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PLACES OF INTEREST NEAR THE CITY.
The Valley of Jehoshaphat-of Hinnom-Aceldama -Mount of Offence-Ancient Sepulchres-Scopas, Ridge-Mount of Olives-The Road over which Christ rode into Jerusalem.
THE VALLEY OF JEHOSHAPHAT.
FROM the head of this valley, on the north of the city, to St. Stephen Gate, its fall is about one hundred feet, and its width at this point is nearly four hundred feet. Across the valley, a little below this, is the Garden of Gethsemane. A little lower down, the valley begins to deepen rapidly, the hills rising in steep precipices on both sides. Passing the Fountain of Siloam the valley again widens; and here are found pleasant gardens and cultivated terraces. A short distance from, and in strange contrast to these, are "Tophet and Black Gehenna, called the Type of Hell." Jehoshaphat might properly be called the Valley of Sepulchres. On its west side, just under the wall of the Temple area, the Mohammedans have
a cemetery, where thousands of their singular-looking tombs may be seen. On the opposite side of the valley is the Jewish cemetery, the great silent city of their dead. Here generation after generation, since the days of David and Solomon, have been gathered unto their fathers. For thousands of years the Jewish dead have been interred here; the dust of the children mingling with the ashes of their forefathers, until a large portion of the east bank of the valley, and far up the side of the Mount of Olives is covered with the tombs of the countless descendants of Abraham: the dying Jew still craving it as one of the greatest privileges to be interred here. For here they believe the coming Messiah will stand in the resurrection. In the bottom of this valley is the bed of the Brook Kedron, which is now dry for a considerable distance below the city, except in the rainy season.
The modern village of Siloam is nearly opposite the Fountain of the Virgin, on the eastern bank of the Valley of Jehoshaphat. The steep declivity on which it stands is covered with ancient tombs.
It is a wretched place, containing about seventy dwellings, formed by dispossessing the dead of their tombs, walling up the fronts, and transforming them into abodes for the living. Their interiors present a gloomy and filthy appearance; human bones still remaining in many of them. The appearance of the inhabitants is in keeping with their miserable dwellings; and their reputation for rudeness and lawless
ness is such, that the prudent traveler gives the place a wide birth after nightfall.
Just above this village in the side of the hill are many tombs and vaults.
Among them are those of Zacheas, Absalom, and the cave of St. James.
The tomb of Zacheas is cut in the rock, and there was in front of it four Doric columns supporting a cornice and a pyramidal roof (18 feet high over all). The cave of St. James is ornamented with a portico in front, having four columns cut from the native rock. Tradition says that James, the brother of Jesus, retired to this cave after the Crucifixion.
The tomb of Absalom is the most noted of these valley tombs, and is also cut from the solid rock. The dome on the roof is peculiar, terminating in a foliated tuft. The Mohammedans have idealized this into a monument of the hateful ingratitude of Absalom, whose example is held up as a fearful warning to all disobedient sons; therefore every passer-by is supposed to cast a stone at it with appropriate maledictions.
The whole vicinity is occupied by graves which are covered with flat stones inscribed in Hebrew or Ara bic.
THE VALLEY OF HINNOM.
Opposite Jaffa Gate this valley is about one hundred yards wide, and forty-four feet deep. From this point its course is first south, then east around