Day Twenty-Four, March 24, 2012
The story of Jaffa (known in Hebrew and Yafo) begins in the days of ancient Egypt and continues over the generations through the biblical period, the Crusades, the period of the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate, the War of Independence and the establishment of the State of Israel. On the bottom right you can see part of a Crusader building from a thousand years ago.
St. Peter's Church is the single largest and most distinctive building in Old Jaffa.
There is a big art community here in Jaffa. This is a prominent sculpture that depicts Jacobs Dream, the sacrifice of Isaac and the fall of Jericho. I know... it's hard to see it. Keep in mind there is more on the other side.
Jaffa is mentioned in the Book of Jonah, which tells the story of how Jonah the Prophet descended to the city's port and sailed for Tarshish in an effort to escape from God’s command.
Jaffa is the oldest active Harbour in the world
The Beautiful Andromeda and the Kraken
Another story associated with the city comes from Greek mythology. Many claim that the tale of the beautiful princess Andromeda, who was bound to rocks in the sea, took place exactly facing the shores of Jaffa. Andromeda’s mother, Queen Cassiopeia, bragged that her daughter was more beautiful than the daughters of Poseidon. The Greek god of the sea became angry, inundated the shores of the Land of Israel with tidal waves and sent monsters to devour the people. Cassiopeia was asked to sacrifice her daughter Andromeda to one of the monsters in order to calm his anger. When she bound her to the rocks Perseus killed the monster, thus rescuing and marrying Andromeda. To this day it is possible to catch a glimpse of the chains on Andromeda Rock, at the entrance to the Jaffa Port.
I put up two pictures from the same area. No one is sure which Rock in the ocean legend claims that Andromeda was chained to... so I took the two most likely areas. What's your guess? Hypothetically speaking.
Simon the Tanner
The best-known rooftop in Jaffa – thanks to Peter’s famous vision – belongs to the House of Simon the Tanner (Acts 10:9-47). It is recognizable by the lighthouse, installed in 1875 to guide ships and fishing vessels past Jaffa's rocky shoals.
Members of the Armenian Christian Zakarian family, who still live in the house, were in charge of operating the lighthouse for generations. After many years of darkness, it once again illuminates Jaffa’s nights as part of the house’s restoration. In the old days, Mrs. Zakarian would welcome an endless stream of Christian visitor seeking to stand where Peter was praying when he saw his vision of the great sheet filled with unclean animals, which led him to convert the Roman centurion Cornelius in Caesarea.
The house and roof are now closed for renovation; however the Old Jaffa Tourism Association looks forward to it’s reopening.
Keywords: Acts 10, Andromeda, Greek Mythology, Jacobs Dream, Jaffa, Jonah, Kraken, Mediterranean Sea, Ocean, Simon the Tanner, St. Peter's Church
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