From St Stephen's Gate to the Citadel, Jerusalem
St Stephen's Gate (Lion Gate)
In the northern section of the wall on the east side of the Old City of Jerusalem is St Stephen's Gate, where according to Christian tradition St Stephen suffered martyrdom. It is also known as the Lion Gate after the reliefs of lions on the outside, and in Arabic is called Bab Sitti Maryam, Gate of the Virgin Mary.
Completed in 1142, St Anne's Church is well preserved. It was built of dressed stone and features an austere interior. There are steps leading up to the sanctuary and down to the crypt.
The Pool of Bethesda is noted as the location where Jesus healed a man with infirmity by using the water. It was frequently visited by the sick and crippled for its healing powers.
Antonia Fortress held a commanding location as it was located even higher than Temple Mount. The Ecce Homo Arch is all that remains remain today and a few items housed at the Church of the Sisters of Zion.
Ecce Homo Arch
West from St Stephen's Gate along St Mary's Gate Street in Jersalem, we pass on the right the Chapel of the Flagellation (1927) and the Chapel of the Condemnation, marking the sites of events in Christ's Passion, and come to the Ecce Homo Arch, where, according to an old tradition, Pilate uttered the words "Behold the man!" (John 19,5).
Church of the Sisters of Zion
The Church of the Sisters of Zion (Basilique des Dames de Sion) in Jerusalem contains an explanatory model of the Antonia Fortress. A side arch of the Roman triumphal arch is built into the choir, producing a striking effect. Particularly impressive is a passage in the basement which runs past a large Herodian cistern into the crypt. Here we are on the original ground level: the floor of the crypt is the paving of a court in the Antonia Fortress, the pavement (lithostrotos) referred to in John 19,13. In the pavement are scratches made by Roman soldiers, including a kind of board game. It seems certain that on this pavement Christ stood before Pilate, was condemned, mocked and crowned with the crown of thorns (unless those scholars are right who believe that Pilate resided not in the Antonia Fortress but in the Citadel).
Via Dolorosa is the route taken by Christ to the place of execution. Italian Franciscans now lead a procession here on Friday afternoons.
The Abyssinian Monastery in Jerusalem is built over St Helen's Chapel in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The monks live in separate dwellings which together form a laura (the term for a monastery in the Eastern church). They celebrate the Nativity of Christ on the 24th of every month. The chapels of the monastery contain examples of Abyssinian folk art. We can pass through the Abyssinian Monastery into the forecourt of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, or alternatively we can return to the bazaar street, turn right and then into the first street on the right. In this street, on the right, is the Alexandra Hospice (Russian Orthodox), on a site occupied in the time of Christ by a section of the city wall (the excavations are shown to visitors by the nuns). Opposite are the Church of the Redeemer and the Muristan. Continuing west past the Muristan (on left), we come to a narrow street leading to the forecourt of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is said to be the site where Christ was laid following crucifixion, and the site of his resurrection. The church has long drawn huge numbers of faithful.
The Church of St John the Baptist in Jerusalem was completed in 1170 on the site of a chapel from the 5th century. Roman stones were re-used in the construction of the new building facade.
The Muristan in Jerusalem is reached by turning left off David Street into the street leading to the Church of the Redeemer, which is seen on the left. In 1868 the Sultan presented the eastern part of this area to Crown Prince Frederick William of Prussia, and to secure equal representation the western part was assigned to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. It is now occupied by the Greek bazaar, which specializes in leather goods. In the center of the bazaar area is an ornamental fountain (19th century); at the north end is the Mosque of Omar, built in 1216 to commemorate Caliph Omar's visit to Jerusalem in 638.
Church of the Redeemer
On the eastern edge of the Muristan in Jerusalem is the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer. Consecrated by the German Emperor William II on Reformation Day in 1898, it occupies a site with a long tradition behind it. The ground was presented to Charlemagne by Caliph Haroun el-Rashid and it became the site of the church of St Mary of the Latins, which was destroyed by El-Hakim in 1009 and rebuilt later in the same century. In the course of the centuries it fell into ruin; then in 1868 the site was acquired by Prussia, and in 1893 the foundation stone of a new church was laid. It was designed to perpetuate the old western tradition in the immediate vicinity of the Holy Sepulcher and serve as the spiritual center of Protestantism in the Holy Land. Since then the church and adjoining buildings have been the seat of the Lutheran provostry of Jerusalem.The simple interior was renovated some years ago. To the right of the entrance is the door to the tower, which is well worth climbing for the sake of the views it affords of the Old City and the Mount of Olives. Also of interest is the cloister, which incorporates some medieval architectural elements.
From the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jersalem a stepped lane to the right leads into Christian Quarter Street. At the north end of this street, at the corner of El-Khanqah Street (on right), is the El-Khanqah Mosque, which is believed to have originally been the palace of the Patriarch in Crusader times.
Monastery of Constantine
The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate Street in Jerusalem has the Patriarchate along its right-hand side. Opposite it is the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Constantine, which contains valuable icons. In a small museum in the monastery is the slender sarcophagus, with a decoration of plant ornament and rosettes on the front, of Queen Mariamne, who was murdered by her husband Herod I in 29 B.C. It was brought here from the Herodian family tomb near the King David Hotel, along with another sarcophagus, during the Second World War. To the north of the monastery there once stood the palace occupied by the kings of Jerusalem after they made over their original residence, the El-Aqsa Mosque, to the Templars. Turning left at the end of Christian Quarter Street, we enter the Roman Catholic (Latin) quarter. After passing the Terra Sancta Church (on right) we come, beyond the intersection with a street leading to the New Gate, to the Latin Patriarchate, immediately behind the town walls. From here a series of narrow lanes lead towards David Street, which is reached opposite the Citadel, at the Jaffa Gate.