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STRANGE STORY OF THE LAST SUPPER ROOM

An old Ottoman law claiming that every religious building will stay in a possession of the last community which has proper papers for it. This is how the old Hassan Bek mosque in Tel Aviv was reopened after almost 70 years being locked by the city.

Hassan Bek Mosque today


But an opposite example is even more interesting – the Last Supper Room at Mount Zion. Initially built in the 4th Century, abandoned after the Arab invasion in the VII Century, and later reoccupied by the Crusades, it had finally fallen into a neglect until XIV Century.


Then the Franciscans bribed to Mamluks who permitted them to rebuilt and reopen it (hence the Gothics). Further on, the Ottomans while keeping some of the Catholics rights, still also permitted the Jews to use it as well (as a King David Tomb).


Each party excitingly and in length complained against another, until the Turks made a Solomon decision – they kicked both out and turned the room into a mosque. For 500 years no Christians or Jews were permitted to step in, until in 1948 Mount Zion fall into the Israeli hands. The Israelis asked the Waqaf (the Supreme Muslim Council) if they have papers for the place. "We do not need papers", was the response, "we own the place for 500 years, and it will stay as a mosque". But without the papers, this claim was void, and the Israelis happily opened the site for everyone.


It is still a mosque with a beautiful Mihrab (praying niche) facing Mecca, and the Muslims come to pray, turning their faces to Mecca. But it is also a church and a synagogue, with the Christians and Jews pray facing the East and the Temple Mount, accordingly (in Jerusalem this is the same direction), with their backs to Mecca.


Three communities share one Holy place with the tourists, and still manage to keep peace and order.

Last Supper (Upper) Room


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