Jerusalem is full of secrets, secret stories and secret places. I, as a tour guide and historian, have been studying these secrets for most of my life, and still find it fascinating.
And indeed, nothing could be more pleasant than to share these secrets with the excited tourists. And here are just two stories of many.
At the picture below we see a couple from New York dropping their secret wishes notes between the stones of the Western Wall. It's an exciting event, by itself. But only this happens not at the open space of the Western Wall Plaza. And not even in the well-known passages of the Western Wall tunnels. They are standing deep below the street level in the ancient underground aqueduct.
This over 2000 year's old aqueduct was built to collect rain water from the streets of Jerusalem onto the famous Pool of Siloam.
Although known from the ancient chronic, the tunnel was discovered only in 2004, and the excavations have been continued there for the last 14 years. And, finally, it has been found that it goes directly under the Western Wall.
But moreover, this tunnel is also a gloom evidence of the last battle let by the Jewish rebels against the Roman Legionnaires at the down of the Great Jewish Revolt in 70 AD. Here the remnants of the Jewish warriors, still keeping their weapons, have been found.
At the other picture we see my guest from Hawaii with Mr. Nuseibeh, known as "The Holy Sepulcher Gate Opener". Mr. Nuseibeh keeps a photo of his meeting the President Trump at the Church.
Everything is ritual about this most important Christian Site. And one of the most important rituals is the daily opening and locking of the Church door.
The legend claims that this tradition dates from the seventh Century, when the Caliph Omar ibn Khattab had given the right to unlock and to open the Doors of the Holy Sepulcher to two prominent and ancient Muslim families – Nuseibeh and Judah.
The Judah family is the keeper of the huge iron key that opens the Church. Each morning, a representative of the family brings the key to unlock the church doors. Immediately after, a representative of the Nuseibeh family opens the door with the help of the monks and priests inside, who have spent the night in prayers. A similar ritual takes place to lock the church again at night, and the key is returned back to the Judah, for the night keep.
In a world where the nations and the religions constantly fight over each square inch of any territory, the thousands years old tradition of the Muslim Keepers of the Keys at the Christian Church of the Holy Sepulcher, in the Capital of Israel, presents a great example of how these three religions can coexist in harmony and peace.