1800 B.C.E, a man named Abraham left his home to start a long journey to the land of Canaan, the Promised Land, known today as Israel. He did so at the behest of God. Thus monotheism was born. A few hundred years later Moses, carrying the Ten Commandments, led the Israelites to their Promised Land.
The Sea of Galilee. The Greek Orthodox Church of the Twelve Apostles seems to emerge from |
the blue haze of the lake.
More than a millennium passed until Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem. Through his preachings in Galilee and in Jerusalem, he gave Christianity to the world.
Islam followed, and was introduced to the world in the early 7th century, when the prophet Mohammed received his first prophecy, on Mt Hira, northwest of Mecca.
Thus in the vast spaces between the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers in Mesopotamia, the Nile in Egypt, and the Mediterranean Sea, the three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, were born.
When the religions became established and the places sacred to them gained recognition, pilgrims started coming to the Land of Israel. It is most likely that the idea of pilgrimage originated in biblical times as a religious requirement, and the focal point of the pilgrimage was the Temple in Jerusalem. "Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose. On the feast of unleavened bread and on the feast of weeks and on the feast of tabernacles." (Deuteronomy 16:16)
Christian pilgrims visited Jerusalem as early as the second century, but the pilgrimage movement gained real momentum around the fourth century, in the wake of the visit of Saint Helena, mother of the first Byzantine emperor Constantine the Great. Following her visit, Constantine built the martyrium (Basilica) of the Holy Sepulcher. This marks the site which his mother identified as Golgotha, the place where Jesus was crucified.
Among the Muslims, the holy city of Jerusalem was sanctified in the late seventh century, when the Dome of the Rock ("al-Haram al-Sharif"), was built on the Temple Mount. it was from here that the prophet Mohammed rose up to heaven according to Muslim tradition.
This exhibition presents 30 stations along an historical-religious route of great significance to various religions with a special focus on the sites holy to Christians, as the third millennium of Christianity approaches.