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Rocio's path

Texts and photos: Guillermo Cachero

There are several pilgrimage routes of the  faith  Christian. Jerusalem, Rome, Santiago de Compostela and El Rocio. 

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hen in 1653 Our Lady of Las Rocinas -name by which the image of the Virgin was known at that time- was appointed patron saint of the town of Almonte, it was agreed to celebrate solemn festivities with mass and sermon "forever and ever" , the day that the Church considers it or that the council itself agrees. At first, this festival was celebrated on September 8, the feast of the Nativity of Mary, and also on the 18th of the same month, which the Church dedicates to the Sweet Name of Mary.

Later, the Rules of the Brotherhood of Almonte of 1758 agree that this party be celebrated on the second day of the Holy Spirit, that is, on the party better known as Pentecost. This change in the date is propitiated because the name of the Virgin is changed, which goes from the Virgin of Rocinas to Rocío, and in this way attest that the Virgin of Rocío is that of the Holy Spirit, hence her name of Blanca Pigeon.

Although it is said that "El Rocío is the way", the 'great' days are the weekend, highlighting the dawn from Sunday to Monday - Pentecost -, which is when the Virgin meets her faithful again in a procession that begins with the spectacular "jump from the fence" and ends well into the day entrusting himself to the Blanca Paloma until the following year.

El Rocío is located on the edge of the marshes of the Doñana National Park. This hermitage was built for the first time by King Alfonso X el Sabio when he conquered the town of Niebla, and erected the hermitage in honor of the Virgin of Sancta María de las Rocinas. This village that belongs to the population of Almonte has about 1700 inhabitants, and although it has hundreds of visitors throughout the year, it is for the Pentecost festival when more than a million people come to visit it for about a week.

This pilgrimage that for those who criticize it is just a form of entertainment, where drugs, sex and alcohol are the main cause.

way they ask, where is it written that the way to undertake a pilgrimage to a holy place should be done in recollection and in daily prayers?

Who for a whole year save to get to the village. They affirm that it is the way to express their feelings towards a virgin in whom they have deposited all their faith. Alleging also that everything they say about it being only a drunken pilgrimage is not true, and in the same way

Because the Camino de Santiago is full of mysticism, devotion and faith, and the same people who do this Camino judge those who go to El Rocío, something like that, as believers in zambomba.

This festival is the feeling of love towards a virgin that moves them to pilgrimage and make a journey of six or even ten days depending on the place from where they move to the village.

This is an Andalusian festival since the Virgen del Rocío is its patron saint.

Pilgrims arriving in the village do so in decorated floats, on horseback, on foot, by tractor, or by car.

Others usually sleep in the village in tents, most of them belong to brotherhoods, where they rent a house between some families.

That makes one path serious and devout, and the other just a party to have fun. The pilgrimage is done on foot, on horseback, in charrets, in carts, by tractor and by car. It is evident that the road is long, above all it depends on where you start, since this pilgrimage is made from all the towns of Andalusia and some from the rest of Spain and even from outside our borders.

On the way to Santiago, the places to sleep are the hostels and eat in those same hostels or in bars that you find along the way as well as inhabitants who offer food to pilgrims for cheap prices.

The pilgrims of El Rocío carry everything in their carts and once in the hermitage, most of them have rented a house between several to eat and sleep, others do it in front of their tent.

Where is the difference from one pilgrimage to another? That some sing and dance?, and that is why he has to classify them as drunks and drug addicts.

And certainly not for that reason the devotion that pilgrims put to it can or should be inferior to one another. Or even to venerate the saints there are categories?.

For two days I have made the OD Magazine way with the Brotherhood

of Huelva from its exit in the center of the city, where hundreds of people take to the streets to bid them farewell as they pass the pilgrims who undertake the journey with all the joy of showing their devotion to their White Dove for three days in the village.

I always wanted to know why they gave so much importance to "doing the road" as they call it, since as I think and many may think, the important thing was the destination, that is, spending the days in the hermitage. Now I have been able to verify why, and say as they say whoever does not follow the path has not gone to El Rocío.

In Huelva, due to the large number of pilgrims, everything begins, on Wednesday the brotherhood of emigrants leaves, being Thursday when the brotherhood of Huelva leaves. After a mass where horsemen and pilgrims sing save the Virgin. This is how the road to the village is undertaken in a two-day journey and its nights, between songs and cheers to the Blanca Paloma, the kilometers shorten.

A road that for about 20 Km OD is Magazine on asphalt to

Then continue through pine forests with your handkerchief in your mouth to protect yourself from the dust, by the river to cool off with the horses, camping to rest and eat. Again the march is undertaken until nightfall in one of the most exciting and beautiful moments, among the carts and tents, there around a fire, they sing, eat and drink, strengthening the friendship between the pilgrims.

The first thing you do when you arrive is pray to Sinless. All the pilgrims crowded together, the cheers come out again and again, the cries of the pilgrims fill the night, the bonfire helps to keep the coolness from being noticed, and it is the only light they have next to that of the tractors and their flashlights.

The horses drink at the troughs and rest, the faithful continue singing Long Live the White Dove. Everyone crowds together clapping and cheering, singing, dancing and getting ready to "rest" in the heat of the fire. The night is cold, but bodies full of vigor do not understand cold. There, next to the bonfire, all in chorus, they eat, sing, dance and drink until the body can hold on, and God, go if it holds on.

A candle next to the cars, next to that 17 bonfire around them, everyone sings, dances, and explains their stories, the night seems to be long but warmly dressed and next to the fire, the hours fly by.

The morning honors the place, the dew is seen on all the flowers and there again the camp is set up for everyone. The first thing is to greet the virgin, and they approach Sinpecado where the cheers, songs and prayers wake up the stragglers. The day is ready to start the march again towards the desired place, the hermitage of the Blanca Paloma. Some who dance and others who are added, the road is ready. They too.

Says a Sevillian from Rocío, How beautiful is El Rocío in the morning when the drummers play reveille, and in the afternoon, girl, and in the afternoon when the drummers play the dance- I couldn't tell when it's more beautiful, everything intoxicates, the people who accompany such a magnificent trip, the place, the pines, the eucalyptus trees, the sunset, or the sunrise that falls in love with its dew on the plants.

And I look at it with a face of admiration thinking that it is only the prelude to what is to come in the hermitage.

No pilgrim goes hungry or thirsty, OD Magazine May 2012 as long as there is a rosemary by his side, to

offer you food and drink. That is another of the spirits of Rocío, what is carried there is for everyone and everyone carries for others and for themselves.

This is the only way to understand that it is the path of dew for pilgrims. It is a pity that what for many is a devotion that has been carried out since the last century and where many went on horseback and carts, as today but the means were different, in the past the mud has left many unable to reach to the hermitage and see how all his efforts for a year fell by the wayside, since then the

tractors. Those who criticize them only pay attention to what comes out on the couché paper and assimilate all this party because of what they see or read about those characters who only seek to enhance their ego. This pilgrimage is one of those who save for a year to be able to demonstrate their faith to the Virgin, to do it together with their friends, family and acquaintances, and it is their right and their freedom. These are anonymous and do not want more fame than that of the companion who goes with them, singing, dancing and demonstrating that with joy one can venerate a virgin and sing a thousand times if necessary LONG LIVE THE WHITE PALOMA. LONG LIVE THE VIRGEN DEL ROCIO.

O.D. Magazine

May 2012


When they arrive at the village, the first thing they do is go to the church to see the Virgin and present their sin, where they sing a Salve. The Romeros parade on foot, on horseback or in adorned carts pulled by mules or oxen, culminating in this way the end of the road, difficult and hard at times, along the old and dusty paths of always. This colorful parade, emotional and solemn at the same time, impregnated with dust, sweat and faith, is perhaps one of the most exciting moments of the Pilgrimage.

On Saturday, all the affiliated brotherhoods, in strict order of seniority, gather before the doors of the Sanctuary. Where a large representation of the Hdad. Matrix of Almonte with its President, Big Brother and Mayor of the town are receiving them. Each one of these Brotherhoods briefly stops their Simpecado wagon looking at the main door of the Sanctuary, singing the salve dedicated to the Virgin.

All this until dawn from Sunday to Pentecost Monday, where the Almonteños jump the fence to get the Virgin out-

It is perhaps one of the moments most criticized by those who see in this party only an excessive fanaticism on the part of some believers where they confuse -according to them- faith with a primitive form, where they beat each other and many get hurt to reach the virgin and being able to carry her around the village.

I don't know if it's all fanaticism or faith, I can only say that looking at development impartially, on one side you see fanaticism and on the other faith, seeing how people with disabilities, others who have had a disease and that they are improved to see how with tears in their eyes they give thanks, no matter how much you want to inhibit yourself, it is still moving to see such a situation.

I will not opt for one side or the other, I can only say that I recommend everyone who reads this report to live this experience at least once in their life.


  But it did not end there, the surprises of this Friday, I headed towards the Via Dolorosa on the way to the Holy Sepulcher  in the Christian neighborhood. Through it appear one Orthodox Russians doing the Via Crucis.  A ritual that is only allowed to be performed every Friday of the year.

  behind the one  He carried a cross, the rest followed him between prayers. They usually arrive with their cross to the same church of the Holy Sepulchre, where they stay at the doors. Well, only the entrance inside is allowed with the cross  good Friday.  This Via Crucis ceremony is not only carried out by the Orthodox but throughout the year you can see pilgrims from anywhere in the world.

  This street that recalls the one where Jesus stepped last before being crucified,  It is a narrow alley, of pious memory. Tombstones mark the fourteen stations of martyrdom. The first is next to the convent of the French Sisters of Sion. The fourteenth and last is the Chapel of the Sepulchre, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is difficult to discover under present-day Jerusalem the same city that Jesus stepped on.  the only certainty  gives it  a sign that identifies it.

  Nowadays it is a street very visited by all those who profess the Christian religion, and it has become the street with the most  trade of all  the old city of Jerusalem.



On the Via Dolorosa is the Praetorium, the residence of the man who was  Roman governor in Israel; Pontius Pilate. In this residence the sentence was pronounced against  Jesus.  It is  known  like the chapel of the scourging. Currently  It is the convent of the nuns of Sion, better known as the Ecce Homo church, where large fragments of the "Pavement of Justice" where Jesus was tried are preserved.

Protestant Lutheran Church of the Redeemer

In 1841 the Queen of England and the King of Prussia decided to create a joint Anglican-Lutheran bishopric in Jerusalem.


Already close to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and after walking through the labyrinthine streets, all of them full of commerce for tourism, you reach Muristan Street where the Protestant Lutheran Church of the Redeemer is located, there next to the Jaffa gate, In a square that seems to have changed nothing in centuries is this church whose bell tower looks more like a minaret and can be seen from anywhere in Jerusalem. It was in 1841 that the Queen of England and the King of Prussia decided to create a joint Anglican-Lutheran bishopric in Jerusalem.

It came to an end in 1886 with the dissolution of the Anglo-Prussian joint venture. The German Lutheran Church established an independent presence in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. This community has increasingly attracted Arabic-speaking members, many of them alumni of schools and other institutions maintained by German Lutheran churches and societies. Since 1979, the Arabic-speaking congregation has its own bishop and exists independently of the small German-speaking congregation,  represented by a shepherd.


Holy sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulcher within a string of chapels, all of which refer to the history of salvation.


A few meters from the Lutheran church. You come to an arch through which the Romanesque facade of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre appears majestic. A  indefinite style facade,  it is rather an accumulation of the architectural styles of the last thousand years.

At the same door they are concentrated  groups of pilgrims and tourists. The Holy Sepulcher is open from 4:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 12:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. in winter and 8:00 p.m. in summer. The closing and opening as well as the entrance run into, to the great surprise, Islam: according to an ancient privilege, the portal of the basilica is opened by a Muslim family.


Right at the entrance is the Stone of Anointing. This stone considered sacred is highly revered by Greek Orthodox believers. It was the stone that welcomed the body of Jesus when they lowered him from the cross, and where according to the Jewish rite; Jesus received the last oil paintings before being shrouded for burial.  It is one of the most revered relics in the Orthodox Church.  And both Russian and Greek Orthodox, some reach out and hug, cry, pray, others carry all kinds of objects, the  spoons to bless them, extend them and ask for the  blessing of each object.  Behind the stone a mosaic shows  the descent of the cross the anointing and its transfer to the tomb.

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Versus  the majesty of the Katholikon, there is a  building  in square shape. The front part is the entrance of the Christians where  believe  was  the tomb of the body of Jesus. At the rear of the building is  the chapel of the Copts.

In the Christian part every day hundreds of faithful make long queues to enter. on your porch  appears the figure of  crucified Christ,  a hole framed in silver indicates the place where the cross must have been erected. To access you must bend down  to where  find the hole that testifies that the cross was nailed.  between tears and prayers  kiss where  his savior was crucified. Under the dome of the church there is a small marble chapel with an atrium, the so-called chapel of the angel, which is where some apocryphal books indicate as the true place where the body of Jesus was deposited. And it is the place where the stone that guarded the tomb of Christ is kept.

43 lamps of great beauty illuminate the covered marble walls that, as they explain, each of which belongs to the Christian confessions. An absolute silence is observed inside, it is totally forbidden to take pictures but the flashes are fired at every moment. 


   The history of the construction of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher contains legends as it could not be otherwise. Built in 66 AD it was the church  oldest Christian church in Jerusalem. Destroyed by Emperor Hadrian in the second Jewish revolt, in 135, he ordered the complete destruction of Jerusalem and built a new Roman city, called Aelia Capitolina.  Mount Golgotha there, where Christ was crucified where the church was, was completely covered with earth and rubble,  digging a ditch where he threw the three crosses and everything that served  as a relic for the Christians of the time who used to go to the place on pilgrimage.  

   Hadrian later ordered the construction of a temple in honor of Venus. Y  a statue to Jupiter on what was the place of crucifixion. something usual,  raise pagan buildings in the sacred places of other religions. Certainly the place was considered sacred not only because of the crucifixion of Jesus. Calvary or Gólgotha, which in Hebrew means bare, dry, stony mound, without any vegetation, was a place where it is believed that Adam's skull would have been found, hence the origin of the name Calvary.

   And according to the Christian faith  Jesus had been crucified on top of Adam's tomb, thus the redemption was fulfilled since his spilled blood purified the remains of the first sinner, currently under the place where the cross was, on the ground floor is  the Church of Adam. Legend also tells us that it was the  Emperor Constantine who converted to Christianity and founded the  Catholicism. who in the  year 325 send archaeologists, to recover the place of crucifixion.  The temple of Venus was destroyed  and in the excavations they found  the three crosses

  Elena the mother of Emperor Constantine  after his son called a meeting of bishops from all over the empire, which included Macarius, bishop of Aelia Capitolina, as Jerusalem was known at that time,  After hearing from Macario himself the regrettable abandonment of the places consecrated by the life and death of Jesus, she left with the blessing, authority and funds of her son for the Holy Land, becoming the first pilgrim.

  Rufino narrates the historian. That Saint Macarius, Bishop of Jerusalem, commanded  make prayers to obtain from God the grace to know the true Cross; and that since it was not possible to distinguish which was Christ's, Saint Macarius had a dying woman brought. Touching the first Cross, the sick woman got worse, the Cross belonged to Ladrón Gestas, touching it with the second one left her just as sick as she was, the Cross belonged to Dimas the thief, but touching it with the third Cross, the sick girl recovered. your health instantly. After satisfying her piety, Elena arranges for the Holy Cross to be divided into three pieces: a fragment was sent to her son Constantine, that fragment has been lost .  

  Constantine received him with great honors; another fragment was sent to Rome, along with the nails and the crown of thorns, for the church she herself had founded, known as the  Church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem and the largest piece was given to Saint Macarius for the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, both fragments are still preserved today in two churches. Actually there are two churches: a circular one built on the tomb and another one with a basilica plan built opposite on the place of the crucifixion.



            The Coptic Chapel behind the Aedicula of the Holy Sepulcher

   The Crusaders, faced with the need to have a large place in the face of the influx of pilgrims, joined the two churches to form a single space. When building the church, Constantine's architects demolished almost the entire site where what was believed to be the cave that served as Jesus' burial place was located, so already in its beginnings, although this really would have been the true burial place, they themselves to build the Holy Sepulcher they demolished the real place. Since only then could it be in the center of the building they had built. But even if they had preserved it, it would not have survived to this day, since in 614 the church that Constantine had built was destroyed and burned by the Persian commander Romizanes, who also destroyed a large part of the city of Jerusalem, burned the Holy Sepulchre, almost all Christian churches and murdered and buried more than 30,000 people in a cave in Mamila.

   It took two centuries  until Patriarch Modesto partially rebuilds it,  later an earthquake damaged it again and it was in 810 when Patriarch Thomas repaired it. In 935 the Christians finally managed to overcome the attempts of the Muslims to build a mosque adjacent to the Basilica. Later it was set on fire again by the Muslims in 938. After reconstruction it was set on fire again in 966 by the Muslims because of the lost war in Syria. In 1009 it was the Caliph Fatima of Egypt who ordered the total destruction of the Holy Sepulchre. The tomb and everything that Constantine would have built. For eleven years Christians were forbidden to visit the place to pray, ignoring it.  Alone with the succession of Al-Hakim, in a peace treaty with the Byzantine emperor Argirópulos  they were allowed to rebuild the Holy Sepulchre.

   In 1099 the Crusaders conquered the city and the chronicles tell that they were so bloodthirsty that through the streets of Jerusalem, that the blood reached the ankles, they killed Jews and Arabs without mercy. During the time of the Crusaders, the Holy Sepulcher recovered its splendor,  most of the current building is the result of crusader reconstruction and expansion in the 12th century. The current columns and piers of the Rotunda are approximate copies of the original shape and design of the fourth century, but with half their height. In the year 1188 Jerusalem was conquered by the army of Saladin, recovering  the control of  Holy Land. The  Holy Sepulchre, although it was not razed to the ground, was stripped of its splendor,  and its marbles were used to build mosques and palaces.  The Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher was closed and no one could officiate in it.

  In the year 1244 many Christians died during the Muslim invasions and the building of the Holy Sepulcher was considerably damaged. A subsequent agreement between Sultan Ajub in 1246 and Pope Innocent IV determined that the keys of the Basilica be delivered to two Muslim families, who would be in charge of opening the doors to the pilgrims who arrived at the place.

   Later due to the different frictions between Greek Orthodox and Latin Roman Catholics; between Coptic Orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox, have perpetuated the need for an agreement with the Muslim Guardians of the Keys of the Holy Sepulcher eight centuries ago and for this reason it is still in force until today, although the Basilica is open to all visitors, without no limitation.


greek katholikon

Built by the Crusaders. In Ottoman times it was granted to the Greek Orthodox.

The Crusaders found the group of buildings as they were left by the restoration of Constantine IX. From 1140 to 1149, under the direction of an architect, Maestro Giordano, a capital repair of the entire complex and the construction of a great Franco-Romanesque style cathedral were carried out. To the east of the rotunda located on the Anastasis, the transept was built, and somewhat further away, surrounded by a corridor, the choir, the apse and a triumphal arch were built at the union with the rotunda. The central church communicates with numerous chapels.


It is this church built by the Crusaders that can still be seen: the beautiful Romanesque doors, especially those facing the south side, give the temple an oriental style. In 1808 the rotunda burned to the ground and the Orthodox convinced the Turkish government to allow them to carry out the reconstruction. The choir of the Crusader Church was transformed into the current Orthodox Katholikon, the arches of the corridor that surrounded the choir were covered turning it into a dark passage and the dome that rose over the rotunda threatened to collapse in 1869. In a joint action France and Russia replaced this dome with the iron cover that still exists.


Miracle of the Holy Fire

Visiting Jerusalem and of course the Holy Sepulcher is for those who profess the Christian religion one of their favorite destinations. Of course, it is a city that can be visited at any time of the year, although  Holy Week would be the date chosen by most believers.  

There is on the night of Holy Saturday by the Orthodox Church since the twelfth century, one of the "superstitions" known as  the Miracle of the Holy Light in the Holy Sepulchre. And that it has had a great influence on the Russian Orthodox thanks to a Russian Abbot who had the privilege of witnessing it in a  of your visits. A "miracle" of which the Orthodox churches have carried out flag  it is the true pilgrimage that every Orthodox believer wishes to make once in his life.

The church on Saturday night  it is absolutely full of Orthodox-Greeks, Copts and Russians, already from the dawn of the previous day they camp in the surroundings. The miracle occurs every year at the same time, 2:00 in the morning, and hours before it begins to  enter the church with chants in honor of those who were forbidden to attend during the Ottoman occupation  to church to pray and express their beliefs and many of them were punished.  Songs that are accompanied by drums, where they express  their religious feelings and  they reaffirm their condition “We are Christians, we have been for centuries and we will always be”, so they repeat over and over again until 1:00 in the morning, when there is absolute silence; If it was already extraordinary to listen to the chants between drums, it is much more so, the impressive silence.

After that hour of tense silence, the "miracle" occurs at 2:00 in the morning, as has happened for centuries, a delegation from the local authorities crosses the crowd. Although these authorities are not Christians, they are part of the ceremonies. In the times of the Turkish occupation in Palestine, they were Muslim Turks, the delegation of authorities. They are now Israelis. For centuries, the presence of these officers has been an integral part of the ceremony. Its function is to represent the Romans, in the time of Jesus. The Gospels speak of the fact that the Romans went to seal the Tomb of Jesus, so that his Disciples would not steal his Body, and say that he had risen. In the same way, the Israeli authorities, this Easter Saturday, come and seal the Sepulchre, with wax. Before they seal the door, it is customary for them to enter the Sepulcher to check that there is no hidden source that could fraudulently produce the Miracle of Fire. Just as the Romans were here to ensure there was no tampering after Jesus' death, now the local Israeli authorities are here to ensure there is no deception.  


When the Sepulcher has been searched and sealed, all the attendees  sings the Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy). At the end of a great procession, which circles the Tomb three times, after which the Patriarch is stripped of his royal liturgical vestments, leaving only his white alb, as a sign of humility before the tomb.

All the oil lamps have been extinguished the night before, and now all the artificial light is extinguished, so,  the Church is enveloped in darkness. With two large candles, the Patriarch enters the Chapel of the Holy Sepulcher: first to the small room in front of the Sepulcher and from there, to the Sepulcher Himself, as the Patriarch himself explains, since only he enters its interior.

He kneels in front of the tomb and performs certain prayers that have been handed down to him for centuries and then he waits, and after a few minutes from the center of the same stone a light emerges for him, an indefinable blue color that gradually turns into a dark blue color. of different nuances, of which he does not know how to define in human terms. That light that covers the stone as if it were a cloud and sometimes illuminates the entire tomb, rises from the stone as if it were water rising from a lake, and as if it were a glow that is sometimes perceived from outside, they light up candles and oil lamp.

When going outside the jubilation of the attendees is deafening. The patriarch hands the flame to the Armenian Patriarch and to the Coptic  and it is distributed to those present in the church. They receive it with great joy and distribute it among themselves, some touch it a thousand times and verify that they do not burn and they all begin to circle around the tomb.

A story that is questioned by many people who do not believe in the so-called "miracle", some say that the Patriarch has some system to light the fire, and those who have attended the ceremony say that the tomb is checked moments before his entrance and that he strips himself of all his belongings and everything is completely dark, and what is more, there are those who assure that at the same moment candles are lit for many of the pilgrims outside the Sepulchre.  

The truth is that the “miracle” has never been filmed and I certainly don't think it ever will be. Miracles cannot be proven. And its defenders affirm that faith is required for a miracle to bear fruit in a person's life, and without this act of faith, there is no miracle, strictly speaking. Therefore, there can be no miracle without faith. Anyway, there is the story and that everyone thinks.

You can believe or not, be a believer or an atheist, but the experience is unforgettable when witnessing how hundreds of people sing and dance by candlelight. entranced by  your faith. 


Tombs in the Kidron Valley

Hundreds of tombs, elaborate and simple, were carved on the slopes of the mountains that surround the city, mainly in this place.


Walking around the walls of Jerusalem, near the Arab cemetery that is next to the Golden Gate, you can see the so-called Mount of Gethsemane, better known as  the mount of olives. from where it is observed  the church of the nations, and to its skirts the tombs that date from the period of the Second Temple.

The burial caverns were in continuous use for several generations by members of the same family. Here is that of Yad Avshalom, the rebellious son of King David. A monument, twenty meters high, which is composed of a square lower structure cut into the rock, containing a small burial chamber.

Zejariah's tomb (known as  the prophet Zechariah or,  the father of Juan Bautista) is a monolithic monument cut into the rock that surrounds it. Square structure of five by five meters decorated with Ionic columns and crowned by a pyramid. It probably served as a nefesh for the tomb below it.

The rock-cut tomb of Benei Hezir, with a  facade of  two Doric columns, carved into the rock. It has a long Hebrew inscription carved into the architrave above the columns, identifying it as the tomb of various members of the Hezir family who served as priests in the Temple. 




The Mount of Olives stands in the Kidron Valley, just east of the ancient city. a place that  today containing more churches, chapels, and cemeteries than olive trees, its summit offers a magnificent view of all of Jerusalem and in the other direction the Judean desert, the Jordan valley, and the mountains of Moab.

The mount is loaded with biblical meaning: it is cited in the Old Testament as the place where David wept over the death of his rebellious son Absalom and is also closely related to the figure of Jesus and to what,  It was the place where he prayed just before his delivery to the Romans by Judas Iscariot. There is a tiny mosque known as the Chapel of the Ascension, where there was a church from 390 AD. C. The current small building dates from the time of the Crusaders and was converted into a mosque by Saladin in 1198. Inside there is a rock that they say has the footprint of a foot of Jesus at the time of the ascension. The small mortuary crypt next to the mosque is of interest to all three religions: it is believed by Jews to contain the tomb of the prophetess Hulda, one of only seven prophetesses mentioned in the Old Testament; Christians say it is the tomb of Saint Pelagia and Muslims claim that Rabi'a al-Adawiya, a 5th-century female saint, is buried there.

Known as Gethsemane Hebrew word meaning 'oil press' (referring to olive oil). Apparently because of the large number of olive trees that surrounded the area in those days. All the gospels make reference to this place. Has a  extension of about 1200 square meters. Between the Mount of Olives and the modern Jericho road, which passes through Bethany, is the church  of the Agony. The land, initially, also included the location of the Church, since it was built on the ruins of the building that Egeria and Saint Jerome said had been erected in the place of Christ's prayer. In 1681, the Franciscans acquired possession of the orchard, of which they have kept its rustic appearance, they built a wall higher than the one they found to protect the olive trees. Currently it is only a  small garden containing olive trees.

Church of the Nations

Next to the Mount of Olives stands the Church of All Nations, a name that comes from its  construction was carried out by twelve different countries. It is also known as the Gethsemane Basilica of the Agony, for being the last place where Jesus prayed.  with his disciples and where Judas handed him over to the Romans.


The first church built in the  379 was  destroyed by an earthquake in 746.  It was built  a new one on the ruins that was abandoned in 1345. The current one dates from 1924, and preserves the rock identified as the place where it is believed that Jesus prayed before his arrest.

Framing the entrance is an impressive Byzantine-style mosaic arch. Inside the altar contains some frescoes that symbolize the figure of Jesus praying on the rock, in another part of the church another fresco details  the kiss that Judas gives him when handing him over to the Romans. The windows of the current church are made of translucent bluish-purple alabaster, which produces a deliberate faded effect inside. Six monolithic columns support 12 domes, the interiors of which are decorated with mosaics depicting the national emblems of the donor communities. This decoration gave rise to the name by which it is known: "Church of All Nations".

Russian Orthodox Convent of  Maria Magdalena


Russian Orthodox Convent  just behind the Church of the Agony. Dedicated to Mary Magdalene.  

The church dates from 1886 by Tsar Alexander III of Russia in honor of his mother Empress Maria Alesandrovna. It was built by David Grimm in a traditional style of Russian churches,  It includes seven golden “onion” domes. The  interior full of large frescoes of great beauty, as is common in Russian Orthodox churches.  

In the church are buried the remains of two holy Orthodox martyrs, the  Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna Romanova of Russia  and his companion the nun  Varvara Yakovlev . The of the  Princess Alice of Greece  —niece of the Grand Duchess and mother-in-law of the Queen  Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom — who provided assistance to members of the community  Jewish , during the Nazi occupation of  Greece .


Zion Gate and the Armenian Quarter

Zion Gate: It is the one that bears the oldest biblical name of Jerusalem. Mount Zion, previously an integral part of the city and, by extension, of the entire country, gave its name to the Zionist movement; Until two days before independence, the founders of the Jewish state hesitated between the name of Zion and that of Israel for the country.  

It's the front door  to the Armenian neighborhood, the smallest of the four that is located inside the old city.  It is believed to be where King David had his citadel which was later demolished by Nebuchadnezzar and later by the Romans. Currently  just a few steps away is the tomb of King David. And it also brings us closer to the Jewish quarter. 

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The Armenian quarter, is for me, of what  better watch out  of the entire old city. Its stone houses, passageways clean its streets and squares. Accompanied by the tranquility that is breathed, far from the hustle and bustle of the Arab part or the  concentration of the majority of religious not only of the Christian religion but also Armenian and Orthodox. Where they celebrate their beliefs. Strolling through its streets on a festive day is filled with peace.  

The Armenians settled in Jerusalem in the fourth century for religious reasons and for about 1,500 years they lived in full coexistence with other religions. It is not that later they had any friction with any of them, but due to the Ottoman genocide  1915, many left Jerusalem for fear of the same end. The Armenian population in Jerusalem came to have about 50,000, currently there are about 500 in the old city, others are scattered around Yafo, Tel Aviv, Bethlehem and barely two thousand in the surroundings of Jerusalem.  Jerusalem, of which a minority have an Israeli passport, the rest have a permanent residence permit with a Jordanian passport.  

All this leads to the fact that the Armenian quarter, which occupies a quarter of the southwestern part of the old city, can currently see the advance of the Jewish quarter and we can get confused since it is difficult to know where the Armenian and Jewish quarters begin and end.  

The center of the neighborhood is still Armenian, there it is impossible to get confused, because of its religious buildings such as; the Cathedral of Santiago built in the 12th century. On its altar are the remains of the apostle Santiago el Menor, and in a side chapel the head of the apostle Santiago el Mayor. The Anglican Church, the Tower of David Museum: a museum about the history of the city. In the citadel is the slender tower, which rises above the fortifications of the city. Ancient Armenian Museum Yishuv Court Museum. The Church of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary. The Cenacle and  the only Jewish reference; King David's Tomb.


Where did the sacrament take place?


Known as the Cenacle, the place where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples. It is located on the top floor where King David's tomb is located. The hall dates from the Crusader era, with its characteristic Gothic arches. It was part of a Franciscan monastery until 1552 and was converted into a mosque by the Ottomans, who added a mihrab and stained glass windows. It is the place where the scriptures detail that Jesus appeared to his disciples after the resurrection. And where the Holy Spirit appeared to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.

Holy place of the Christian religion,  much visited by pilgrims who come to Jerusalem. One of the ceremonies that they usually carry out is surrounding the tree and praying with the help of a priest who usually accompanies them.  

The building is currently occupied by a Hebrew religious school and previously until 1948 it belonged to the Muslims. The edges of the ceiling dome are typical of Lusitanian or Cypriot Gothic. The carved mihrab, the Muslim prayer niche, was added when the Franciscans were expelled from the building and the compound was converted into a mosque.

Beneath the present floor level are more recent Crusader, Byzantine and Roman foundations. The apse behind the cenotaph aligns with the Temple Mount, inspiring the assumption that this part of the building may have been a synagogue, or even "the synagogue" mentioned by the Pilgrim of Bordeaux in 333.

It is undoubtedly a place to visit for its symbolism for those who practice the Catholic religion. But also for everyone who is interested in knowing the historical details that are enclosed within its walls. 

King David's Tomb

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The room called David's Tomb is an empty chamber containing a simple velvet-covered cenotaph and was declared his burial place in the 10th century AD. C. A This place had special importance for the Israelis between 1948 and 1967, when the old city was in  Jordanian hands  and the western wall out of bounds.  The tomb became a place of Jewish pilgrimage. In a room next to the tomb of David, the King David Museum has been installed, with a series of archaeological finds from Mount Zion and Jewish liturgical pieces.

In the heart of the Armenian quarter, we will also find the Dormition abbey erected in 1898 by the German Benedictines, with its triangular roof so characteristic of the city. This is the place where, according to Catholic tradition, the Assumption of Mary into Heaven took place. 

wailing wall

It is  also  acquaintance  like the Western wall and Kotel in Hebrew. The most holy place in the world for the Jews. But actually it is because they can't access control of the Temple Mount.  where is the Mosque. That is for them the authentic and true highest place of holiness  of the world for their religion.


Built by Solomon and rebuilt by Herod the Great, it was Titus who destroyed it, leaving this part of the temple for the Jews to have the bitter memory that they had been humiliated by Rome. The Jews, however, attributed it to a promise made by God, according to which at least a part of the holy temple would always remain standing as a symbol of his perpetual alliance with the Jewish people.

The square was created as an area to pray when Israel took the Old City in 1967. It is traditional to introduce a paper with prayers or wishes and place it inside the cracks of the wall, something common in the Jewish religion. With tourism, all those who arrive at the wall are  or non-Jews often perform the same ritual.  

I have been lucky enough to visit  the wailing wall on "rosh hashanah"  the Jewish New Year's Day, a celebration that lasts two days and marks the period of ten days of recollection and meditation that will conclude with the day of Forgiveness. During this time  desires for amendment are expressed and sins are meditated on. The usual dishes of the meals contain numerous symbols: abundance, sweetness (apple and honey) and the meeting of the Jewish people (pomegranate).


Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the Jewish year. Was the  day that Adam and Eve were created. Although the creation took place six days before the creation of human beings.  The tenth day is however considered the beginning of the world  and Rosh Hashanah was established on that date. for your religion  humanity is the center of the universe, for which everything was created. With his creation, the entire world was completed and God's desire in the world was fulfilled. So they believe and so they celebrate.

The night  of the celebration it is forbidden to access the Wailing Wall to non-Jews.  Luckily, even from a distance, you can be a participant in such a great event.  

The Wailing Wall is, as can be seen in the photograph, absolutely packed. Boys and men on one side, girls and women on the other, they jump, dance and clap non-stop, to the rhythm of the drum-like sound they make on a table,  and all accompany with clapping and singing in a celebration that usually lasts a couple of hours.  

Once the celebration at the Wailing Wall is over, they usually celebrate it in their homes, restaurants and places where they continue singing and dancing. 


Orthodox Jews at sunset on the way to the Wailing Wall to celebrate Rosh Hashanah


Father and son praying at the Wailing Wall. 

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