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Old 01-04-2006, 10:03 PM   #1
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The Waqf Islamic Endowment provided a group of us with a special free tour of the Al-Aqsa grounds which is currently off-limits to non-Muslims; we were on the third tour group Shabat 30 July 2005.


The tour was to meet here at the Lion's Gate, on the far eastern wall of the Old City.


It's called the Lion's Gate cause...uh...of the lions. Heh.


A sign outside the gate.


Outside the Al-Aqsa grounds, the tour started the trek toward the Dome...it took quite a while, and was further than I figured it would be. After the tour, this area would be bustling with vendors selling their wares to people who returned from prayers.


These are the gates of Al-Aqsa grounds; the grounds are vast and lush with olive trees, full of people going to pray and study the Koran at the mosques on top of the hill.


The path around to one of the four gates of the hill.


Climbing stairs, we reached the Eastern Gate, and the Dome of the Rock. This building is MASSIVE - the gate was probably 100 meters from the building itself, so that gives one an idea just how large a structure it is. The building in front of it is the smaller building erected as a model for the larger one.


Directly behind us is the Mount of Olives, the location the Bible speaks of as the location of the Second Coming.


The South gate; its distance should give you an idea of the monolithic size of the Aqsa Grounds.


The Northern Gate which leads to Al-Aqsa Mosque.

(next post)
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Old 01-04-2006, 10:06 PM   #2
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The arches of the Eastern Gate.


To the West is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.


A door on the Northern side of the Dome of the Rock. We were walking around to the West to enter the Dome.


God it takes a long time to walk around this building...this is the ceramic design dating at back to at least the 11th century AD.


The entrance to the Dome of the Rock; there were a lot of people entering and leaving, and we had our shoes off at this point.


I have no clue what this says...heh.


The moronic tour guide was rushing us (I really hate tours for that reason) so these pictures really suck, sorry...this is underneath the Rock where Prophet Mohammad was said to have prayed before ascending into heaven. I wasn't allowed to take a picture of the place where he was said to pray exactly since it would offend the worshippers. Go figure.


Writing on the entrance to the cave...again, clueless what it means


I have absolutely no clue what this is, but it looks cool... :D

...still being rushed by our trusty tour guide Osama bin Tourmaster, we left and walked to Al-Aqsa Mosque toward the North.


This is a shrine of some sort - I bloody wish I could read arabic script...

(next post!)
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Old 01-04-2006, 10:08 PM   #3
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This was next to the Northern gate, but attempting to get an explanation from the guide was too difficult.


The Al-Aqsa Mosque from the outside; one of the most conservative mosques in Islam, this Mosque was the first Qiblah, or direction of prayers, before the construction of the Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina. They realized that since they're a new religion, they probably need a new holy city to distinguish themselves, so they chose Mecca. Al-Aqsa is the first mosque ever constructed.


Turning around and facing the Northern Gate - on the top of the northern gate is the famous sun-dial, angled to be accurate to within a few seconds of the time of day.


A closeup of the sundial.


The outside of the Al-Aqsa Mosque..we didn't really have a chance to take pictures inside.


Writing on the outside of the Al-Aqsa Mosque...don't know what it says, of course.


Viewed from the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one can see how the smaller building in front of the Dome of the Rock acted as a model for the construction of the Dome.


Leaving the grounds, I snapped a picture of the Dome through the olive trees on the outer area.

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Old 01-04-2006, 10:11 PM   #4
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Oh and mods...please bump this over to Random Photos whenever you get a chance since I can't start a thread over in that forum. Thanks!!
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Old 01-08-2006, 09:00 AM   #5
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Awesome pics man!

Nicely done!
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Old 01-08-2006, 11:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by goyincognito@Jan 4 2006, 09:11 PM
Oh and mods...please bump this over to Random Photos whenever you get a chance since I can't start a thread over in that forum.* * Thanks!!*
[snapback]96653[/snapback]
Might actually be easier to simply create an album in the galery in the future...and then you can make a post and put a link to the album. It just easier to view that way Awesome pics btw
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Old 01-09-2006, 01:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by kingcrazylegs@Jan 8 2006, 08:57 PM
Might actually be easier to simply create an album in the galery in the future...and then you can make a post and put a link to the album.* It just easier to view that way Awesome pics btw
[snapback]97343[/snapback]
Thanks for the comment The reason I posted them this way is that well before I post them here I build a livejournal post and then copy it into notepad and make a few changes to make it a standalone HTML file that I then email to my friends and family back in the states and to any friends that I make along the way (the list grows ever larger with each trip ). I figured it was just plain easier to post it here straight off the HTML file since it's a maximum 15-20 second edit in Wordpad to get it working on the boards, and my Craptop likes to give me a big when I try to upload in the gallery sometimes (I tried it with my Petra pics). Good old Middle Eastern internet

But to avoid any potential problems I'll try the gallery way next time.
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Old 01-09-2006, 10:33 AM   #8
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Absolutely breathtakingly beautiful, man.

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