The Pasha  had to deal with these men, before any safe entrance could be assured to the Royal party. He therefore summoned them together shortly before the tune fixed for the arrival of the Duke and Duchess, at the Seraglio . The Pasha’s residence or Seraglio at that time was at the north-western corner of the Sanctuary and abutted on to it. The upper windows commanded a very fine view of the sacred precincts and of the dome itself.
His Excellency told the blacks that he had a message to deliver to them from the Caliph himself, i.e. the Sultan, who is reverenced as Caliph by them, as by the Moslems of Turkey; then pretending to have left the document by mistake in the next room, he left them in order to fetch it, and shut the door. This was instantly surrounded by Turkish infantry with fixed bayonets, and the poor blacks were thus incarcerated until the European affair was over. They of course were in ignorance as to what was going on.
The regiment forming the Jerusalem garrison was chiefly Turkish, and therefore to be depended upon by the Pasha in his arrangements for the safety of the guests entrusted to him by his Sovereign. But it was a critical matter to obey the Sultan’s firman and to risk admitting Christians into the Sanctuary, now, while fanaticism was so stirred by the war with Christians, and above all while Jerusalem was not yet free from the Moslem pilgrims, a specially excitable body of people, among whom were always a good many Durweeshes.
Jerusalem was filled to an unusual degree: this day (Saturday, April 7, Easter eve) was the very day of the Holy Fire at the Sepulchre, which went off as usual and was pretty well attended by votaries and spectators, in spite of the war having kept away Russians and Eastern Christians, to whom the Holy Fire is a sacred reality. The Latins, now in modem times, scorn the deception practiced on the devout multitudes in this matter by Greek and Armenian ecclesiastics.
Everyone who heard anything of the grand opportunity so long hoped for, even against hope, by the old residents in Jerusalem, who had for years looked down with longing upon the glorious Temple Court from Olivet or from the site of Antonia at the governor’s house, everybody was on the qui vive, whether residents or travelers. But the thing was to be kept as quiet as possible. There was an old saying, that a Sultan could perhaps order Christians to be admitted within the Sanctuary, but could he order that they should come out again alive?
Still the excitement was great. The Consuls, it was understood, would be admitted of the party; so would, of course, Lord Napier , who chanced to be with Lady Napier in Jerusalem at the time on public business from the Embassy. There was an unexpected rush of travellers to the various consulates, presenting themselves for admission, the Americans repairing to the British house, as they had at that time only a native Agent to represent them in Jerusalem.
The Consuls (all of them probably) looked to Count Fizzamano, the Austrian Consul, for arrangement and direction, but he found it prudent to allay, as much as possible, the general ardour, going round to them and disclaiming authority in the matter : the Pasha was to be alone looked to for direction, he being «maitre de la maison«.
His Excellency had expressed his positive desire that neither pilgrims (as distinguished from travellers), nor ordinary residents of the city were to be privileged on the occasion. Pilgrims alone would have furnished a host unmanageably large, and enough to exasperate the Moslems. Those of the ordinary residents who besieged the English Consulate went down to the Seraglio, followed by equally eager travellers, to wait and see whether the authorities would grant them admission.
As it was known to many of the candidates for admission, that even Moslems are not suffered to enter the sanctuaries in their street shoes, but must either walk without any, or put on fresh morocco slippers carried thither by servants on purpose, it was wonderful to find what a prodigious demand was now made all of a sudden in the bazaars for the yellow slippers called alasheen: such a purchase cannot often have been made in one day at Jerusalem.
But even now the general Moslem population had no knowledge of what was preparing to be done. The Pasha had kept his own counsel; and as the time drew near, he quietly posted guards of soldiers at the various gates to keep out Moslems, who might have given trouble. He had purposely chosen an hour in the afternoon when prayers would not be going on, and when therefore would probably be very few Moslems in the Sacred Enclosure.
In case the alarm should be given that the Sanctuary was being profaned by Christian infidels, the well-armed troops posted at the several gates would be able to prevent any sudden rush of fanatics from entering. The principal barrack was close at hand on the site of Antonia.
Those who lived in Jerusalem and could understand the danger incurred in case the Moslems should become aware of what was going on, and take the matter into their own hands, had complied with the wish of the authorities, and had kept the matter as quiet as possible.
But people were too eager to be prudent; long pent-up desire to set foot upon the Temple Mountain, to walk within its glorious courts, burst over and beyond all bounds of restraint; and the great crowd of travellers, most of whom never expected to be in the Holy Land again in their lives, brought an unexpected difficulty into the case. They had no idea of prudent reserve, had no knowledge of the real danger of the thing, did not see that the admission of Christians to St. Sophia — formerly a Byzantine church, and now nothing more than the grand mosque of the Turkish capital— had no real parallel with the throwing open to unbelievers of the spot in the world most sacred to Moslems, after, and perhaps not even after, the Kaaba sanctuary at Mecca.
It is not only that Moslems believe the Jerusalem Hharam to be identical with the precincts and the site of Solomon’s Temple, and therefore holy; but they believe Abraham, David, and Elijah to have worshipped there, and all the most miraculous part of the history of their own prophet Mohammed is linked with the Sacred Rock, whence he is declared to have ascended to heaven on the midnight journey, when the horse Borak carried him up to receive divine revelations of the religion of Islam.
Nothing can exceed the genuine earnest reverence of devout Moslems for this spot, connected not only with the past, but with the future triumphs of Islam, when Mohammed and «Our Lord Jesus» shall come to judgment.
The very place where Mohammed shall then sit is shown on a pillar which projects from the Hharam Wall, over the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And over the same valley will, they believe, be stretched that slender bridge over which the faithful will cross on their way to eternal bliss. This Sanctuary is, indeed, as they call it, the Hharam esh Shereef — «the Honourable (or Noble) Sanctuary».
A few of us knew these things, and had watched the troubled countenances of some even friendly Moslems, who were aware of what was coming, and who were yet quite prepared to carry out and obey the orders of their Padishah.
But how about the rest?
That was a question we did not care to think about. The Pasha had shown himself to be ready in resource; his troops were steady. The secret had been little talked about till that day, and who would not risk something — nay, a good deal — to go and walk within those beautiful Temple Courts, so lovely now in their spring beauty of green sward and wild flowers, cypresses, and olive trees, to visit the exquisite shrine on the summit of the highest platform; not, indeed, glorious as Solomon’s Temple had been glorious, within and without; but very glorious still, even when seen from a distance?
And within this shrine Moslems had told us a part of the foundations of Solomon’s Temple was visible: and the Jews had told us that there was the Stone of Foundation upon which the Temple had stood; and upon which, according to some, the High Priest had habitually sprinkled the blood in the Second Temple, where the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat (never seen since the destruction by Nebuchanezzar, but believed by the Jews to be still within the precincts) were awaiting.
We were at last then to enter the courts which most Jews would refuse to walk over (even if allowed by Moslems), lest they should be guilty of disrespect to the holy law of God, which they believe that their priests in ancient time hid away beneath the pavement in some of the many subterranean treasure-houses, hewn out by Solomon in the mountain; those courts erewhile thronged by joyful worshippers, even in the days when our Saviour went thither to teach, to heal, and Himself to fulfill the law.
Those courts now calm and lovely, if comparatively deserted, in which the most devout, the bravest, the most fanatically zealous of the Jewish people had perished, which had been so polluted with human bodies and human blood that never again could Jewish priests offer sacrifice, or Jewish people worship there, until the Mosaic purification with the ashes of the red heifer shall have been accomplished. To these most sacred, most desecrated courts, our steps were bent!
We were to approach the spot where the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite had been, the site of King David’s altar; the site of Abraham’s altar on Moria; the site of the Holy of Holies, the earthly throne of Divine majesty and presence, the spot where the Veil had been rent in twain ! There was not much room left in our minds for dwelling upon possible dangers.
Our feelings became more and more excited.
We went down on our way to the Seraglio, where all were to assemble. In the Via Dolorosa the Prussian, the American, and the English Consular parties met together. At the Seraglio the kawwasses had to push our way through a multitude of eager expectants (a good proportion of whom were English travellers) who were assembled in the Pasha’s residence, standing in the courts, the terraces, and on the steps, and most with new yellow slippers in their hands. Some had even penetrated into the reception-room. Here the Turkish secretary distributed to the consular parties, and to them only, tickets for admission.
Scarcely was this finished when it was announced that their Royal Highnesses, who had met the Pasha and the military authorities in another apartment, had already entered the sacred precincts, and we were to follow at once — which we accordingly did, suffering much from pressure from behind, and passing through a narrow dark passage, which forms the private entrance to the Sanctuary precincts from the Pasha’s Seraglio. It was speedily found that the tickets were of no use, for the crowd in our rear pushed us forward and defied all attempts to exclude them: in they rushed like a flood, and the guard and a dozen of infantry soldiers posted at this point had actually to fall back.
It was some time before anyone could recover anything like the reverential feelings due to the solemnity of the place we were entering: religious meditation was at that moment out of the question.
On a sudden we emerged into daylight and bright sunshine; and we stood within the Sanctuary on the smooth scarped rock cut away some thousand years ago. Here the main body of the Turkish garrison awaited the company. The soldiers were fully armed, and closed around us as we followed the Pasha, who, with the officers in command, led the Royal visitors forward.
We then crossed the general space of the vast enclosure towards the centre, where are the steps by which the upper platform and the shrine (the Dome of the Rock) is reached. At the foot of the steps we were stopped to «put off our shoes from off our feet.» Ascending upon the wide platform by those steps, we were now on a level with the grand edifice commonly and erroneously called by Europeans the «Mosque of Omar,» but by the Mohammedans «Dome of the Rock» — seeing that this building, with all its magnificence, is but a cover for protection of the Holy Sakhrah, and of a few traditional adjuncts which were gathered round it.
We entered this central shrine.
To our great surprise, there, enclosed by a railing, was a huge mass of primeval rock lying beneath the Great Dome; a rich canopy of green silk and gold hanging over it.
Astonishment and awe at seeing this rock above the floor — grey, rugged, and immense — took possession of our mind, even before the sensation of admiration for its shrine, with the rich colours of the stained glass windows, the gorgeous silk canopy, the profuse gilding of the interior, the arabesques, the mosaics, the costly marble pillars.
This then was the «Foundation of the House of God» of which the Moslems had formerly told us — the «Stone of Foundation ‘ the Jews had talked about, as visible within the Sanctuary — yet no mere stone, but the vast rocky apex of the Holy Mountain itself. Truly this was the «top of the Mountain» on which Josephus tells us the Temple stood. There is no spot so high as this culminating point beneath the dome.
And the rough unhewn simplicity amidst all the splendour of the shrine! Ah! that spoke of reverent obedience to the Law given by Moses (Exodus xx. 25), forbidding any altar to be built up of hewn stone, «for if thou lift up thy tool upon it thou hast polluted it.»
And if King Solomon in his scrupulous obedience to this command had caused even the stones of which the outer works of the Temple and its courts were built, to be carved and finished before they were brought to the Holy Mountain, so that «no sound of axe or hammer was heard» during all the progress of the building, here before our eyes lay the evidence in all its rugged majesty that the rock which had served as the Altar base to King David, when God answered him by fire from heaven — and earlier still to Abraham, when he was prepared to offer his son — that Rock thus consecrated had been left intact and unhewn; no tool had been raised upon it to pollute it, by Israelite, or by Moslem.
The first glance at the rough rock made clear, as in an instant by a flash of vivid light, where those Altars, and the Holy of Holies must have stood ; there and nowhere else — so it seemed to us then — so it has seemed to us from that day forward — had been their fitting and «Majestic site».
But even there, no leisure for thought was afforded to us.
The Pasha was leading the way with the Royal party, and he was attended by Shaikh Mohammed Danaf, well known to us as the hereditary guardian of the Sanctuary. The black Africans, mentioned above, are the guards; but Shaikh Mohammed Danaf held an office corresponding to that of Dean in an English Cathedral. It is hereditary in his family, and he had told us that he was the lineal descendant and heir of the guardian first appointed immediately after the Arab invasion and conquest under Omar. His son, one of those alluded to above, has now succeeded to the office. A liberal present had reconciled Shaikh Mohammed to the Christian visit to the Sanctuary.
The building was nearly filled by the invaders and the Moslems officially in attendance. As soon as I began to move round (following the Royal group), the son and relations of the Hereditary Guardian came about me, eager to have the honour of pointing out the sites and objects of Mohammedan tradition to the British Consul , for whom «every good Moslem ought to pray».
The young Danaf guardians showed me where a large piece of the rock had been cut off ‘ by Nebuchadnezzar,’ whereas the great mass of the rock is in its primitive original condition of unhewn ruggedness. But history tells us that it was the Crusaders who cut
away a portion of the rock, in order that they might fit their altars upon it.
They also pointed out the footprint of the creature «Borak», upon which Mohammed ascended to the seventh heaven attended by the angel Gabriel, and a variety of other legendary matter connected with the Prophet and with the rock. Suddenly we heard fanatic howls of some Durweesh who had, in spite of all the precautions, gained an entrance, and was screaming and cursing us; but the military guard soon put an end to that by getting round and removing him.
This, however, brought back our thoughts to the danger we should be in, supposing that the alarm were given in Jerusalem, and that Moslem fury were aroused against us. The Pasha quickened his steps in conducting the Duke and Duchess from point to point. The soldiers were on the alert.
The circumstance that we were escorted by the Hereditary Guardian and his relations would have served us but little in case of an outbreak. Not very many years before this the English Mission physician had been attending one of the chief Moslem families in their house, which overlooks the Hharam precincts. Out of gratitude, they led him a very little way within the gates of the open Court, that he might behold, if even only in a glimpse, something of the beauty of the Sanctuary. But two of the African watchmen espied the intruders, and rushing upon them with their clubs, they knocked down, not only the English doctor, but the Moslem gentleman who was conducting him, and would have killed both had not help been at hand, and the gate so close by that they could be dragged out of reach by the friendly Moslem, the Hereditary Guardian himself, who was just in time to save them, though with difficulty.
Having passed round the great Rock, we went to the steps, which at the south-east side lead down into the natural hollow or cave in the Rock. We waited for the Royal party who were below to come up.
We gazed round at the harmony of the proportions of the building, at the rich gold-fretted work, the mosaics; the beautiful stained-glass windows, lovely beyond description. We could not on this occasion understand what it was that gave the rich brilliancy, as of jewels, to the coloured light; but long afterwards we discovered that this was produced by an ingenious mode of setting each
portion of the glass so as to obtain a variety of reflected light within the windows. We looked at the verde antique and other marbles, the double columns, and those in the midst; at the Solemn Rock where, they told us again, the «House of God» had been.
We went down the steps into the cave, the Rock being visible overhead. There our Moslem friends pointed out around the sides of the Cave the praying stations (Makam) of Abraham, David, Solomon, and Ehjah.
But this Cave (so evidently natural, one of the ordinary hollows that abound in the limestone rocks of this country), surely it was the hiding place to which allusion is made in the history of King David’s Sacrifice (1 Chron. xxii. 20). Ornan and his sons had been threshing wheat upon their threshing-floor; they saw the angel, feared and hid themselves, where? but in the cavern beside
their threshing-floor, which was also no doubt their granary for the winnowed grain.
There above our heads was the hole in the rock roof of the Cave through which the grain would have been poured down from above, and which in early ages gave t his rock its name of ‘Lapis pertusus .’
It is worth notice that this Cave is on the south-eastern side of the Great Rock, that is to say, on its leeward side, and therefore close to the threshing-floor, if it was situated as a native would prefer it to be situated, on that side where the grain and the straw (so valuable for provender) would have shelter when the north-west wind (which prevails in summer) might blow high, and yet sufficiently near the crest of the rock to catch the gentle breezes needed for winnowing the corn.
Our Moslem guides struck the centre of the floor in the Cave, to convince us that there is a large cavity below. This (lower depth) they call the Beer el Arruah, the pit where departed Souls dwell waiting for the resurrection. The instant thought on hearing this strange Moslem legend was of the verse in the VI chapter of Revelations, about the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God, waiting ‘ under the altar. It may be indeed that the idea of the Moslems has been derived from this very verse.
Here was evidently an opening to those treasure chambers hewn out in the solid rock below, of which we had read and heard from the Jews, and in one of which they beheve the Ark of the Covenant to have been secreted by the priests, under advice from the Prophet Jeremiah, before Nebuchadnezzar captured the city and broke into the Sanctuary.
But we were not given time for pursuing the thoughts that flashed upon our minds on seeing thus, for the first time, what we had vaguely imagined to ourselves about the site of the Temple when gazing down upon it from Olivet, in ignorance that this Rock lay visible beneath the Dome, whose name had hitherto been a constant puzzle as connected with «the foundations of Solomon’s Temple», but the meaning of which was made clear by one glance at the grand living Rock which it enshrines.
The Pasha and the royal party were moving rapidly on and we followed. Mounting again we issued from the Dome of the Rock at its Southern Portal. We went across the great platform, descending the flight of steps on that side, and went towards the Mosque of ‘Aksa (a real Mosque, i.e. a building within which Moslems assemble for public worship; the Dome of the Rock is only a Shrine, or Sanctuary, used for special prayers and
We passed through an avenue of trees. They told us that the great cypresses had been planted by Nebuchadnezzar, and an ancient olive by the Prophet Mohammed. Near the entrance of the Mosque is a spot where, they told us, the sons of Aaron (Neby Haroon) are buried. The vastness of the edifice struck us as we entered and passed along its length (southwards). It is cheerful, in good repair, and looks what it is — a Christian church (built by Justinian) misapplied. At the southern extremity is a rich Mihrab, or niche of marblework, to indicate the direction of Mecca for prayer. Close to this is a fine pulpit used on every Friday for preaching, and near that an elevated platform for the Pasha when he attends. Nearer to it, but lower, is the place for the Kadi (Judge). On the other side of the church is the reserved place for women.
Nearly adjoining the Mihrab on its east side is a chamber, with a marble niche beside it, declared to have been the praying place of the Caliph Omar, and the true Mosque of Omar. This (Church) Mosque of ‘Aksa is very fine, but it has not the overwhelming interest of the other. The pillars are inscribed with the names of Mohammed, Ali, Omar, Othman, Abu Bekr, in letters of prodigious size. The capitals of many of the pillars are interesting, some being in basketwork and other peculiar patterns.
But subsequent visitors have had such ample opportunity for examining and describing the architectural features, that it is needless to dwell upon the impressions gathered during this first hasty glance, though at the time they were of value, because we knew not how long it might be before such an opportunity for inspection, cursory though it was, might be again afforded.
Among all the strange sensations generated by the events of the day there was that of a rush of novel traditions superadded by our guides to the well-known fables of the Christians — a sensation of a totally new set of legends, bursting, as it were, into minds unprepared for coming into contact with the unpublished relics of the primitive apostles of Mohammedanism.
Our hurried inspection was near its end. The Pasha was leading the way back, and we all followed, and found ourselves again in the open air upon the noble pavement, or esplanade ; the lower, or outer, court of the Temple, with its small marble shrines, and a fountain (between the ‘Aksa Mosque and the great Platform), with water from Solomon’s Pools, among the trees. We were lost in astonishment at the beauty of the site — the Mount of Olives as seen from thence, and the Moab mountains — blue mountains just seen above the tips of the trees.
My Moslem friends pointed out our English church, and the Consulate beside it, upon the eminence of Zion. The towers of the fortress, and the Castle of David stood up grandly against the western sky. My guides prayed for a blessing upon the Consulate, just as within the ‘Aksa they had lifted up their hands to pray for me, as they said all Moslems were doing in Hebron, while invoking destruction upon the house of Abderrahhmfin el ‘Amer. (The reason of this will appear in an after chapter.)
The numerous visitors had, generally speaking, formed themselves into distinct groups: the Royal party was the nucleus of one company, the English bishop of another; each consul had his own circle of followers.
No native Christians were there, all were Europeans.
Jews, even though in European costume, had no desire to enter the holy precincts so long as they remained defiled by the Gentiles, many of whose customs are in direct contrariety to the law of Moses: they believe that entrance thither will not be lawful till the locality be purified by the ashes of the red heifer (see Numbers XIX, 2) from the pollution of dead corpses in the ancient wars, and from the modem Moslem practice of bringing the dead there for prayers of the mourners previous to interment. (The Jews are also deterred, as before said, by fear of walking over the place where the Law is concealed.)
We left the Sanctuary as we had entered it, escorted and guarded by the troops, the Pasha still leading the way through the small private door and passage of the Seraglio.
And we left it in safety, passing on at once into the street (the Via Dolorosa) homewards. Here we met Moslems of the city, who, now aware of what had been done, vehemently cursed the Christians in impotent rage as we passed. But we saw at a glance that the spell was broken, that, true to their faith, resignation to supreme destiny had already stopped any impulse there might have been in their minds to avenge the desecration of their Hharam. There were, indeed, but few Moslems abroad at the moment.
We walked slowly home ; the transactions of the day had been of supreme importance and delight, supplying food for meditation long after the immediate excitement was over. It was clear that events would now move rapidly on, that more such firmans would be brought, that the charm of seclusion was broken, that not only the fanatics, but our friend the quiet and virtuous student Shaikh Hhassan en Nazek (a truly devout, simple Moslem, all gentleness and earnestly conscientious, as well as a constant frequenter of the Sanctuary for study and for devotion) must see many more Christians there.
But when we thought of Jewish times and events, the place assumed its true importance in the mind. There was the central point of the Old Testament ; there had been Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul, Peter, and John, and on that Eock had been the Holy of Holies, before which the veil was rent as on yesterday (Good Friday).
The object of most importance to my feelings was that rock under the dome ; the next, the scarped rock (at the N.W. point where we had emerged from the Seraglio and on which we had first set foot), and the section (perpendicular) of rock on the north side on which the barracks are built, and where Antonia must have stood; the next the view of the Mount of Olives and of the Moab mountains.
What an Easter eve this had bee !
Before taking any food or rest, I wrote a letter of thanks for the liberality and courtesy of the Pasha to British subjects. It was after the event that we were made fully acquainted with the difficulties under which he had carried out the Sultan’s firman.
Since this first infringement upon the superstitious seclusion of ages, other firmans have ensured repetitions of the privilege, and admission to the Hharam has now become of common occurrence, without the necessity of special firmans; but to the royal Belgian pilgrimage must be attributed the honour of having opened the Hharam of Jerusalem to Christian observation.
 Во множ. числе Такарна. Они происходят из Дарфура и окрестностей (прим. издателя).
 Кисмил-паша, губернатор Иерусалима.
 Здание, известное больше как дворец госпожи Туншук (Palace of the Lady Tunshuq).
 Видимо, Френсис Напиер, видный британский дипломат, впоследствии вице-король Индии.