May 27, 2016
by Jodi Magness
One of the highlights of our archaeological tour of Israel was a visit to the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, which is an American Overseas Research Center. We arrived at the Albright Institute early one morning to begin our walking tour of the Old City of Jerusalem. The Institute is housed in an historic building in East Jerusalem, north of the Old City. It includes a library, laboratories, and a hostel for students and scholars, where I lived for two years while writing my Ph.D. dissertation. The Albright Institute’s most distinctive feature is a beautiful courtyard at the back of the building, which is a quiet oasis away from the bustling activity on nearby Salah ed-Din Street.
Dr. Matt Adams, the Director of the Albright Institute, greeted us upon arrival and provided background about the Institute and its mission. He then took us on a tour of the building, including showing us the rare maps in the library’s collection. After he finished, we set out on our walking tour of the Old City, following the line of Jerusalem’s “Third Wall” (which runs right through the grounds of the Albright), and then heading south to the Damascus Gate, through which we entered the Old City. We followed Jerusalem’s secondary Cardo along the Tyropoeon Valley and the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Sisters of Zion, where there are remains associated with Herod’s Antonia Fortress and Hadrian’s northern forum, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. One special treat: as we turned off from the Cardo Maximus to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, we had an unexpected opportunity to visit the Russian Alexander Hospice, which contains the remains of Hadrian’s western forum, including the original basilica of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We ended our tour with lunch at Lina’s—one of my favorite local hummus restaurants.
I am pleased to announce that I will be leading this AIA tour of Israel again in May 2017. For further information, please contact the AIA Tours office at email@example.com or (800) 748-6262.