Israel Tour Pictures: Photo Journal of the Holy Land

Photo Journal by Venice Kichura

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Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock and Temple Mount in Jerusalem Dome of the Rock and Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Text and Image: © Kichura

Take a trip to Israel through this photo journal of the Holy Land by Venice Kichura.

A view of the Dome of the Rock and Temple Mount in Jerusalem taken from the Mount of Olives.

The Dome of the Rock, a plot of land on an elevated stone platform is located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This area is sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Jews believe the Exodus Israelites first sanctified the site. Earlier, Abraham brought his son Isaac to Mount Moriah to sacrifice him upon a rock that extended from the center of the platform.

Genesis 22:2
Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about." (NIV)

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Temple Mount

Temple Mount
Temple Mount where Jesus overturned the Tables Temple Mount. Text and Image: © Kichura

The Temple Mount is the holiest of all sites to Jews. It is where Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers.

The Temple Mount is the holiest of all sites to the Jews. Since it was first constructed by King Solomon in 950 BC, two Temples have been rebuilt at the site. Jews believe the third and final Temple will be located here. Today the site is under Islamic authority and is the location of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. It was at this site that Jesus overturned the moneychangers.

Mark 11:15-17
When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. He said to them, "The Scriptures declare, 'My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,' but you have turned it into a den of thieves." (NLT)

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Wailing Wall

Wailing Wall
The Wailing Wall or Western Wall of the Temple Wailing Wall. Text and Image: © Kichura

The Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem is the Wailing Wall, a holy site where Jews pray.

Also known as, the "Western Wall," the Wailing Wall is the only outer wall of the Temple that remained after Rome destroyed the second Temple in 70 AD. This remnant of what was the most sacred structure for the Hebrews grew into a holy site for Jews. Because of the heartfelt prayers at the Western Wall, it became known as the "Wailing Wall" because Jews insert their paper-written requests inside the wall's cracks as they pray.

Psalm 122:6-7
Pray for peace in Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper. O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces. (NLT)

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Eastern Gate

Eastern Gate
Eastern Gate or Golden Gate Eastern Gate. Text and Image: © Kichura

A view of the sealed Eastern Gate or Golden Gate in Jerusalem.

The Eastern Gate (or Golden Gate) is the oldest of the city gates and is located along the eastern wall of the Temple Mount. On Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into the city through the Eastern Gate. Christians contend the Eastern Gate, which has been sealed for nearly 12 centuries, will reopen upon the return of Christ.

Ezekiel 44:1-2
Then the man brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, the one facing east, and it was shut. The LORD said to me, "This gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it. It is to remain shut because the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered through it." (NIV)

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Pool of Bethesda

Pool of Bethesda
The Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed a lame man. Text and Image: © Kichura

At the Pool of Bethesda Jesus healed a man who had been ill for 38 years.

Located just north of the Temple Mount, the Pool of Bethesda is one of the few Jerusalem sites in which there isn't any argument about the exact spot. It's here where Jesus healed the man who'd been ill for 38 years, as recorded in John 5. Helpless people laid at the pool, seeking miracles. At the time of Christ, the colonnades were visible, although the pool wouldn't be enclosed as it is today.

John 5:2-8
Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie-the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there ... he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"

"Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."

Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." (NIV)

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Pool of Siloam

Pool of Siloam
Israel Tour Pictures - Pool of Siloam Where Jesus Healed a Blind Man Pool of Siloam. Text and Image: © Kichura

At the Pool of Siloam, Jesus healed a blind man by putting a mud mixture on his eyes and then telling him to wash it out.

The Pool of Siloam, recorded in John 9, relates how Jesus healed a blind man by putting a mud mixture on his eyes and then telling him to wash it out. In the 1890s, a mosque was built next to the pool, which still stands today.

John 9:6-7
Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. "Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam." So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. (NIV)

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Star of Bethlehem

Star of Bethlehem
Star of Bethlehem where Jesus was born. Text and Image: © Kichura

The Star of Bethlehem in the Church of the Nativity marks the spot where Jesus was born.

Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, the Roman Emperor, first marked this spot about 325 A.D. where it's believed Jesus Christ was born. Following her son's conversion to Christianity, Helena traveled to Palestine sites held sacred by the Christian world. The Church of the Nativity was later built over it in 330 A.D., on the site of the ancient inn where Mary and Joseph stayed.

Luke 2:7
She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger because there was no lodging available for them. (NLT)

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Jordan River

Jordan River
Jordan River where Jesus was baptized. Text and Image: © Kichura

The Jordan River is the site where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.

It was here at the Jordan River (which flows south from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea) that John the Baptist baptized his cousin, Jesus of Nazareth, earmarking the advent of Jesus' public ministry. Although it's not known exactly where Jesus was baptized, this is a spot that is designated as where the event may have taken place.

Luke 3:21-22
One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, "You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy." (NLT)

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Sermon on the Mount Church

Sermon on the Mount Church
Church of the Beatitudes or Sermon on the Mount. Text and Image: © Kichura

Church of the Beatitudes is located near the site where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount.

It was close to this stunning site (just north of the Sea of Galilee) that Jesus preached his Sermon on the Mount. Built in 1936-38, the Church of the Beatitudes is octagonal, representing the eight Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount. Although there is no specific evidence that this church is on the exact spot where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, it's reasonable to assume it's nearby.

Matthew 5:1-3, 9
Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven ... Blessed are the peacemakers, or they will be called sons of God." (NIV)

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Robinson's Arch

Robinson's Arch
Robinson's Arch, where Jesus walked. Text and Image: © Kichura

Robinson's Arch contains original stones over which Jesus walked.

Discovered in 1838 by American researcher Edward Robinson, Robinson's Arch is the large stone sticking out from the southern part of the Western Wall. Robinson's Arch is a Temple archway, which crossed over paved streets that held upstairs from the street to the Temple Mount. It's believed these are the original stones over which Jesus walked on his way in and out of the Temple.

John 10:22-23
Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade. (NIV)

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Garden of Gethsemane

Garden of Gethsemane
Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives. Text and Image: © Kichura

On the night he was arrested, Jesus prayed to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane.

At the foot of the Mount of Olives stands the Garden of Gethsemane. Filled with olive trees, the Garden of Gethsemane is where Jesus spent his last hours praying to his Father, just before the Roman soldiers arrested him. Pleading with the Father for a "Plan B," he humbly submitted to his Father's will, preparing for the cross, as his disciples fell asleep when he needed them to help him pray.

Matthew 26:39
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." (NIV)

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Church of the Holy Sepulture

Church of the Holy Sepulture
Church of the Holy Sepulture at Golgotha Church. Text and Image: © Kichura

At the Church of the Holy Sepulture, the 12th station of the cross sits above the site where Jesus was crucified.

In fourth century AD, Constantine the Great, along with his Mother, Helena, built the Church of the Holy Sepulture. The cross with the crucified Christ hovers above the site where Jesus was crucified. In the bed-rock (beneath the altar) is a large crack caused by the earthquake when Jesus gave up his spirit.

Matthew 27:46, 50
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" ... And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. (NKJV)

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Skull Hill

Skull Hill
Skull Hill Near the tomb of Jesus. Text and Image: © Kichura

This skull-shaped hill is only a hundred meters from a tomb located outside the Old City walls.

Discovered by British General Gordon on a visit to Jerusalem in 1883, Skull Hill is the hill that led Gordon to a tomb believed to be that of Jesus. Scripture relates how Jesus was crucified at Golgotha ("the place of the skull"). This hill depicts a skull-shape only a hundred meters from the site of the tomb located outside the Old City walls. It's considered by many to be a legitimate location for the Tomb of Jesus, as burial places were considered illegal within the city walls.

Matthew 27:33
They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). (NIV)

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The Garden Tomb

The Garden Tomb
The garden tomb of Jesus. Text and Image: © Kichura

The Garden Tomb is the location where Protestant Christians believe Jesus was buried.

The Garden Tomb, discovered by a British soldier, General Gordon in 1883, is the site where most Protestant Christians believe that Jesus Christ was buried. (Catholics and Orthodox Christians believe Jesus was buried only feet away from his crucifixion, in the Tomb of Christ located in the Church of the Holy Sepulture.) Located outside the Old City walls (north of the Damascus Gate), the Garden Tomb is considered an authentic burial site because of the skull-shaped cliff near the tomb.

John 19:41
At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. (NIV)

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St. Peter in Gallicantu Church

St. Peter in Gallicantu Church
Gallicantu Church. Text and Image: © Kichura

St. Peter in Gallicantu Church is located on the site where Peter denied knowing Christ.

Located on the eastern side of Mount Zion, St. Peter in Gallicantu Church was built in 1931 over the spot where Peter denied knowing Christ. It's also the site of Caiaphas' palace where Jesus was brought to trial. The name, "Gallicantu" means "the cock's crow" and is taken from the event when Peter denied knowing Jesus three times, as the cock crowed each time.

Luke 22:61
At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord's words flashed through Peter's mind: "Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me." (NLT)

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Remains of Simon Peter's House

Simon Peter's House
Simon Peter's House in Capernaum. Text and Image: © Kichura

These are the remains of the house where Simon Peter lived in Capernaum.

Christians from the earliest of times have believed this was the house of Simon Peter, as the name "Peter" is inscribed on its walls. The house was expanded in the fourth century AD. Today the remains of the house may be the exact place where Jesus ministered to Peter's mother-in-law.

Matthew 8:14-15
When Jesus arrived at Peter's house, Peter's mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for him. (NLT)

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Synagogue of Capernaum

Synagogue of Capernaum
Synagogue of Capernaum where Jesus taught. Text and Image: © Kichura

This Synagogue of Capernaum beside the Sea of Galilee is believed to be a place where Jesus would have spent much time teaching.

The site of Capernaum is on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, about one mile east of the Mount of the Beatitudes. This Synagogue of Capernaum is believed to be a first-century synagogue. If so, Jesus probably would have taught here often. As Capernaum was Jesus' home base, it was here where he lived and ministered, as well as called his first disciples and performed scores of miracles.

Matthew 4:13
He went first to Nazareth, then left there and moved to Capernaum, beside the Sea of Galilee, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. (NLT)

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Sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee where Jesus walked on water. Text and Image: © Kichura

Much of the ministry of Jesus occurred around the Sea of Galilee, the place where he and Peter walked on water.

Fed from the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee is actually a freshwater lake approximately 12.5 miles long and 7 miles wide. It is well-known for being a central location in the ministry of Jesus Christ. From this site Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, fed the five thousand and walked upon the water.

Mark 6:47-55
When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified.

Immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." (NIV)

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Caesarea Amphitheater

Caesarea Amphitheater
Roman Amphitheater in Caesarea. Text and Image: © Kichura

This Amphitheater is located about 60 miles northwest of Jerusalem in Caesarea.

In the first century B.C., Herod the Great rebuilt what was then known as "Starton's Tower," renaming it "Caesarea" in honor of the Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar. It was here in Caesarea that Simon Peter shared the gospel with Cornelius, a Roman centurion who became the first Gentile convert.

Acts 10:44-46
Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message. The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. (NLT)

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Cave of Adullam

Cave of Adullam
Cave of Adullam where David hid from Saul. Text and Image: © Kichura

This Cave of Adullam is the site where David hid from King Saul.

Originally, an underground cavern, the Cave of Adullam was near the town of Adullam. This is the cave where David hid from King Saul when Saul sought to kill him. What's more, it wasn't far from where David slew the giant Goliath, in the hills of Judah.

I Samuel 22:1-5
David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father's household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him. (NIV)

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Mount Nebo Memorial Stone to Moses

Mount Nebo Memorial of Moses
Mount Nebo Memorial of Moses. Text and Image: © Kichura

This Memorial Stone to Moses sits atop Mount Nebo in Moab.

This stone, atop Mount Nebo, is a memorial dedicated to Moses where he viewed the Promised Land. When Moses went up to Mount Nebo in Moab, the Lord let him see the Promised Land but told him he could not enter. Moab is also the land where Moses would die and be buried.

Deuteronomy 32:49-52
"Go up into the Abarim Range to Mount Nebo in Moab, across from Jericho, and view Canaan, the land I am giving the Israelites as their own possession. There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people ... Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance; you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel." (NIV)

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Masada Desert Fortress

Masada Desert Fortress
Masada Monastery. Text and Image: © Kichura

The Masada Monastery was a desert fortress overlooking the Dead Sea.

Around 35 BC King Herod built the fortress of Masada as a refuge. Located on the eastern edge of the Judean Desert and the Dead Sea, the Masada became the last hold-out of the Jews against the Romans during the Jewish rebellion in 66 AD. Tragically, thousands of Jews bravely chose suicide rather than be taken captive by the Romans.

Psalm 18:2
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (NIV)

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Herod's Masada Palace

Herod's Masada Palace
Herod's Masada Palace. Text and Image: © Kichura

These ruins of Herod's palace stand at the top of Masada.

At his Masada palace, King Herod built three levels, all with spectacular views. His palace also contained defense walls and an elaborate system of channels that could funnel rain into 12 large cisterns cut into the Masada cliffs. Christians remember Herod as the killer of innocent children.

Matthew 2:16
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. (NIV)

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Golden Calf Altar at Dan

Golden Calf Altar
King Jeroboam's golden calf altar at Dan. Text and Image: © Kichura

This Altar of the Golden Calf was one of two "high place" altars built by King Jeroboam.

King Jeroboam placed two altars--one at Bethel and another at Dan. According to archaeological evidence, bull images represented the gods or bearers of them. Israel's calf idols were destroyed when the northern kingdom of Israel fell in 722 BC. When the Assyrians went on to defeat the ten tribes, the idols were raided for their gold.

1 Kings 12:26-30
Jeroboam thought to himself, "The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam." After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. And this thing became a sin ... (NIV)

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Qumran Caves

Qumran Caves
Qumran Caves contained the Dead Sea Scrolls. Text and Image: © Kichura

Original manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible, the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls, were discovered in the caves of Qumran.

In 1947 when a young shepherd boy threw a rock into a cave near Khirbet Qumran (about 13 miles east of Jerusalem), trying to drive out an animal, he was led to the first findings of the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls. Ten other caves in this abandoned area (along the Dead Sea) were found to contain other original scrolls. The scrolls, written on papyrus, parchment, and copper, were safely hidden in jars and preserved for two thousand years because of the region's arid climate.

Joshua 1:8
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (NIV)