common centre round which are gathered the different Christian Churches.
Greeks, Latins, Armenians, Copts, and other rival sects, here quarrel over
their various holy places and absurd traditions; and, to their shame must
it be said, that the first sight which meets the eyes on entering this great
Christian Church is an armed guard of Mohammedans, placed there by the
Governor of Jerusalem to keep the peace amongst these Christians.
Yet, hoAvever much they may quarrel in other respects, they all
agree in the reverence which they attach to one little chapel, which
stands under the dome in the centre of the Rotunda. Here is shown the
marble slab which hides the rock-hewn tomb in which our Saviour's body
Avas laid. Pilgrims, who have travelled from all parts of the world,
approach it on their knees, with bared feet, and cover it with their tears
and kisses. Even although we may feel some doubt as to its actually
being the spot where our Lord was buried, we cannot gaze upon it, watching
the reverence that is paid to it, and remembering the blood that has been
shed for it, without feelings of the deepest solemnity and aAvc.
The Armenians occupy the south-west quarter of Jerusalem. The
ancient Mount Zion (10) and a large portion of its space is taken up by
their convent buildings and garden (11).
On the eastern slope of Mount Zion, and extending down into the
valley of the Tyropceon, which separates it from Mount Moriah, is situated
the Jewish quarter. Their miserable dwellings are crowded, and filthy
beyond description ; their synagogues are wretched buildings. The contrast
is, indeed, sad, betAveen the squalid misery of the Jews at present and the
glory of the past, when, on the very same spot, stood the splendid palaces
of their ancient monarchs.
There is one other portion of the city which has as yet remained
unmentioned—the " Haram Area," or Sacred Enclosure of the Mohammedans, in which stand the "Mosque El-Aksa" (5) and the "Mosque
Es-Sakra " (13), or, as it is usually called, the " Mosque of Omar." Next
to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, this is to us the most interesting spot
in Jerusalem, since it marks the position of the ancient Mount Moriah,
where Abraham offered up his son Isaac; where David built an altar on
the threshing-floor of Araunah, the Jebusite, and offered sacrifices to the
Lord, and called upon Him to spare Jerusalem from the destroying angel;
and AAdiere, also, Solomon afterwards built the Jewish Temple.