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The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918

The Walled City

page 11

The Walled City.

The old and the new towns of Jerusalem are distinctive in many ways. The old is inside the wall, where the Eastern character has been for the most part maintained. Outside, a new town has grown, of greater area, and altogether European in appearance; it begins at the railway station three-quarters of a mile from the south-west corner of the City walls, spreading westerly and northerly to the American Colony suburb, about a mile north from the north-east corner. Thus, a visitor approaching the City from the railway or Jaffa road, having a mental idea of the appearance of Jerusalem drawn from Sunday school pictures of the "invincible walls", will, more than likely, be greatly disappointed.

Ancient Jerusalem stood on two nearly parallel hills running north and south, the western Hill being separated from the eastern by the Tyropean Valley, which runs through the City from Damascus Gate almost due south to the Pool of Siloam. To the east of the City, and separating it from the Mount of Olives, is the Valley of Jehos-aphat or Kedron, and on the west lies the Valley of Hinnom. These valleys, converging and meeting by the Pool of Siloam, continue to the Dead Sea as the Wadi En Nar or Valley of Fire. A tour of the walls is commenced with the western, wherein is the main entrance to the City, the Jaffa Gate.by the Clock Tower. The Gate itself was closed and a street-wide entrance made in the wall beside it for the entry of the German Emperor, in 1898. To the right of the Gate is the Citadel and Tower of David, where in massive masonry of Herod's time may be Seen; a fine view of Jerusalem is obtained from the summit. The road shown in the photograph (see opposite page) is the one to Bethlehem on which, it is said, the wise men travelled from Jerusalem after their fruitless search there for the "King of the Jews." The wall turns due east on the western hill, the traditional Mount Zion, on which are fine buildings of the Roman Catholic German Church and Convent of Benedictine Monk s. Entrance to the City is by the Zion Gate, as it is generally called, but known to the Arabs as the Gate of the Prophet David. Adjoining the other buildings is the Tomb of David, held in highest estimation by the Moslems. Here are also shown the "Upper Chamber", where the Last Supoer is said to have been held, the stone on which the Disciples are supposed to have sat whilst the Lord washed their feet, and other relics. There are also Protestant and Armenian cemeteries.; in the latter is the spot where Pater stood when he denied Christ.

Continuing along the outside of, the southern wall, fine views of the various valleys are obtained. From the "Dung Gate" one look down into the Tyropean Valley, where excavations have disclosed the remains of buildings at a depth of 70 feet. The track leads to the southeast corner of the wall; far below are the rock tombs of Zaccharias, St. James, and Absalom. Strictly speaking, the wall of the City proper is between theCity and the Temple area—the latter is roughly 1500 by 1ooo feet. Immediately round the corner from the last scene is a Moslem ce-metry, under the eastern wall, and southwards lie the Mount of Offence and the outskirts of the village of Siloam. The built-up Golden Gate, or Gate Beautiful, is passed—a one time entrance to the Temple area. A little further along is St. Stephen's Gate, called by the Arabs The Gate of Our Lady Mary, doubtless because the road through it leads to the Virgin's Tomb. From here a splendid view of the Kedron Valley, across the Mount of Olives, is obtained. The Garden of Gethsemane, and the grounds of the Russian Church immediately above, combined with the large Jews' cemetery area, covered with flat tombstones, make a striking scene. A little to the north of the Gate is the "Pool of Our Lady Mary", and between the Moslem tombs and the wall is a small cultivation area up to near'the north-east corner of the wall, where the Jericho road is joined. Continuing west

Herod's Gate also known as Flowery Gate, is passed. The Skull Hill of Calvary above Jeremiah Grotto is close by; on the right and adjacent to the Grotto is the traditional "Place of Stoning" of St. Stephen. It has been suggested that there is a connection between the stoning and such a precipice as occurs here. The condemned person, it is said, was brought up to the brow of the hill, his hands were tied behind his back, and he was stationed on the brink with his face towards the precipice. The Chief witness then gave him a push which sent him headlong to the rocky floor below; but to ensure his death, the witnesses would proceed then to throw heavy blocks of stone upon him from the brow of the hill. Evidently there was some "Kultur" in those days also. Facing the Grotto is seen, at the foot of the City wall, the entrance to the curious caverns known as "Solomon's Quarries". Passages from these go right under the City and lately, it has been said, one person came out near the Pool of Siloam, which is supplied by an artificial tunnel. It is supposed that the stone for Solomon's Temple and enclosure were hewn in these underground chambers, and conveyed to their destination by openings now closed by debris. The stones were dressed in the quarries, which accounts for the fact that "there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was in building" (I. Kings VI-7.) The marks of masons' tools and niches for lamps still remain.

The Damascus Gate stands on the side of an original gate, the crown of the archway of an earlier gateway being visible inside the present one. Owing to the accumulation of debris arising from seiges during the Roman and later periods, the difference in roadway level here is from 15 to 20 feet, as proved by excavations. This gate is the most striking of any, and at times is thronged with a queer mixture of traffic, wending its way to and from the packed, narrow bazaar lanes inside. The grade to the New Gate is fairly steep. European Jerusalem abuts on to the road at Damascus Gate, finally nestling on the walls at the northwest corner, where the visitors joins the Jaffa Road and finishes the circuit of the City to Jaffa Gate in the busy traffic of a closely lined street of all sorts of shops, kept by all sorts of people.