DATA RE THE WESTERN WALL IN JERUSALEM
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On the platform above the Western Wall, sits today what to me, at least, is the most beautiful building that I have ever seen - The Dome of the Rock. While I assemble some data about the building, & search for quality images, I will provide here three maps, one very ancient, one over 100 years old & the final map relatively new. The first two "maps" come courtesy of the University of Southern Maine, which has on its splendid site an amazing number of ancient maps from all around the world. Do visit their Jerusalem Exhibit by clicking here.
But like all of my pages, this page will expand as I introduce additional data that interests me & may well interest you also. But a reminder as always. This page and the site to which the above link takes you, are designed for a 1024 x 768 screen setting.
The University of Southern Maine website describes the map which forms the first of the images below in some considerable detail (modified in the presentation below). I must add that the complete print, a woodcut of 27.4 x 128.4 cm in size, was published in 1486 & appears here courtesy of the Osher Collection. I have presented above just the central portion of the print, that which depicts the city of Jerusalem. The complete print, available here presents a panoramic depiction of the region extending from Damascus & Tripolis in the north to the Red Sea & Alexandria in the south.
"This is the earliest printed map of the Holy Land based on contemporary eyewitness sources. It appeared in the first illustrated travel guide to the Holy Land, written by German author Bernhard von Breydenbach, ca. 1440-1497, a Deacon of the Mainz Cathedral. Breydenbach's account is based on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1483, accompanied by Erhard Reuwich, ca. 1460-1490, an accomplished Dutch artist who made on-site sketches for later use as woodcut illustrations.
Although this map was made at a time when Jerusalem was under Islamic rule, the holy sites are designated by their Christian names. Viewed from the Mount of Olives, the Dome of the Rock ("Templum Salomonis") is seen at the center, with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre ("Templum gloriosum Domini Sepulchri") above and to the right; a hospice for pilgrims stands between the two shrines. These and many other sites are depicted with unusual accuracy stemming from firsthand observation, in contrast to the more common renditions based on vague scriptural descriptions or pure imagination. Accordingly, the map was extraordinarily useful to pilgrims and was widely copied."
And next is a "Bird's eye view of Jerusalem", published ca. 1900 in West Roxbury, Mass., courtesy of the University of Southern Maine & the Kyram Collection. A coloured lithograph, 43.7 x 67.4 cm in size, it depicts, I am advised, the traditional view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, with Jesus weeping over the city. It was produced by an American Syro-Maronite church belonging to a Roman Catholic sect based in Lebanon, & was apparently designed as a souvenir for pilgrims. Christian, Islamic, & Jewish holy sites are shown. For this page, I slightly rotated the image in order to make it as close to horizontal as I could, so by all means see the original image here.
And last on this page, so far at least, is a map of Jerusalem today. Now you would think that a map of similar simplicity & content could be readily found on the WWW. Not so! I have found maps of every conceivable variety but none as good as the map that follows which is by Encyclopedia Brittanica Inc. & dated 1997. In view of its date, it probably is already "out of date". But it does show the tunnel under the Western Wall & I am glad to be able to show you that. I hope that "Encyclopedia Brittanica" will not object to its presentation here. If they do, I will gladly remove it.