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Unique exhibition of Israeli archaeological sites

Written by: Staff

Bhopal, Nov 24: Megiddo, the site where -- according to Christian tradition -- Armageddon will take place, the Jewish Quarter in the Holy City Jerusalem and the Kursi Church where the Son of God healed two men possessed by demons are just three of the breathtaking photographs of Israeli archaeological sites at an exhibition in this City of Lakes.

''The Holy Land has been the cradle for ancient civilisations.

India and Israel are comparitively younger states but have very deep cultural roots,'' Israeli Ambassador David Danieli said after inaugurating the exhibition 'Israel: Archaeology from the Air' in the New State Museum yesterday.

''India, especially Madhya Pradesh, has had a rich harvest of archaeological finds,'' the diplomat pointed out.

The event was jointly inaugurated by Mr Danieli and Madhya Pradesh Minister of State for Culture Lakshmikant Sharma.

The aerial pictures were taken with special emphasis on conceptual form, light and angle. Duby Tal and Moni Haramati, two former Israeli Air Force pilots, run the Albatross Aerial Photography Company, which specialises in commercial and artisitic photography.

Sites depicted include the Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were preserved; the Ophel, which was the biblical city of King David outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem; the Citadel of Jerusalem also known as the Tower of David on which different historical periods have left their impression and the Hisham Palace north of Jericho.

Other photographs capture Capernaum, where several apostles including Peter are believed to have lived; the city of Korazim; the port city of Akko; the Katzrin Synagogue and Rugum Hiri -- some theories surmise that it was an ancient observatory.

Tel Megiddo is a crucial site as excavations in the area have uncovered ruins of 25 cities dating from 4,000-400 BC. Among those found was the historic city of Megiddo, one of King Solomon's biblical sites. Megiddo has been the scene for numerous battles and the final great confrontation between good and evil is also scheduled there! ''Israel teaches us to struggle to attain our goals as the Israelites carved out a country for themselves after years of hardship,'' felt Mr Sharma.

There is a general view of Masada that rises in splendid isolation from the Judean Desert. Located on the western shore of the Dead Sea -- one of the lowest and most desolate regions on Earth -- it is also the site of one of the most dramatic episodes in history.

Nineteen centuries ago, a group of freedom fighters were entrenched on this giant plateau against the might of ancient Rome.

Rather than submit to the yoke of foreign oppression, they chose to die at their own hands.

A photograph shows the Northern Palace at Masada. For several generations, the story of Masada was considered a semi-legendary tale. A fresh and intense interest was generated among the youth of the country preceding the rebirth of Israel in 1948.

In 1963, it was excavated by an international expedition including thousands of volunteers led by Prof Yigael Yadin. In a two-year dig they exposed the 'legend' to the light of history revealing many hitherto unknown details. Since then the site has been a focus of international pilgrimage.

Tel Hazor is one of the largest sites preserved in Israel and covers some 200 acres containing several strata of Bronze and Iron ages (3,000-500 BC). It was roughly ten times the size of Jerusalem in the days of David and Solomon.

Herodium, a fortress built atop a hill as per the orders of King Herod, has two concentric walls separated by 2.5 m. The fortification was originally about 30 m high and comprised seven storeys, two of them being underground foundations. Four huge towers projected at the compass points. The fortress of Belvoir was vital to the security of the Crusader kingdom of Jerusalem and well-protected cisterns for storing rainwater guaranteed supply during a siege.

The Nimrud fortress was founded in the Middle Ages, probably by Crusaders, to defend the city of Banias in the valley below against Muslim incursions.

In the town of Beit She'an is the monumental theatre of Scythopolis, which is the best preserved building from Roman times.

A total of 110 m in diameter, it had 7,000 seats made of limestone.

Inscriptions on an aqueduct in Caesarea ascribe responsibility for its maintenance to the second and tenth legions (major units of the Roman army consisting of 3,000 to 6,000 infantry and 100 to 200 cavalry).

The Baths at Hamat Gader (hot springs of Gadara) are located in the Yarmuk River Valley, which boasts of several mineral springs with water temperature upto 50 degrees Celsius.

Audas was founded in the first century BC and named after the Nabatean King Obodas who was revered and, according to tradition, was buried there.

The Old City of Jerusalem is divided into four sections and the Southeast corner is known as the Jewish Quarter, which is about 15 acres and has been inhabited by Jews for centuries.


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