March 23 – This morning Mr. M. called to us to know if we could dress in fifteen minutes to go to the Mosque of Omar, taking breakfast, we were soon on our way thither, taking our guide and a janissary we soon reached it, where we put on slippers or draw socks over our shoes. Before it, is a large cart and inside a large look, which is said to be suspended between heaven and earth. The interior is very grand. We were shown several praying niches; a marble seat of Mahomet’s mother and down into a chamber or chapel, which is a marble basin, in which they say Christ bathed. Some of the illuminated windows were very beautiful.
Going out into the court again we entered a subterranean passage where are a series of arches said to be the supports of the Temple. From thence we went to the Holy Sepulcher, where we saw the Savior’s tomb; saw the pilgrims kneeling and kissing the stone, which covers the one on which the Savior was laid and anointed after his crucifixion. We heard some sweet music; walked all around; then returned for lunch, after which we went to the Jew’s place of wailing, where we saw them reading their bibles and crying. After this we went to the reputed site of Caliphs House where is a convent and chapel. We were shown Christ’s prison and a picture of the cock that crew when Peter denied his Master. It is sad to think of what sacrilege is enacted on these Holy places; it destroys all solemnity that one might feel visiting here. We can be more certain of the hills than anything else; every place is covered with some, Greek or Catholic convents and Chapels.
March 24 – Started early this morning for the Synagogue, but were not able to find it, so we went out of the Dung gate and walked down the valley of Jehoshaphat across the Brook Kidron to the Jewish tombs, Absalom, Jehoshaphat, etc. on Mt. Olivet. Leaving them we ascended the mount until we came to the Garden of Gethsemane, where we knocked; not being admitted we continued up the mount until we come to a tower where Christ is said to have wept over the City. Here we had the best view we have yet had. We took Murray and familiarized ourselves with the objects of interest in and around the city. Being refreshed by the shade of this spot we wended our way until we reached the summit, where is the Church of the Ascension, here being the spot from which Christ ascended to heaven. Leaving this spot we went over by Bethany where Mary and Martha lived with Lazras, their brother. We were shown Lazrus’ tomb by a Mussalman; went down some distance, using tapers, until we came to a place cut out of the rock for a grave, when we came in sight of Rome; sat down under an Olive tree and read a description of it. After leaving this place we visited the Fountain of the Virgin; the well of Epochal and the pool of Siloam. This was the road which Jesus entered Jerusalem on his return, Entering the Gate of David, we came through the Jewish quarter, until we reached one of their Synagogues. Here we went in and heard one of the Rabbi’s readings. Here we saw a number of pilgrims, the men with their strange hats trimmed with fur and the women who wore up in the gallery with their veils and singular turbans. The children we met with are particularly beautiful. They have such bright expressive eyes and that soft rosy olive complexion, which I have never before thought beautiful. It is very warm walking in the middle of the day, but the mornings and evenings are quite pleasant. We made a final purchase of olive wood trinkets this afternoon. I have not mentioned seeing the Jewish Pilgrims throwing stones at Absaloms tomb as they passed. This is to show their disapproval of a disobedient son.