December 25, 2005 |
Thousands of tourists and pilgrims gathered here for Christmas Eve celebrations, bringing a long-missing sense of holiday cheer to the town where Christians believe Jesus was born. Spirits were buoyed this year by Israel's summer withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and a sharp drop in violence. Throughout the day, choirs, marching bands and bagpipe players entertained the crowds.
October 30, 2005 |
SOMEDAY I would like to see the Empty Quarter in the Arabian Desert; the Syrian trading entrepot Aleppo; the ancient Persian capital of Esfahan; Central Asia's Tien Shan mountains; Borobudur Temple on the island of Java; the Vale of Kashmir in the Himalayas; Mecca; all the great sights of Dar al-Islam, historically a broad swath of Eurasia and Africa that was converted and colonized by followers of Muhammad.
October 16, 2005 |
India's summer monsoon had started to taper off when I climbed the bank from the chai-colored Hooghly River to the railroad bed. Pottery shards and other detritus littered the stones between the railway ties, and it was there that I found a relic, my most sentimental acquisition from the trip: a kulhar, or earthenware tea cup, discarded from a moving locomotive, as is the custom. Miraculously, the vessel had survived intact.
September 2, 2005 |
The hospital walls here are papered with photos. It could be New York City after Sept. 11 or Sri Lanka after last year's tsunami. But these are not family snapshots of the missing. These are gruesome images of the found.
August 9, 2005 |
Workers repairing a sewage pipe in the Old City of Jerusalem have discovered the biblical Pool of Siloam, a freshwater reservoir that was a major gathering place for ancient Jews making religious pilgrimages to the city and the reputed site where Jesus cured a man blind from birth, according to the Gospel of John.
July 6, 2005 |
In the overgrown, mixed-up jumble of an orchard at Circle C, the elderly Persian mulberry trees stand apart, each one's long, rubbery limbs propped up by a ring of 6-foot-high sticks whittled to allow the limbs to rest in a crook at the top. These were the first trees planted by Cheng Ja Blain back in the early 1970s, when Circle C was nothing but high desert tumbleweeds and sagebrush, says her husband, Clarence Blain. He has no idea why she planted them.
March 26, 2005 |
Yusef Kaman, a skinny and wispy-mustached Palestinian teenager, offered a brief, wheezing commentary on the Easter season here this year, the first time in five years that Christian pilgrims have descended in large numbers on the holy city. "These are really heavy!" the 14-year-old said, panting as he lugged a pair of 6-foot wooden crosses down Via Dolorosa, the cobblestoned thoroughfare in the walled Old City that is held by tradition to be the path Jesus Christ took to his crucifixion.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 12, 2005 |
Mahmoud Abdel-Baset was scared. As director of religious affairs for the Islamic Center of Southern California in Los Angeles, he and his interfaith partners had condemned the Taliban's destruction of precious Buddhist statues in Afghanistan. He had participated in prayer vigils after the Los Angeles riots and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He had helped lead countless discussions about the intersection of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
January 23, 2005 |
As rains lashed the Saudi desert, tens of thousands of drenched Muslim pilgrims welcomed the deluge Saturday as an act of God as they circled the Kaaba shrine in this holy city's Grand Mosque, the final rite in the annual hajj pilgrimage. A record 2.56 million people took part in this year's hajj. Saudi authorities, jittery over fears that terrorists might strike the event, said increased security and improved crowd management saw the pilgrimage go off without a hitch.
January 17, 2005 |
Saudi Arabia says it is ready to play host to more than 2 million pilgrims for this year's hajj after tightening security in an effort to ensure the annual Muslim rite passes without incident. Authorities want to thwart possible attacks by Al Qaeda, political protests by pilgrims, and stampedes of the kind that killed about 250 people last year.