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The restoration of the Tower of David, the main attraction in Jerusalem, is in progress

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The coronavirus pandemic may be keeping tourists away from Jerusalem’s ancient citadel, but it has created a rare opportunity for the site to launch a massive restoration and conservation project.

In the process, Israeli archaeologists are studying the bastion’s medieval past in the hope of learning more about the holy city during the Crusades.
The Tower of David, the Old City’s iconic fortress, contains remnants of successive fortifications built one atop the other stretching back over 2,500 years. For centuries, pilgrims, conquerors and tourists visiting the city that is holy to Judaism, Christianity and Islam have passed beneath the stronghold’s towers through the adjacent Jaffa Gate.

The Tower of David Museum’s $40 million undertaking, financed in large part by the Clore Israel Foundation, Israel’s Tourism Ministry and Jerusalem’s municipality, seeks to preserve the ancient site and revitalize the museum a generation after it opened to the public in 1989.

The citadel drew over half a million visitors in 2019, making it one of the city’s most visited sites. But after Israel shut its borders in response to the coronavirus pandemic in March, tourist numbers have dropped to virtually zero.

While the citadel stood empty of visitors, restoration work got underway in July. The galleries were gutted of their old exhibits and excavations began in the fortress’s courtyard.

“This is the jewel of the crown, because there’s no other site in Jerusalem that will tell you, from the finds, from the remains, the full story,” Eilat Lieber, the Tower of David’s director and chief curator, said Wednesday. She said the museum is embarking on a total redesign of its exhibits with cutting edge media to tell the city’s history, and the renovations are slated for completion by early 2022.

The overhaul includes improved accessibility, the construction of a new visitor’s center and entrance, and the addition of new galleries and educational space in an unused area beneath an adjacent roadway.

The undertaking has also allowed archaeologists to excavate previously unstudied areas of the fortress, particularly sections dating to the Middle Ages.

“All the massive renovation that is going on right here is a really rare opportunity for us archaeologists,” said Amit Reem, a Jerusalem archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority. “It’s a pity to say, but the coronavirus enabled the Tower of David Museum to close the museum because there are no tourists, no visitors, and dedicate this period of time to the renovation and to the archeological project.”

Although many layers of the citadel’s history are visible to visitors, Reem said the tower’s form during the Middle Ages — the period of the Crusades and their aftermath — remains unclear.

Jerusalem fell to the First Crusade in 1099 and traded hands between Christian and Muslim powers several times in the subsequent centuries.

“We have the chance to explore the citadel from the perspective of modern archeologists,” he said, using advanced technology to render 3D images of the remains from each time period.

Reem and his team recently excavated and studied an unassuming underground chamber beneath the stronghold’s western tower. The museum had used it as a storeroom, but it proved to be a medieval cesspit with a long tunnel running beneath the city walls.

“We hope to find in the floor and under the floor some material that we will scrutinize by microscope, maybe to find to learn about the diet of the people here, about disease,” he said.

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ലോകമാന ക്രൈസ്തവ പീഢനങ്ങള്‍ നിരീക്ഷിക്കുന്നതിന് പുതിയ സംഘടന ഓ.പി.എ.സി. നിലവില്‍ വന്നു

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ആഗോളതലത്തില്‍ ക്രൈസ്തവക്കെതിരായ മതപീഢനങ്ങള്‍ വെളിച്ചത്തു കൊണ്ടുവരുവാനും പ്രതിരോധിക്കുവാനും യാഥാസ്ഥിതിക ക്രൈസ്തവ സഭകളുടെ നേതൃത്വത്തില്‍ പുതിയ സംഘടന നിലവില്‍ വന്നു. ഇക്കഴിഞ്ഞ ബുധനാഴ്ച വാഷിംഗ്ടണില്‍ വെച്ചായിരുന്നു ഓര്‍ത്തഡോക്‌സ് പബ്ലിക് അഫയേഴ്‌സ് കമ്മിറ്റി എന്ന സംഘടനയുടെ ഉദ്ഘാടനം. യാഥാസ്ഥിതിക ക്രൈസ്തവ സഭകളുടെ നേതൃത്വത്തില്‍ രൂപം കൊണ്ടതാണെങ്കിലും സഭാഭേദമന്യേ ലോകമെമ്പാടുമുള്ള ക്രൈസ്തവര്‍ക്കെതിരായുള്ള അടിച്ചമര്‍ത്തലും വിവേചനവും വെളിച്ചത്ത് കൊണ്ടുവരികയെന്നതാണ് തങ്ങളുടെ ലക്ഷ്യമെന്നു ഒ പി എ സി പുറത്തു വിട്ട പ്രസ്താവനയില്‍ പറയുന്നു.

ക്രൈസ്തവര്‍ക്കെതിരായ മതപീഢനങ്ങള്‍ വര്‍ദധിക്കുകയാണെന്നും ഇതിനെതിരെ പോരാടുവാന്‍ സംഘടന ആഗ്രഹിക്കുന്നുണ്ടെന്നും അമേരിക്കന്‍ പ്രസിഡന്റിന്റെ മുന്‍ ഡെപ്യൂട്ടി അസിസ്റ്റന്റ് ഓ പി എ സി യുടെ സഹസ്ഥാപകനും ചെയര്‍മാനുമായ ജോര്‍ജ്ജ് ജിജിക്കോസ് പറഞ്ഞു. കഴിഞ്ഞ ജൂലൈയില്‍ ചരിത്ര പ്രസിദ്ധമായ ഹാഗിയ സോഫിയ എന്ന ക്രൈസ്തവ ദേവാലയത്തെ മുസ്ലീം പള്ളിയാക്കി മാറ്റിയതാണ് സംഘടന സ്ഥാപിക്കാനുള്ള പ്രധാന കാരണമെന്ന് സംഘടനയുടെ സ്ഥാപകരില്‍ ഒരാളായ നിക്കോളാസ് ഫുരിസ് പറയുന്നു.

ഇത്തരത്തിലുള്ള ആത്മീയ മോഷണങ്ങള്‍ ആധുനിക ലോകത്ത് അനുവദനീയമല്ല. ഇതിനെതിരെ പോരാടും. തങ്ങളുടെ ഉപദേശക സമിതിയിലുള്ളവര്‍ ഉന്നത വിദ്യാഭ്യാസ വിദഗ്ദരോ,ദൈവ ശാസ്ത്രജ്ഞരോ,മതപണ്ഡിതന്‍മാരോ അല്ലെന്നും മതപീഢനം നേരിട്ടുള്ള സാധാരണക്കാരുടെ സേവനമാണ് തങ്ങള്‍ ആഗ്രഹിക്കുന്നതെന്നും ഫുരീസ് പറഞ്ഞു.

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Christian Leader Concerned by Growing Anti-Christian Violence in Central India

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India – According to Asia News, Christians in India are concerned by escalating anti-Christian violence in Chhattisgarh. In recent months, at least two Christian communities have been brutally attacked and displaced by religious extremists in the state.

“Extremist fringe groups are artfully using propaganda to stir up suspicion and enmity among various groups in order to divide along communal lines,” Sajan K. George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told Asia News. “We are deeply concerned by the growing number of attacks and incidents involving tribal Christians in Chhattisgarh.”

On November 25, at least 27 people were injured in an anti-Christian incident in Chinghawaram, a village located in the Sukma district of Chhattisgarh. According to local reports, four Christians required hospitalization due to the severity of their injuries.

In September, extremists attacked 16 Christian families in Kakabeda, Singanpur, and Tiliyabeda, three villages located in the Kondagaon district of Chhattisgarh. The homes of the 16 Christian families were destroyed after they refused to publically renounce their Christian faith.

“In Chhattisgarh, Christians are falsely accused of proselytizing,” George told Asia News. “Ironically, these radical groups attack Christians to convert them to Hinduism.”

“GCIC is deeply concerned by what is happening in many tribal areas,” George continued. “Serious episodes of large-scale anti-Christian violence have been reported.”
Sources:persecution

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