations The Church of All Nations, also known as the Church or Basilica of the Agony, is a Roman Catholic church located on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, next to the Garden of Gethsemane. The current church rests on the foundations of two earlier ones, that of a small 12th century Crusader chapel abandoned in 1345, and a 4th century Byzantine basilica, destroyed by an earthquake in 746. | The bedrock where Jesus is believed to have prayed before his arrest. | A fragment of the original mosaic.
14: Church of the Sepulchre of Saint Mary | The interior of the sarcophagus of the Tomb of Saint Mary. | Staircase of 47 steps leading from the entrance down into the tomb. | JERUSALEM
15: Church of the Sepulchre of Saint Mary, also Tomb of the Virgin Mary, refers to a Christian tomb in the Kidron Valley, at the foot of Mount of Olives, in Jerusalem, Israel believed by Eastern Christians to be the burial place of Mary, the mother of Jesus | The tomb of Mary on the east side of the church
17: The Western Wall also known as Wailing Wall or Kotel is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount. It is a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple's courtyard, and is the most sacred site recognized by the Jewish faith outside of the Temple Mount itself. Just over half the wall, including its 17 courses located below street level, dates from the end of the Second Temple period, commonly believed to have been constructed around 19 BCE by Herod the Great, but recent excavations indicate that the works were not finished during Herod's lifetime. The remaining layers were added from the 7th century onwards.
18: The Alexander Podvorie is located next to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and was acquired by the Russian Emperor Alexander III in 1859. It was served as the residency of the Emperor and the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society which was founded in 1882. | St. Alexander Nevsky Chapel | The Tsar Room | Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna | Emperor Alexander III
19: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre also called the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, or the Church of the Resurrection, is venerated as Golgotha (the Hill of Calvary), where Jesus was crucified, and is said also to contain the place where Jesus was buried (the Sepulchre). | The entrance. | The Rock of Calvary under glass. | The Stone of Anointing. | Golgotha altar.
21: Mamilla Street is the most upscale neighborhood outside the Old City of Jerusalem, west of the Jaffa Gate. | King David monument.
22: The Golan Heights borders Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. The region supplies Israel with one-third of its water. Internationally recognized as Syrian territory, the Golan Heights has been occupied and administered by Israel since 1967.
24: Banyas waterfall. | Excavations of the Greek Sanctuary of God Pan.
25: The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias, is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth. Many of Jesus miracles are said to have occurred here including his walking on water, calming the storm, the disciples and the boatload of fish, and his feeding five thousand people.
26: Bahai Gardens or the Terraces of the Bahá'í Faith, also known as the Hanging Gardens of Haifa, are garden terraces around the Shrine of the Báb on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel. The Bahá’í Faith is a religion which was born in Iran in 19th century and is based on the teachings of two prophets. Among other things, the religion forbids violence and holy war (jihad), recognizes the equality of women and encourages science and education.
27: The view on the Port in Haifa from Bahai Gardens' balcony
28: Jezzar Pasha Mosque | AKKO | The Jezzar Pasha Mosque, also known as the white mosque, located inside the walls of old city of Acre (Akko), overlooking eastern Mediterranean Sea, and named after the Bosnian Ottoman governor Ahmed al-Jezzar (the butcher) Pasha.
29: ZIKHRON or Zikhron Ya'akov located at the southern end of the Carmel mountain range overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. It was one of the first Jewish settlements of Halutzim in the country, founded in 1882 by Baron Edmond James de Rothschild and named in honor of his father. | First synagogue in Zikhron.
30: The Dead Sea | SOUTH OF ISRAEL | Room view | View at the Dead Sea is absolutely surreal. Pure blue endless sky is fully reflected in the Sea like in the mirror. Sea and surrounding desert are beautifully dead - no clouds, no wind, no movement - just an inconceivable heat collapsing in its entirety on our sinful earth. Jordan is on another side.
31: THE DEAD SEA (left page) is Earth's lowest elevation on land (423 meters below sea level) and is the deepest hypersaline lake in the world with 33.7% salinity, which 8.6 times saltier than the ocean. It was a place of refuge for King David and one of the world's first health resorts for Herod the Great and Cleopatra, and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from balms for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizers. | An ibex | Walking around Timna Park. | TIMNA VALLEY (right page) served as copper mines for Egyptians and later Midianites from the Late Neolithic period to the Middle Ages, since 5 millennium BCE. Today Timna Park attracts nature lovers with its red colored rare stone formations and sand uniquely created by wind and water. The landscape reminded us of what we know about Mars.
32: MASADA is an ancient fortress built by Herod the Great between 37 and 31 BCE, who chose this site as a refuge against his enemies, and as a winter palace. After his death in 4 BCE and the annexation of Judea to the Roman Empire in 6 CE, the Romans stationed a garrison at Masada. During the Great Revolt of the Jews against the Romans, the rebels conquered Masada in 66 CE. The Siege of Masada by the Romans ended in the mass suicide of the 960 Jewish rebels in 73 or 74 CE. | Masada is located on top of an isolated rock plateau on the eastern edge of Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea, between Ein Gedi and Sodom. It's around eight in the morning, and the sun is at full rise. It's getting extremely hot, time to start descent. | The Roman legion, consisting of 8000 troops, built eight camps around the base, a siege wall and a ramp. Perimeter on the picture designates one of the camps. | Observation point at the Northern Palace | Rising sun on top of Masada, around seven in the morning. | Masada fortress original mock up.
33: The story of Masada was recorded by Josephus Flavius, who was the commander of the Galilee during the Great Revolt and later surrendered to the Romans at Yodfat. "Then, having chosen by lot ten of their number to dispatch the rest, they laid themselves down each beside his prostrate wife and children, and, flinging their arms around them, offered their throats in readiness for the executants of the melancholy office. These, having unswervingly slaughtered all, ordained the same rule of the lot for one another..." (Josephus Flavius, The Wars of the Jews, VII, 395-406) Two women and and five children who had been hiding in the cisterns of water, told the Romans what had happened that night.
34: Eilat and the Red Sea Eilat is a popular resort city located at the northern tip of the Red Sea, on the Gulf of Aqaba. It is part of the Southern Negev Desert, at the southern end of the Arava. Eilat's arid desert climate and low humidity is moderated by an absolutely amazing refreshing chilly Red Sea. The Red Sea is famous for its enchanting marine life and corals. Scuba divers all over the world are coming there to see it. | Marina view from our room. | View at the Jordanian flag and the port city Aqaba to the East. Within sight are also Egypt to the South and Saudi Arabia to the South-East.
36: PETRA established possibly as early as 312 BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans - the tribe which grew into a kingdom. At its flourishing Petra developed a population estimated at 20,000 and became a cosmopolitan place. The city was lost until 1812, when the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt found it. Al Khazneh or "The Treasury" shown on the picture is one of the most elaborate temples in Petra. Al Khazneh was filmed in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, in which it is represented as the entrance to the final resting place of the Holy Grail near Hatay. Many of the building's architectural details have eroded away during the two thousand years since it was carved and sculpted from the cliff. The sculptures are thought to be those of various mythological figures associated with the afterlife. On top are figures of four eagles that would carry away the souls. The figures on the upper level are dancing Amazons with double-axes. The entrance is flanked by statues of the twins Castor and Pollux who lived partly on Olympus and partly in the underworld.
37: On the way to the dream place - ancient Jordanian city of Petra. | Rock formation resembling an elephant from one side and a fish from another. | A narrow passage called Siq leading to Petra. | The Nabataean tombs. The Nabataean style starts from the simple pylon-tomb with a door set in a tower crowned by a parapet ornament, in imitation of the front of a dwelling-house.
38: BONDI BEACH is one of Australia's most famous beaches and among the world's most well-known beaches. The beach is roughly a kilometer long and is located on the east coast of Australia and is a suburb of the city of Sydney. | Urn Tomb supposedly was used as a church after Christianity found its way to Petra in the 4th century AD, nearly 500 years after the establishment of Petra as a trade center. The Nabataean custom reveals burying the dead and offering worship in half-excavated caves.
39: The Theater is located at the foot of the mountain called en-Nejr and is placed such a way as to bring the greatest number of tombs within view. At the point where the valley opens out into the plain the site of the city is revealed with striking effect.