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Sunday, April 6, 2014


Annunciation Basilica of Nazareth

Church Door

Excavated Ruins of Nazareth under Church

In Jordan, Syria, and Turkey I always rented a car to travel which made it great for photography as it was possible to stop any place and to get to any spot at the best time to photograph. While it is possible to rent cars here it is a problem due to the heavy traffic, lack of road signs in English, and problems taking cars into and through the West Bank were the insurance would not extend.

To see areas outside Jerusalem I plan to take tours and today took one to the Sea of Galilee. All tours here are set up to take in all the religious points and this all day tour had many stops for any where from 15 to 35 minutes. The driver would drop us off and give us the exact time to meet there again as it was impossible to park at a lot of the locations. Not the best situation for photography but at least a way to get around the country. Israelis are not permitted in the west bank and at a couple checkpoints we had to show our passports to the Palestinian authorities.

The other difference in Israel is that you seldom are able to get into historic sights only modern buildings on top of the sites. In Jordan we could walk into Petra and walk through Crusader forts. In Syria you could walk through the ruins of the Roman town of Palmyra. The same in the caves of Cappadocia or the city of Ephesus in Turkey or the ruins of Baalbek in Lebanon. Here all the religious sites consist of modern churches built on the ruins of the previous several churches which were built over the original ruins.

Nazareth is one example. The Basilica of the Annunciation is a modern Catholic church built over Byzantine and Crusader churches which were built over the grotto of the Virgin Mary.

It seems that many religions want to build on what they consider holy sights. The Christan Church in the old city of Jerusalem built in the 1800's was one of several churches, the first built by Helena in AD 326, over Christian sites that were at the time outside the city walls of the time. It is shared by six Christian denominations.

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