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Tomb and Altair of the Blessed Virgin Mary 01L - Jerusalem
Middle East
At the base of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem is a Crusader church said to mark the Tomb of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. Centered around a quarried-out tomb that may well date from the first century, the cave church is festooned with hanging lamps and highly atmospheric. The lower church at the bottom of the stairs is a Byzantine (5th-century) crypt, partly hewn out of rock and featuring original Byzantine masonry. The area is dimly lit and the walls are blackened with centuries of smoke, giving the place an air of great antiquity. The room is opulantly decorated with icons and a forest of hanging lanterns. There is a built apse to the west and a longer rock-cut apse to the east, in which Mary's tomb is marked by a small square chapel. It is quite similar to her son's tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The altar inside the tomb conceals the remains of a bench tomb that may date from the 1st century. A niche south of the tomb is a mihrab indicating the direction of Mecca, installed when Muslims had joint rights to the church. Altars of the Greeks and Armenians also share the east apse; an Ethiopian altar and cistern occupies the west apse.
Copyright: Zoran Strajin
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 12012x6006
Taken: 16/07/2016
Uploaded: 12/03/2017
Updated: 28/03/2017


Tags: tomb; church; israel; jerusalem; virgin; mary; grotto; religion; low light; long exposure; altair; ortodox; east jerusalem; icon
More About Middle East

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.

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