St. George's Cathedral, Jerusalem [dark version]
The building of the Cathedral Church of St George’s and the Cathedral Close was begun in 1891 under the stewardship of Bishop Blyth, the fourth Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem. The Cathedral was consecrated by the Bishop of Salisbury in 1898.
The architect, George Jeffery, designed a typically English collegiate quadrangle. Pilgrims entered through the Gate Tower in the outer west wall where the mounting block for horses can still be seen. Horse and carriage was the means of transport which explains the narrow gateway: a challenge to twenty-first century forms of transport.
The Cathedral lies to the east of the quadrangle, the clergy housing (now the Guesthouse) to the north and the Bishop’s residence to the south. The central monument constitutes a large column, thought to be Byzantine in date, topped by a Roman cannonball and Byzantine cross.
The Cathedral is home today to two congregations: the indigenous Palestinian Anglicans and a community of expatriate English speaking members.
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Modern civilization began right here in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley. Also known as the Fertile Crescent or Mesopotamia, this is the place where, six thousand years ago, agriculture, writing and mathematics were brought into widespread use.
The term "Middle East" comes from the British navy, which used it to describe the countries on the trade route from Europe to India and China. Everything from Afghanistan to Morocco may possibly be classified as "middle eastern", depending on whom you ask -- and when.
Only a partial list of past Empires in the middle eastern territory includes Sumeria, Babylonia, Persia, the Ottoman Empire and the Roman Empire!
When northern Europe was still lurking about in slimy cold stone castles playing chess, the Middle East was enjoying the flowers of poetry, luxurious craftsmanship, music and literature. In fact, the Renaissance in Europe was partly inspired by stories brought back from the middle east by travelers along the trade route.
Strategic location, religious history and the world's largest supply of crude oil have kept the Middle East at the center of world activity for centuries. The saga continues.
Text by Steve Smith.