Sunday, January 9, 2011

On the way to Bethlehem: St. Elijah Monastery

After staying in the border town of Eilat for one night, we headed to Jerusalem.  We settled into our hotel, the Capital Hotel, in East Jerusalem and spent the afternoon in the Old City of Jerusalem... an amazing place.  I'll do blog entries on the Old City later.  For now, I'll jump to one of our highpoints of our trip:  going to Bethlehem on Christmas day.

We were staying in East Jerusalem (under Palestinian control) and were lucky to be able to learn more about Palestine and activites there.  The Palestinian Tourist Authority had organized a free shuttle to Bethlehem from Jerusalem on Dec. 24, 25, and 26.  Our hotel had a press release that included the times of the shuttle and the pick-up location at the Mar Elias Monastery at the periphery of Jerusalem.  Here are some photos of  monastery we visited while waiting for the shuttle to arrive.

This Greek Orthodox monastery was built in the 12th Century over the ruins of a Byzantine church.  In English, it's called the St. Elijah Monastery, named after the prophet Elijah.  Here's a link that explains more about the monastery if you're interested.

Jeff standing in front of the monastery.
Prayer candles in the entryway.

Painting on the ceiling of the monastery.

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