City of David & Going Up the Stairs
We are now going to be leaving the Kotel plaza, be sure to walk backwards and knock into a few people on the way.
To the south, you will notice an excavation, which is marked by the disorganized stones. Through the course of digging, they have found stones and ancient artifacts, such as peoples’ flower pots. Flower pots is what ancient people used to do. As we leave the Old City, we will walk down to the City of David, where they are digging to find more ancient flower pots. If you find a flower pot, you may not take it. The Israeli government owns all flower pots in Israel. For this reason, do not purchase any pottery.
Awesome. Look under Robinson’s arch. A platform for the non-Orthodox people. As many non-traditional services like to use a guitar, the Kotel committee built them a stage. In this area, men and women are allowed to pray together, as long as the Women of the Wall are not there, stopping them.
The Dung Gate (if that is what they call it) leads out to Silwan neighborhood, discernible as a non-predominantly Jewish area with its lack of road planning, and the City of David. Look, they are digging down there too. They found a pot. It must have belonged to King David. King David had flowers.
The beauty of what you are seeing at this excavation and at all excavations around Israel is that everything that existed a long time ago belonged to somebody famous. 500 to 3,000 years ago, there were only very famous people that lived. Look, you can see a grave site of somebody famous. Wait, it is a saint. The pot belonged to somebody famous too. They found rocks that belonged to a famous wall, known as Robinson.
There is a dig over here. A long time ago, a prophet dug a path. As the story goes: He was digging. He told the people with him that ‘If we dig from this end to that end, there will be a tunnel.’ And lo and behold, they dug and there was a tunnel. Known as Hezekiah’s tunnel, the Gihon Spring runs through it. They give King Hezekiah credit for the tunnel because he built it, and they saw it before Robinson did.
We are now going to walk through Hezekiah’s tunnel. To get the full experience of becoming very uncomfortable, nobody should bring a swimsuit or shoes that they do not mind getting whet. We are now going to sit in the Silwan pool, to make sure that we do not leave this part of the tour with any part of your pants left dry. We are now going to take a break to eat some Sloppy-joes so that you can stain your shirts.
Now you can find parking. The drive through the Old City was a something, wasn’t it?
Temple Mount- The location of the Dome of the Rock. If the Jewish people were allowed to pray up there, we would probably not be talking about the Kotel. But the Kotel sounds real cool.
We are not going to be able to walk up to the Temple Mount, as we showed up too late. Tomorrow, we will try to wake up at 4am, so we can make it by the allotted time that Jews are allowed up on the Temple Mount, between dawn and the first appearance of any kind of sunlight.
Domb of The Rock- The tradition is that it is ours. Their tradition is that it is theirs. My tradition is that it is mine. There is a rock inside there. A very big rock. Apparently, it is the foundation stone of the earth and the place where Abraham was going to sacrifice Yitzchak. I am not allowed inside.
If you make it inside, you can see Muslims praying, 5 times a day, on the floor. At the Kotel, you can see the Jews bowing with their heads bent over a little. It would appear that the Jewish people all have bad backs and arthritis.
We are now going to go on the rooftop tour of the Old City, we will teach you how to trespass. You will walk on peoples’ roofs without asking.
A lesson in Middle Eastern living. Do not ask any questions. They might say ‘no.’ Walk on their homes and continue what you are doing, until you can claim it as yours. Ottoman law. We are not living under Ottoman rule anymore, however it does help when claiming land you do not own.
You do not need permission, I am a tour guide. I know a few of these people.
You can see the random kids playing on the roof. Notice one jumping over the roof’s fence to get the ball. Happens every day.
Homes are built on top of homes without request of the owners. No permission. Hell, we do not have permission to be walking on these homes either. These are the same laws which have been adopted for renovations. You are allowed to do whatever you want to your neighbors home and quality of living, as long as you are making noise and you do not ask. Even so, that noise cannot be between 2pm and 4pm, as that is siesta and that is when people are awake.
You can tell the centuries that the homes were built in, by the lines in the bricks of the sand on the bottom of houses. Those lines represent Walleed’s growth over the course of his childhood.
The Burnt House- It got Burnt. For this reason, we call it the Burnt House. We are moving. We are moving. We are stopping. We are eating.
Those are the stairs that go down to the Kotel and come up from the Kotel. Everybody, find a stroller and grab the front end, and help the mothers up the stairs. Now that you have had the full Kotel experience, you can get your red ribbon. The red ribbon is symbolic.