This lovely photo was taken around 1990 before we began our UNC Charlotte sponsored excavations on the hillside in the foreground, just outside Zion Gate along the Turkish (16th century) Wall of the Old City. The impressive bell tower and four turreted Dome is the Dormitian Abby, completed in 1910 on land purchased by German Kaiser Willhelm II from the Turkish Sultan. It is built right next to the Cenacle and Tomb of David (the gray domed structure to the left of the Abby) over the location of the famed 5th century Byzantine Hagia Sion Church. This “mother of all churches,” destroyed in 614 by the Persians, marked the spot where Mary, the mother of Jesus, is believed to have died (hence “dormitian” or “falling asleep”).
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