Exploring the Holy Land web site created by James E. Lancaster, Ph.D.
Copyright 1997, 2001, 2006, 2009, 2011

Exploring Jerusalem

Jerusalem in 19th Century Art

A virtual gallery of nearly fifty 19th century engravings and lithographs takes you on a tour around and through the Old City of Jerusalem, with recent photographs showing how many of the scenes look today. Visit the 19th Century Jerusalem Gallery.

Jerusalem: Then and Now

A virtual photo gallery takes you to selected archaeological and religious sites, showing how they looked in 1952 and 1964 and how they look now. Visit the Then and Now Photo Gallery.

City of David and Hezekiah's Tunnel

Experience what it's like to step back in time and walk through a 2,700-year old water tunnel - with about three and one-half feet of water in the tunnel and as little as fifteen inches of head room! The tunnel was constructed by King Hezekiah and is described in the Old Testament. Join me for a Virtual Walk Through Hezekiah's Tunnel.

Byzantine Jerusalem

Late in the 19th century, during excavation and reconstruction of a Byzantine church in Madaba, Jordan, the oldest extant map of the Holy Land was found in the mosaic floor of the church. Prominent in the mosaic, which has been dated to the middle of the 6th century AD, is a detailed map of the Holy City of Jerusalem as it appeared at the height of the Byzantine period (325-638 AD). Read more about Byzantine Jerusalem and the Madaba Map.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Of all the places I've been in the Old City of Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is one of my favorites. The venerable building, parts of which are over 1600 years old, commemorates the site of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Here's a Brief History of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

One of the most interesting places inside the church is the Chapel of St. Vartan. It's on the lower level behind the Chapel of St. Helena and is normaly closed to the public. Here's how I found it: Finding the Keys to the Chapel of St. Vartan .

The photo at left shows the entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. When the church was rebuilt by the Crusaders in the first half of the 12th century it had two entrance doors. Jerusalem fell to the forces of the Muslim calyph Saladin in 1187 and shortly after that he had one of the two doors sealed. It has remained that way for the past 800 years.

Note the small ladder on the ledge above the sealed side of the entrance. The ladder has a fascinating history. Read more about it: The Church and the Ladder: Frozen in Time .

Note: For a more complete history of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre visit the Franciscan Cyberspot's "Church of the Holy Sepulchre" web page.

Beyond Jerusalem

Bethlehem: Then and Now

A virtual photo gallery takes you to the Church of the Nativity, showing how it looked in 1952 and how it looks now. Visit the Then and Now Photo Gallery.

Jericho: Tel Es-Sultan

A virtual photo gallery takes you back to the Bronze Age and even earlier at Tel Es-Sultan in Jericho.

Capernaum: Then and Now

A virtual photo gallery takes you to Capernaum, showing how it looked in 1964 and how it looks now. Visit the Then and Now Photo Gallery.

Recommended Sites

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Background I am not a professional archaeologist. Nor am I a professional photographer or historian. I have a doctorate in engineering and have worked in the aerospace industry for over 40 years. The contents of this web page are the result of my avocational interests in photography, history and archaeology.

My general interest in archaeology is centered around the eastern Mediterranean area. In recent years I've made five trips to Israel (the most recent in July 2000) and have also visited Greece, Turkey (twice), Jordan and Egypt. I've spent quite a bit of time photographing religious, historical and archaeological sites and have a collection of over 3000 35mm slides from Israel and several thousand digital images from Turkey, Jordan and Egypt.

My special interest is the history and archaeology of Jerusalem. You can read about two of my visits in my trip reports: Two Days in Jerusalem in 1992 and A Week in Jerusalem in 1995.

The Biblical Archaeology Review published a letter about the visit my wife and I made to Jerusalem in 1995: BAR Letter.

I've given slide presentations on Jerusalem for the Israel Government Ministry of Tourism and to other groups in Southern California: Slide Presentations.

In the photos below I am wading through Hezekiah's Tunnel (left) and standing on the monumental staircase leading up to the south wall of Temple Mount, both in Jerusalem (June 1995).

J. Lancaster

Archaeological Institute of America - Orange County Society Visit the AIA Orange County Society's web page for information on upcoming programs in Southern California: AIA Orange County Society.

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Last updated 6/20/11


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