After visiting Herodium the bus took us the town of Jesus Birth, Bethlehem. For some reasons I was surprised at how steep streets are there. The second surprise I had in Bethlehem was the Church of Nativity, the only church in the Holy Land that has been there sins it was built. Again for some reasons I thought that the interior of the Basilica is overcrowded with various religious items. However the body of the church is more plain than ornamented. The sanctuary adds a bit of decoration but still it is a building with a very simple interior. The visit to the grotto of Nativity located under the sanctuary brought out memory of Christmas especially when during a brief midday prayer a Christmas carol was sung.
On the way back to Jerusalem we could admire the city from an excellent outlook. Upon returning to the Holy City we arrived at the Mount of Olives. As I could see as we were driving it is a range not a single hill. The slope descending to the Mount Moriah “hosts” graves of Jews who wanted to be buried there in order to be the first ones to raise on the Day of the Resurrection. The walk down the hill took us to the Church Christus flevit. The church has a shape of a tear to remember the tears Jesus shade over his own city. The very cozy interior focuses the attention of the visitors on the altar window overlooking the Old City. I guess the church captures well what Jesus saw as he was approaching the city. The second site visited that day was the Church of Gethsemane. The darkish interior expresses well the state of soul our Lord had in the hours proceeding his passion and death. The ancient Olive Trees in the adjacent garden show how tough and long lived olive trees are.