Bells and tombs in the Christian Quarter

Our guide wanted us to see Jerusalem from a different perspective than that provided on the standard Old City tour.

April 17, 2014 11:55

A stained-glass window in the Latin Patriarchate.. (photo credit: SHMUEL BAR-AM)


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Just inside the Jaffa Gate, there is a tiny cemetery. Buried within, behind an iron fence, are two hapless engineers – or perhaps an architectural duo. Hired in 1538 by Turkish sultan Suleiman the Magnificent to plan and execute restoration of the city walls, they lie beneath lovely, ornate tombs. One of them is still topped with a stunning stone turban.

Local tradition maintains that an enraged Suleiman had them executed when he learned that despite his orders, they had left Mount Zion outside the enclosed city. Yet as due their rank, they were buried near the all-important Jaffa Gate.


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