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Via Dolorosa

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Jerusalem has been fought over by armies of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids, Romans, Byzantines, Persians, Arabs, Seljuks, Crusaders, Mongols, Mamelukes, Turks, British, Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese and Iraqis.

The end of the War of Independence in 1949 found Jerusalem divided, a border running through the city and cutting neighbourhoods, streets, even houses. Even as the fighting raged, the fledgling state of Israel considered Jerusalem its capital. When hostilities ceased, government offices and the parliament transferred to Jerusalem. In this period Israel Museum, Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, Hadassah Medical Centre at Ein Kerem and the Hebrew University Campus at Givat Ram were built.

In June 1967 the city was reunited. Jerusalem, the political and municipal problems notwithstanding, became a single city with Jews, Christians and Muslims, believers and the secular, living side-by-side. Its emblem is the lion of Judea, surrounded by olive branches and today the nations of the entire world consider it their responsibility and obligation to be involved in Jerusalem's politics and destiny.

It is more a city of religion, art, culture and museums than an economically viable regional marketplace or centre of business activity. It thrives in our time as a city full of mystical attractiveness and endless fascination.

The wall that encloses the Old City of Jerusalem was built in the sixteenth century by the Ottoman ruler Suleiman the Magnificent. There were originally seven gates. An eighth, aptly named New Gate, was added in the late 19th century in the wall's northwest sector.

The largest and most splendid of the portals is Damascus Gate on the wall's northern side. It is adjacent to ruins attesting that this has been the site of the city's main entrance since ancient times. It has slits for firing at attackers, thick doors and an opening from which boiling oil could be spilled on assailants below.

The Old City, which measures around a square kilometre, is entered through any of the gates, and within is Via Dolorosa, one of the world's most famous streets, the route Jesus took while carrying the cross to Calvary. There are believed to be fourteen stations of the cross, (some say fifteen) starting with the condemnation of Jesus by Pontius Pilate and ending when he is laid in the tomb from which he rises. It passes through the Christian and Muslim quarters and every day pilgrims follow the Way of the Sorrows.

One of Jerusalem's most conspicuous Roman-Byzantine sites is the Cardo, known as the Street of the Pillars. The wide street was bordered on the west by massive walls and on the east by an arcade. It was built by the Romans over 1800 years ago and goes from one side of the Old City to the other.

Today there are small shops in the vaulted recesses, with thick stone walls along both sides. Centuries ago the shops sold spices, olives and grains. Today they stock a wide variety of merchandise.


Jerusalem, the capital of Israel


Tempo Holidays have four-day packages including three nights' accommodation, full breakfast, two full-day tours and transfers from $398 per person twin share. Brochures are available from all travel agents.

Little House in Bakah bed and breakfast is from $54 per person per night twin share.

Flight Centre has return flights to Jerusalem. Taxes are included and conditions apply.
For sale:
Brisbane/Sydney/Melbourne/Adelaide: until December 31, 2005
Perth: until June 30, 2006
Available for travel: Brisbane/Sydney/Melbourne/Adelaide:
between September 1 and November 30, 2005
Perth: between September 1 and November 15, 2005
January 16 and April 30, 2006.
  • Perth $1918
  • Melbourne $2068
  • Brisbane $2071
  • Sydney $2084
  • Adelaide $2126
    To book call Flight Centre 131 600

    Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.

    More information

    Tempo Holidays
    1/40 Beach Road
    Port Melbourne Vic 3207
    Ph: (03) 9646 0277
    Fax: (03) 9646 6722

    Israel Ministry of Tourism
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