Monday, January 10, 2011

Third Time's The Charm

As it turns out, The Dome of the Rock/Al Aqsa Mosque Plaza is in fact open from 7:30 AM - 10:30 AM Sunday through Thursday to allow visitors to see the plaza. It tooks us three tries to figure this out, but we found the entrance, which is just outside the Kotel Plaza near the archeological park. There was a line that took us a few minutes to wait through to get access to the long bridge that takes you up to the plaza.

When we got to the top, the sights were incredible. The massive plaza extends incredibly far and is full of trees and beautifully designed courtyards. There are tons of ritual washing stations for Muslims to purify themselves before entering the Mosque or the shrine, places that non-Muslims are not allowed to enter.

It was amazing to get close to the Golden Dome. The exterior work is so impressive when you are standing at the base of the building. It was absolutely incredible. I want to understand what the writing means that encircles the building. Unfortunately I don't have the words to describe how amazing the site is. I will have to ask the following pictures to try to do the plaza justice.

When we were asked to leave the plaza before Prayer started, we walked back to the Kotel so Kaitlin could walk down to the wall. I was again frustrated by the fact that I couldn't go to the wall with her. She echoed similar sentiments about not having the space to actually get right up to the wall because the Women's Section is so much smaller than the Men's Section.

After finishing up at the wall, we walked back up the long way towards the Jaffa Gate. Kaitlin was excited to look around the Citadel. For 30 sheckels for an adult, we had an incredible two and a half hour tour through their history exhibit. It was incredible to fly through a lot of the history that I had studied this year. I also felt validated since a lot of the information that I had been telling Kaitlin was elaborated on. She had a great time learning about it.

The view from the top of the tower was incredible! It was a different look at the city and we had it framed for us in the history of the space. A great way to end our time in the Old City.

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