field trips

George and the Armenian Quarter

Last week we had the honor to get to know George – a very open, warm-hearted and friendly man. George met us at the entrance to the Armenian quarter of the Old City. He had been living most of his life in Jerusalem and welcomed us to his quarter. George I have never been there consciously before and only had walked through the area a few times – therefore I was curious to hear about its history.
We learned that since the 4th century A.D. Armenians have been living in Jerusalem, which I find quite remarkable. In the beginning, Christian monks from Armenia had settled in Jerusalem after their country had adopted Christianity as national religion, and until today their religion is considered as a branch of Christianity.
The most impressive building, which forms the heart of the Armenian quarter, is the Cathedral of St. James, and was built in the 12th century. George explained to us that James, the brother of Jesus, is believed to be buried under the main altar of this church.

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field trips

The Mountain

Our trip brought us to a highly controversial place – a place so controversial, that one carefully has to think about what name to choose when referring to it.

A mountain, more of the size of a hill, considered as one of the most holy sites in the eyes of three major religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

What they all have in common is the concept, that this point is some kind of gate between heaven and earth, a place of encounter between God and man.

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field trips

Lifta and Motza and the Jewish-Palestinian conflict

Lifta (or „Naphtoach“)

On the way to our first destination „Lifta“ on early Friday morning, we stopped on the side of a back road. What we saw were the leftovers of some old walls, and the vegetation told us that it was an abandoned place – nobody seemed to take care of it now.
Yet in my mind I imagined the beautiful fruit orchards and olive growths that once made this place so special, gardens and flowers decorating the entrance to this ancient village. The view was quite overwhelming – the green hill on the opposite side, the spacious valley in front of us, in the distance the entrance to Jerusalem. The spirit of this place was still tangible – a peaceful place, a place of abundance and rest.

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