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GENERAL ASPECT OF THE CITY. 95
olives here and there, stretch one behind another. They seem to rise gently from the city until the monotony is broken by the low peak of Neby
Samwil, marked by a tower, the ruin of an old convent church, since converted into a mosque.
WALLs of JERUSALEM. [From a Photograph.
“Between these two sides of the picture the Holy City stands, apparently on a square, rocky hill, enclosed in crenelated walls, with here and there a bastion or a zigzag-very quaint and very sad those old walls look, and yet something proudly, too, they stand—while beyond them a long, dull, flat ridge rises slightly towards the west, and two deep narrow ravines sweep round the holy mountain—the one is the Valley of Jehoshaphat, or of the Kedron, commencing from some distance to the north of the city, and running along the eastern side of it to the south. The other is the Valley of Hinnom, coming round from the western side and uniting with the Kedron at the south-east corner, embracing at that point, between them, the spur of Mount Moriah, which is called Ophel. Farthest from us, on the western wall, is the Tower of Hippicus. Near it, to the right, is the Latin convent and the two domes of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. To the left, on Mount Zion, the extensive Armenian Convent, the domes of some new synagogues, the English Church, and the Tomb of David are seen I (the last outside the walls). These are almost the only buildings on which the eye can rest among the confused mass of little brown and white domes and grey walls: nor are any of these seen at first, for the Mosque of Omar, in the famous Harām, the second most beautiful building in all the world, rivets all the spectator's attention. The wall inclosing the mosque occupies more than half the eastern side of the city—in the centre of which stands the mosque, an octagonal building, pierced with seven windows on each side, narrowing above into a small circle also pierced with windows, and surmounted by a most graceful dome, bearing aloft the gilt crescent of Islam ; the whole building is cased entirely in encaustic tiles—chiefly blue, green, purple, and yellow, formed into intricate and delicate arabesques, and so mingled that it is impossible to say whether the building is green or blue. The cornice is replaced by an Arabic inscription in large and prettily interlaced letters. The mosque stands on a marble platform, which is reached by broad flights of steps, and round the edge of which are several groups of slender arches and small houses, while little circular mihrabs, or praying-places, shaded by a light canopy of fretted stone, are dotted over its surface. Round this platform are grassy slopes, with noble cypresses and a few other trees, the bright and dark green of which contrast beautifully with the white and coloured marbles of the buildings.
TOPOGRAPHICAL DIFFICULTIPS. 97
“At the southern end of the inclosure is the mosque of El Aksa, ornamented with a dome and covered by a sloping roof. The Mosque of the Mogharibeh, the college of the Dervishes, and the Serai, the residence of the pasha, stand on the west and north sides—while the whole extent of the eastern side of the city is only broken by St. Stephen's Gate, and the long-closed “Golden Gate,” with its two round arches and small domes.
‘This is the view over which Jesus wept, when He beheld its beauty, and thought upon its ruin and desolation; and strange and thrilling indeed is the feeling it gives to one now : the gloomy ravines lose much of their effect seen from above: the surrounding hills are, one and all, the very dreariest, barrenest, and ugliest one can find anywhere, and yet the whole is beautiful, and even the fastidious and trifling are impressed by it.'
It is when we endeavour to fill in the details of the city itself that our difficulties and perplexities commence. They are caused partly by the vague
and indefinite language of ancient historians and topographers, and partly by the fact that valleys have been filled up, hills have been levelled, and successive cities have arisen upon the ruins of those which have preceded them, thus effacing the landmarks which would otherwise have guided us. Mediaeval and monkish traditions have likewise done much to obscure and pervert the true topography of Jerusalem. Learning and labour have been wasted in the endeavour to defend theories which have nothing in their favour but ecclesiastical authority. Theological controversies have thus been imported into questions which ought to have been discussed only in the light of historical and geographical science. We know from Josephus that the city stood on two hills, divided by the Tyropoean Valley. One of these was Zion, the other Acra. We read likewise of Bezetha, Moriah, and Ophel. Did these last form a separate ridge, or were they names given to parts of one of the former? If so, to
which–Zion or Acra 2 The sketch plan given above shows the conclusion
arrived at by Dr. Robinson, who maintains that there were three separate hills. Other writers of scarcely inferior authority identify the Temple ridge with Zion—others again with Acra. Notwithstanding the confident dogmatism with which each of these views has been maintained, I cannot say that any of them have carried full conviction to my own mind. It is to be hoped that the explorations now in progress may throw some light upon these obscure questions. No less conflicting are the views as to the sites of the SEPULCHRE and of the TEMPLE. Though the Temple claims priority in the order of historical sequence, yet, for reasons which will subsequently appear, we shall first consider the site of the Sepulchre. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre stands in a crowded part of the city, at some distance to the north-west of the Temple area. It is a comparatively modern structure, no visible portion being probably older than the period of the Crusades. It is entered through a courtyard, in which a market is now held for the sale of trinkets, rosaries, pictures and curiosities. Just inside the principal entrance a Turkish guard is stationed to keep order, and repress disturbances amongst the hostile sects and nationalities who visit it. In passing round the church attention is distracted and incredulity excited by the aggregation under one roof of numerous shrines and holy places. Here are shown not only the sites of the crucifixion and the resurrection, but the tombs of Adam, Melchizedek, Joseph of Arimathaea, and of Nicodemus ; the place where our Lord was crowned with thorns, and where He appeared to Mary Magdalene; the pillar to which He was bound during the scourging; the slab upon which His body was laid for the anointing; the spot where He first appeared to His mother after the resurrection; the centre of the