What was the Description of Jerusalem in 1880?
JERUSALEM IN 1880
The present city is built upon the ruins of the ancient Holy City. The buildings, walls, towers, and bridges of the city of David and Solomon, of Hezekiah, of Nehemiah and Ezra, of the Maccabees, and of Herod, have been demolished, so that the depth of the rubbish around the temple-walls is nearly 100 feet; on the hill of Zion the rubbish is 40 feet deep, and on the Via Dolorosa it is from 15 to 30 feet deep. The buildings, walls, streets, and towers now standing on these sacred hills cannot with any certainty be identified with the structures which adorned the city 2000 years ago, and whose very foundations, so far as discovered, lie buried many feet below the present surface.
Environs of Jerusalem. -- To gain a clear view of the places immediately around modern Jerusalem we may begin on the east side of the city, near the Mount of Olives. Passing by the Birket-Israel, identified by some as the Pool of Bethesda, we go out of St. Stephen's gate, and cross a bridge leading over the Kedron or "black brook," which runs southward through a deep valley, now dry above the springs. This valley is also called the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and an old tradition makes it the scene of the last judgment, founded on a misinterpretation of Joel 3:2. At the resurrection the sides of the valley, according to this tradition, will move apart to give suffcient room for the vast assembly. Beyond the Kedron is the modern chapel of the Tomb of the Virgin, near which is the traditional Cavern of Agony, and a short distance farther on, upon the slope at the foot of Olivet, is the garden of Gethsemane. It is now enclosed and in charge of Franciscan monks. It contains a number of venerable olive trees, whose large trunks, some of them 19 feet in circumference, are burst from age, and have been shored up with stones. These trees are said to date from the time of Christ; but this is questionable, since it is certain Titus and Hadrian cut down all the trees about Jerusalem. They are, however, of great age, and may be the descendants of some trees that were standing here in our Lord's day. See Gethsemane. From this garden three roads lead up the slopes of Olivet -- one to the south, around the top of the mount, another to the north, and a third, or middle path, leads up the steepest part to the summit. See Olivet. The view of Jerusalem from Mount Olivet is the finest that can be secured. Bethany lies a short distance east of the summit of Olivet. See Bethany. In the valley south of Olivet are the Tombs of the Prophets, no doubt belonging to the Jewish period. To the west of Gethsemane a road leads down the Kedron valley, by which stands the so-called Tomb of Absalom (see Absalom), and beyond are the Tomb of Jehoshaphat and the Tomb or Pyramid of Zacharias.
Above these, to the east, the whole slope of the hill is covered with Jewish tombstones, and to the south of these lies the village of Silcan, or Siloah. The southern part of the Mount of Olives, on which this village is situated, is called also the Mount of Offence, from 1 Kgs 11:7. To the west are the valleys of Jehoshaphat and of Hinnom. To the south, down the Valley of Jehoshaphat, is the Pool of Siloah and St. Mary's Well, which is fed by an intermittent spring; still farther down the valley is Job's Fountain, probably the "En-rogel" or fullers' spring of Josh 15:7 and 1 Kgs 1:9. To the west of this is the mouth of the Valley of Hinnom, always dry, on the south of which is the Mount of Evil Counsel, upon which tradition, probably correctly, places Aceldama, "potter's field" or "the field of blood." Matt 27:7-8. The hill is full of rock-tombs. At the foot of this mount, the bottom of the Valley of Hinnom was called Tophet. 2 Kgs 23:10; Isa 30:33; Jer 7:31; Jer 19:11. North of this valley, and upon the southern portion of the hill of Zion -- which was formerly included within the walls of the city, but is now outside the city (as the present walls only embrace the northern portion of Zion) -- are the Jewish and Christian burying-grounds. In the portion of Zion outside the city walls Porter saw oxen ploughing, in fulfilment of the prophecy, "Zion shall be ploughed like a field." Jer 26:18; Mic 3:12. An old aqueduct runs past Zion's gate and into the city between that gate and the gate eastward of it, supposed to be the dung-gate. Across the Valley of Hinnom, to the westward, is the large Jewish hospice, a modern structure founded by Sir Moses Montefiore, while between this and the south-western corner of the present wall is the Pool of the Sultan, 175 yards long, 73 yards wide, and from 35 to 41 feet deep, partly filled with rubbish. This pool is by some identified with the "lower pool" of Isa 22:9. North of this pool is a conduit, which runs from Solomon's pools into the city, a Greek monastery, a leper hospital, and the Birket-Mamilla, or "Mamilla pool." 291 by 192 feet, and 19 feet deep, which may be the "upper pool" Gihon, Isa 7:3, or, as Baedeker proposes, the Serpent's pool of Josephus. These are upon the south side of the road, leading from Jaffa (Joppa) into Jerusalem by the Jaffa-gate on the west side of the city. Crossing this road to the north are the Kussian buildings, a church, a monastery, and a hospice: outside the city, and farther north, in the city wall, is the Damascus-gate, to the north of which, outside the wall, is the Grotto of Jeremiah, near which many place the true site of Calvary. Farther from the city wall, to the north, are the so-called Tombs of the Kings, and beyond these the hill Scopus, which is the northern extension of Olivet and completes our circuit of the city.
The City and its Divisions. -- The present city of Jerusalem stands upon the northern portions of the hill of Zion and of Moriah, the part of the old city known as Acra, and upon Bezetha, a portion of Jerusalem which dates from Agrippa, a.d. 42, The walls now exclude the southern sections of the hill of Zion and of Ophel. The city is also divided into four quarters by the main streets, and these quarters are named from the classes of inhabitants which dwell in Jerusalem. The largest division, in the north-eastern part of the city, is known as the Mohammedan quarter; west of this is the Greek and Frank, or Christian quarter; to the south of it lies the Armenian quarter; while to the east of the Armenian and to the south of the Mohammedan lies the Jewish quarter.
Jerusalem is now enclosed by a wall (dating from Suleiman in the sixteenth century), 38 1/2 feet high, having 34 towers and 7 gates. The town as thus walled in forms an irregular quadrangle of about 2 1/2 miles in circumference, around which a person can easily walk in an hour. The city has few open spaces; the streets are generally narrow, crooked, and poorly paved; and the narrower streets are mere blind-alleys, exceedingly filthy after a rain. The chief streets form the boundaries of the principal quarters of the town. The Damascus and Bazaar streets, from the north, separate the Moslem from the Christian or Greek quarter, and farther south divide the Jewish from the Armenian quarter. The main street, running from the Jaffa-gate to the Haram area, first divides the Christian from the Armenian quarter, and to the eastward separates the Moslem from the Jewish quarter. See Baedeker's Palestine.
The seven important gates are: in the west wall,
(1) The Yafa or Jaffa gate; in the north wall,
(2) the Damascus gate, and
(3) Herod's gate, closed for 25 years, but of late opened a portion of the year; in the east wall,
(4) St. Stephen's gate and
(5) the Golden gate, long since walled up; in the south wall,
(6) Babel-Mayharibeh, or the so-called dung-gate, and
(7) Sion's gate. There are also other gates, now closed up; as, the triple gate, the double or Huldah gate, and another old gate adjoining it, walled up.
The city has no springs, but it is supplied with water by cisterns filled from the rain-falls on the roofs of the houses, by pools, of which there are six or more in and about the city, and by conduits and wells or springs outside the town. The chief pools have been already noticed. They may be here grouped together:The Birket-Mamilla, Birket Sultan, Pool of Siloam, Fountain or Pool of the Virgin, Birket-Israel, and the Pool of Hezekiah. "The Birket-Mamilla," says Crosby, "is supposed to be the upper pool, Isa 7:3; 2 Kgs 18:17. It lies 2000 feet west of the Jaffa-gate, The Birket-Sultan is a section of the great western valley dammed up for more than 500 feet. The Pool of Siloam, Neh 3:15 John 9:7, is in the mouth of the Tyropaeon, at its junction with the Hinnom and the Kedron valleys. It was probably used to irrigate the king's garden. It is connected, by a long, rude, and crooked subterranean passage, with the Fountain of the Virgin, on the other side of Ophel, from which the water flows softly. . . . The Fountain of the Virgin is a pool on the eastern side of the Ophel rock, to which is a descent of 28 steps. The water comes into it from the direction of the temple, but has never been traced. It has a periodic and sudden rise of a foot in height, the periods varying from two to three times a day to once in two or three days. This periodic troubling of the water seems to mark the Fountain of the Virgin as the Pool of Bethesda, unless we may suppose that a pool farther up on the temple-mount formerly received this intermittent flow. The requirements of the sheep-gate (see above) seem to put Bethesda farther north. The Birket-Israel, just inside St. Stephen's gate and north of the Haram (supposed by Robinson to be the trench of Antonia), is the damming up of the valley that runs east of Bezetha in a south-eastern direction, originally under the north-eastern corner of the Haram into the Kedron. . . The Pool of Hezekiah is north of the Jaffa-gate street; ... is supplied by an aqueduct from the Birket-Mamilla. ... A system of wells and aqueducts in the Kedron ravine below Jerusalem (the En-rogel of antiquity) presents features of peculiar interest. One of the several ancient aqueducts still conducts the water from Solomon's pools beyond Bethlehem to the city." Crosby in Johnson's Cyclopaedia, vol. ii. p. 1398.
The Buildings. -- The houses in Jerusalem are built chiefly of stone, and are two or three stories high, and owing to the scarcity of timber even many of the roofs are also of stone. The roofs are generally flat, supported by vaults and arches below. Some, however, are domeshaped. There are few windows opening on the streets; these openings are chiefly toward the interior open court of the house. The more important buildings are -- those in the Haram enclosure on Mount Moriah: the "Dome of the Rock" or mosque of Omar, mosque El-Aksa, the mosque known as the Throne of Solomon; those in the Christian quarter: the church of the Holy Sepulchre, Coptic convent, Abyssinian monastery, Muristan, or ruins of the knights-hospitallers, nine convents, and two hotels; those in the Mohammedan quarter: church of Mary Magdalene, church of St. Anne, two convents, Pilate's hall, two mosques, the city prison; in the Jewish quarter: two synagogues, three hospitals, and a spot of the deepest interest, known as the "Jews' Wailing-place;" in the Armenian quarter: tower of David, tower of Hippicus, four convents, the lepers' quarter, and the church of St. James.
Haram esh-Sherif. -- The extent of this enclosure, which covers the ground on which the temple stood, is, according to the British Ordnance Survey, on the north wall, 1042 feet; east, 1530 feet; south, 922 feet; west, 1601; or a total circumference of 5095 (nearly a mile), and the total area is .35 acres. Near the centre of the enclosure is a raised platform, upon which once stood the temple of Solomon, later the less glorious temple of Zerubbabel, and last the temple of Herod, which was built in the time of Christ, and was destroyed by the Romans, a.d. 70. The attempt to rebuild the Jewish temple under Julian the Apostate, a.d. 362, was a complete failure, as already noticed. See p. 440. During the reign of Hadrian, a.d. 136, a temple of Jupiter occupied this sacred spot, and a shrine of Venus was placed upon the site of the Holy Sepulchre. In place of the temple now stands the Kubbet es-Sakhara,
The Mosque of Omar and the Haram Area. "Dome of the Rock," or mosque of Omar -- "perhaps", says Hepworth Dixon, "the very noblest specimen of building-art in Asia." "It is," says Schaff, "the most prominent as well as the most beautiful building in the whole city, it stands out conspicuously in every picture of Jerusalem. ... It is the second mosque of Islam, inferior only to that of Mecca, as Jerusalem is its second sacred city. . . . The mosque stands on an irregular base of 10 feet in height, and is approached by three flights of steps, which terminate in elegant arcades, called 'scales,' because, according to tradition, the scales of judgment are to be suspended here. The mosque is an octagonal building, each side measuring 67 feet. "Baedeker says: "Each of the eight sides is 66 feet in length, and is covered externally as far as the pedestal with porcelain tiles of the Persian style, and lower down with marble. Each tile has been written upon and burned separately. Passages from the Koran, beautifully inscribed in interwoven characters, run round the building like a frieze." The whole structure is 170 feet high, and is surmounted by a dome supported on 4 great piers and 12 Corinthian columns. The design of the building is Byzantine, and Sepp regards it as originally a church of Justinian; others trace its origin to Omar. It has four gates, facing the four cardinal points of the compass. The most interesting object in the mosque is the rock beneath the dome, which is 57 feet long and 43 feet wide, and rises from 1 to 5 or 6 feet above the mosaic marble pavement. It is enclosed by an iron railing. Jewish tradition marks this spot as the place where Melchizedek offered sacrifice, where Abraham offered Isaac, where the ark of the covenant in the holy of holies stood, where the unspeakable name of God was inscribed upon the rock, which Jesus was able to read, and which gave him his power to perform miracles; and finally, that this spot was the centre of the earth. The Mohammedans, not to be outdone by the Jews, accept all these traditions or have improved on them. The excavations of Capts. Wilson and Warren have thrown much light on this portion of Jerusalem, covered as deeply with traditions as with rubbish. By means of a shaft sunk at the west wall and southern extremity of Wilson's Arch, Warren found twenty-one courses of bevelled stones, from 3 feet 8 inches to 4 feet high, making in all 75 feet above the foundation-rock, and all these were in their original position, but covered with debris. These stone blocks, of which the topmost are from 35 to 55 feet below the present surface, are hewn smooth on every side except the outside, where they are bevelled, and are jointed with mortar or cement, but so accurately that a knife cannot be introduced between them. The wall is not perpendicular, but slopes outward toward its base. He inferred that this formed a part of the wall of Solomon's temple. The southern wall, from the double gate to the south-eastern angle, he also regarded as of Solomonic age and as forming a part of Solomon's palace. The south-western portion was more modern, and he supposes a square of 300 feet was added by Herod, and that Herod's temple occupied the whole southern portion of the present sanctuary. On the south-east are immense vaults, and beneath the temple-area immense cisterns were found, of which thirty-three were described. They were cut out of the soft rock, and had a depth of from 25 to 50 feet and a capacity estimated at from 10,000,000 to 12,000,000 of gallons-- enough to furnish a year's supply of water for the whole city. A single cistern, called the "Great Sea," would hold 2,000,000 gallons. The water was supplied partly by the rain and partly by an aqueduct, which connected these reservoirs with Solomon's Pools, beyond Bethlehem and 13 miles from Jerusalem. The overflow from these cisterns was conducted through a rock-cut channel into the valley of the Kedron, which also served as a sewer to carry away the refuse arising from sacrifices of the temple. In the eastern wall of the Haram area a stair ascends to the top of the wall, and the stump of a column built in horizontally may be seen protruding from the wall. The Moslems say that all men will assemble in the Valley of Jehoshaphat when a trumpet blast proclaims the last judgment, and that from this column a thin wire will be stretched to the opposite Mount of Olives, that Christ will sit on the wall and Mohammed on the mount as judges, and that all men will be compelled to pass over the intervening space; the righteous, preserved by angels, will pass quickly and safely over, but the wicked will fall and be thrown into the abyss of hell.
The mosque El-Aksa also stands within the Haram area, and is a complex pile of buildings, "the principal axis of which forms a right angle with the southern wall of the temple-precincts. It dates from Justinian, but has been several times partially in ruins and rebuilt. . . . The building is altogether 270 feet long and about 198 feet in width. The dome is of wood covered with lead, and the windows are in part of stained glass of about the sixteenth century."
Just outside of the enclosure of the mosque El-Aksa, and near Robinson's Arch, is the noted Wailing-place of the Jews. The cyclopean foundation-wall of the temple which bears this name is 156 feet in length and 56 feet in height. Nine of the lowest courses of stone consist of huge blocks; above these are fifteen layers of smaller stones. Some infer, and others deny, that these lower external layers are very ancient. The blocks are certainly old and of vast size, one in the western part being 16 feet, and another in the southern part 13 feet, in length. On Friday numbers of the Jews, old and young, male and female, gather here, kissing the stones, watering them with their tears, and bewailing the downfall of their city, while they read or repeat from their well-worn Hebrew Bibles and prayer-books the Lamentations of Jeremiah and suitable Psalms, as the 76th and 79th. The following is an extract from their litany:
Leader: For the palace that lies desolate:
-- Response: We sit in solitude and mourn.
L. For the palace that is destroyed:--
R. We sit, etc.
L. For the walls that are overthrown:--
R. We sit, etc.
L. For our majesty that is departed:--
R. We sit, etc.
L. For our great men who lie dead:-
R. We sit, etc.
L. For the precious stones that are burned :--
R. We sit, etc.
L. For the priests who have stumbled:--
R. We sit, etc.
L. For our kings who have despised Him:--
R. We sit, etc.
Another antiphon is as follows: --
Leader: We pray Thee, have mercy on Zion :
-- Response: Gather the children of Jerusalem.
L. Haste, haste, Redeemer of Zion!--
R. Speak to the heart of Jerusalem.
L. May beauty and majesty surround Zion! --
R. Ah! turn thyself mercifully to Jerusalem.
L. May the kingdom soon return to Zion! --
R. Comfort those who mourn over Jerusalem.
L. May peace and joy abide with Zion! --
R. And the branch (of Jesse) spring up at Jerusalem.
See Baedeker's Palestine.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre ranks next to the temple-area in interest to the Christian. It is a "collection," says Schaff, "of chapels and altars of different ages, and a unique museum of religious curiosities from Adam to Christ.. . . In the centre of the rotunda, beneath the dome, is a small marble chapel, where pilgrims from every land in a ceaseless stream are going in and out, otfering candles and kneeling before and kissing the empty [reputed] tomb of Christ." The church is also claimed to possess a piece of marble of Christ's sepulchre, the stone of anointment, three holes in which the crosses of Christ and of the two robbers were inserted, a cleft in the rock caused by the earthquake, the very spot where Christ was scourged, where his friends stood afar off, where his garments were parted, where the gardener appeared to Mary, the rockhewn tombs of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, the tombs of Adam, Melchizedek, and John the Baptist, and "the centre of the world." It is of course Tombs. -- Some of the rock-tombs about the city have already been noticed. The ground in the vicinity of Jerusalem has been described as one "vast cemetery" In the days of King Josiah "the graves of the children of the people" were in the valley of the Kedron. 2 Kgs 23:6. The great Jewish cemetery is on the slope of Olivet; the Tombs of the Prophets are near the southern peak of Olivet; the Tombs of the Kings are half a mile north of the Damascus gate; and about a mile beyond are the Tombs of the Judges. Portions of the western side of the valley of the Kedron are still full of tombs.
The Inhabitants. -- The present population of Jerusalem is variously estimated, as no census has been taken. Robinson, in 1841, made the total population 11,500, but later was inclined to place it at 17,000. Drake (1874) puts it at 20,900, Baedeker 24,000; Dr. Neuman, a Jewish physician 15 years a resident of the city, estimates it at 36,000. Baedeker distributes the 24,000 as follows: 13,000 Moslems, 7000 Christians, 4000 Jews. The Turkish statistics of 1871 give the number of families or houses: 1025 Moslem, 630 Jewish, 299 Orthodox Greek, 179 Latin, 175 Armenian, 44 Coptic, 18 Greek Catholic, 16 Protestant, and 7 Syrian -- in all, 2393 families. Dr. Neuman distributes his estimate of 36,000 into 15,000 Mohammedans, 13,000 Jews, and 8000 Christians, including 5000 Franks. In the Easter season about a dozen languages are now heard there besides the vernacular Arabic, illustrating the scene during the Pentecost. Acts 2:7-11. Drake estimates that the Jews are increasing in Jerusalem at the rate of 1200 to 1500 per year.
The religion of the people also represents various faiths. The Greek Church is the strongest in wealth, numbers, and influence, having the support of the Russian power. Its members are chiefly Arabs, speaking Arabic, while the clergy are mostly foreign Greeks, speaking modern Greek. The Church has several monasteries, churches, two hospices, and two schools. The Old Armenian Church has a resident patriarch, a large monastery, with a printing-oflSce, and a seminary with about 40 students, a nunnery, and a smaller monastery. The Coptic, Ancient Syrian,and Abyssinian Churches each has a small religious community. The Latins, or Roman Catholics, are said to number 1500. In their Franciscan monastery is a printing-press, chiefly used for printing school-books in Arabic, a school for boys, and the Latins also have a hospital and three other schools in the city. The Jews have four holy cities in Palestine: Jerusalem, Safed, Tiberias, and Hebron. In Jerusalem they live largely on the charity of their European brethren. They are divided into three sects; their quarter of the city is squalid, dirty, and uninviting. In Jerusalem, and there only, is the Hebrew language used (by the Jews) in ordinary conversation. The only newspapers printed in the city are in the Hebrew language. The Protestant community in Jerusalem is very small. There is a bishop jointly supported by the Prussian and the English Churches, which maintain a mission and have a church, schools, orphanages, and hospitals. The first Protestant bishop was Alexander, the second, Gobat (died 1879), the third, Barclay (consecrated 1879). There are three Protestant Churches, the English Church of Sion, the native Arab Church, and the German Church, on the property of the Prussian government.
This is Jerusalem in her decay. Of Jerusalem in her grandeur we can only gain more certain knowledge by further thorough archaeological explorations. The Palestine Exploration Fund, under careful and extended excavations by Capts. Wilson (1864) and Warren (1867), made a noble beginning. Among the results of their work were: (1) That the ancient city lies deeply buried beneath the present surface; (2) that the height of the temple-walls was great, as Josephus declares; (3) that Phoenician workmen were employed in building the temple, as stated in the book of Kings. (4) Strong proofs as to the location and extent of the temple-area have been furnished, especially showing the views of Mr. Fergusson and others, that the temple occupied a square of only 600 feet in the south-western angle of the area, to be erroneous. (5) The conjecture of Robinson respecting the location of the bridge over the Tyropaeon has been verified. (6) The water-supply of the city, and particularly of the temple, has been proved to be very extensive and quite abundant.
For the history of Jerusalem, ancient and modern, the following are among the works which may be consulted: Josephus; Eusebius's and Jerome's Onomasticon, French ed., 1862; Reland's, Palaestina ex Monumentis Veteribus Illustrata, Traj. Batav. 1714, 2 vols. sm. 4to; W.H. Bartlett, Walks in and about Jerusalem, 4th. ed., London, 1852, roy. Svo, and his Topography of Jerusalem, 1845; E. Robinson, Biblical Researches, New York, 1841, 3 vols. Svo, and his later Biblical Researches, 1856, Svo; W. Krafft, Die Topocfraphie Jerusalems, Bonn, 1865; Fergusson, Essay on the Ancient Topography of Jerusalem, London, 1847, imp. Svo, and The Holy Sepulchre and the Temple at Jerusalem, Svo; Early Travels in Palestine, edited by T. Wright. London. 1848, post Svo; G. Williams, The Holy City, London, 1849, 2 vols. Svo; J.T. Barclay, The City of the Great King, 1 vol. Svo, pp. 627, 1857; Churchill, Mount Lebanon, London, 1855-62, 4 vols. Svo: W. M. Thomson, The Land and the Book, New York, 1858, 2 vols. 12mo, new ed. 1879; Pierotti, Jerusalem Explored, London, 1864, 2 vols. fol.; Lewin, Siege of Jerusalem by Titus, London, demy Svo; H. B. Tristram, The Land of Israel, London, 1865, demy Svo; Titus Tobler's Palestinse Descriptiones, 1869, Svo; and Topographic con Jerusalem, Berlin, 1854, 2 vols.: Captains Wilson and Warren, Recovery of Jerusalem, London, 1871, demy Svo; Reynolds, The History of the Temple of Jerusalem (Public. Oriental Trans. Com., vol. 451 ); J. L. Porter, Syria's Holy Places, 12mo, 1873; Thrupp's Ancient Jerusalem; A.Thomson, In the Holy Land, London, 1874, 12mo; Captains Wilson, Anderson, Warren, etc., Our Work in Palestine, London, 1875, Svo; Murray's Handbook of Syria and Palestine, 1875; Besant and Palmer, History of Jerusalem, London, or. Svo; Ordnance Survey of Jerusalem, with Notes by Captain Wilson, London, 2 vols, Baedeker, Palestine and Syria, Leipsic, 1876; Warren's Underground Jerusalem, 1876; C.E.T. Drake, Modern Jerusalem, London, 1877, Svo; Schaff, Through Bible Lands, New York, 1878, 12mo; C. R. Conder, Tent-work in Palestine, 2 vols. 12mo, 1878; Quarterly Statements Palestine Exploration Fund, 1872-1880, and the large Maps of that Society with the Memoirs, 1884.
Bibliography Information Schaff, Philip, Dr. "Biblical Definition for 'jerusalem in 1880' in Schaffs Bible Dictionary". bible-history.com - Schaff's