The Bordeaux Pilgrim (333 C.E.) describes Jerusalem

Twenty-eight miles from thence on the left hand, as one goes towards Jerusalem, is a village named Bethar. A mile from thence is the place where Jacob slept when he was journeying into Mesopotamia, and here is the almond tree; here Jacob saw the vision and the angel wrestled with him. Here was King Jeroboam when the prophet was sent to him, that he should turn himself to the Most High God; and the prophet was ordered not to eat bread with the false prophet whom the king had with him, and because he was beguiled by the false prophet and ate bread with him, as he was returning a lion fell upon the prophet on the way and slew him.

Thence to Jerusalem … xii [miles].

Total from Caesarea Palaestina to Jerusalem 116 miles, 4 halts, 4 changes.

There are in Jerusalem two large pools at the side of the temple, that is, one upon the right hand, and one upon the left, which were made by Solomon; and further in the city are twin pools, with five porticoes, which are called Bethsaida. There persons who have been sick for many years are cured; the pools contain water which is red when it is disturbed. There is also here a crypt, in which Solomon used to torture devils. Here is also the corner of an exceeding high tower where our Lord ascended and the tempter said to Him, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence.” And the Lord answered, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God, but him only shalt thou serve.” There is a great comer-stone, of which it was said, “The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner.” Under the pinnacle of the tower are many rooms, and here was Solomon’s palace. There also is the chamber in which he sate and wrote the [Book of] Wisdom; this chamber is covered with a single stone. There are also large subterranean reservoirs for water and pools constructed with great labor. And in the building itself, where stood the temple which Solomon built, they say that the blood of Zacharias which was shed upon the stone pavement before the altar remains to this day. There are also to be seen the marks of the nails in the shoes of the soldiers who slew him, throughout the whole enclosure, so plain that you would think they were impressed upon wax. There are two statues of Hadrian, and not far from the statues there is a perforated stone, to which the Jews come every year and anoint it, bewail themselves with groans, rend their garments, and so depart. There also is the house of Hezekiah King of Judah. Also as you come out of Jerusalem to go up Mount Sion, on the left hand, below in the valley, beside the wall, is a pool which is called Siloe and has four porticoes; and there is another large pool outside it. This spring runs for six days and nights, but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, it does not run at all, either by day or by night. On this side one goes up Sion and sees where the house of Caiaphas the priest was, and there still stands a column against which Christ was beaten with rods. Within, however, inside the wall of Sion, is seen the place where was David’s palace. Of seven synagogues which once were there, one alone remains the rest are ploughed over and sown upon, as said Isaiah the prophet.

From thence as you go out of the wall of Sion, as you walk towards the gate of Neapolis, towards the right, below in the valley, are walls, where was the house or praetorium of Pontius Pilate. Here our Lord was tried before His passion. On the left hand is the little hill of Golgotha where the Lord was crucified. About a stone’s throw from thence is a vault wherein His body was laid, and rose again on the third day. There, at present, by the command of the Emperor Constantine, has been built a basilica, that is to say, a church of wondrous beauty, having at the side reservoirs from which water is raised, and a bath behind in which infants are washed [baptized].

Also as one goes from to Jerusalem to the gate which is to the eastward, in order to ascend the Mount of Olives, is the valley called that of Josaphat. Towards the left, where are vineyards, is a stone at the place where Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ; on the right is a palm-tree, branches of which the children carried off and strewed in the way when Christ came. Not far from thence, about a stone’s-throw, are two notable tombs of wondrous beauty; in the one, which is a true monolith, lies Isaiah the prophet, and in the other Hezekiah, King of the Jews.a

From thence you ascend to the Mount of Olives, where before the Passion, the Lord taught His disciples. There by the orders of Constantine a basilica of wondrous beauty has been built. Not far from thence is the little hill which the Lord ascended to pray, when he took Peter and John with Him, and Moses and Elias were beheld. A mile and a half to the eastward is the village called Bethany. There is a vault in which Lazarus, whom the Lord raised, was laid.

From Jerusalem to Jericho…[xviii miles].

From Itinerary from Bordeaux to Jerusalem, trans. Aubrey Stewart (London: Palestine Pilgrims’ Text Society, 1887).

Egeria (381–384 C.E.) visits the Tomb of Moses and the Ruins of Sodom

We set out and came to the foot of Mount Nebo; it was very high, but mostly possible to ascend on the donkeys, though there were some steeper parts where we had to dismount, and it was hard going.

On reaching the mountain-top we came to a church, not a very big one, right on the summit of Mount Nebo, and inside, in the position of the pulpit, I saw a slightly raised place about the size of a normal tomb. I asked about it, and the holy men replied, “Holy Moses was buried here—by angels, since the Bible tells us ‘No human being knoweth his burial.’ And there is no doubt that it was angels who buried him, since the actual tomb where he was buried can be seen today. Our predecessors here pointed out this place to us, and now we point it out to you. They told us that this tradition came from their predecessors.”

Soon we had had the prayer and the other things which were usual in a holy place, and we were about to leave the church. Then the presbyters and holy monks who were familiar with the place asked us, “Would you like to see the places which are described in the Books of Moses? If so, go out of the church door to the actual summit, the place which has the view, and spend a little time looking at it. We will tell you which places you see.” This delighted us, and we went straight out. From the church door itself we saw where the Jordan runs into the Dead Sea, and the place was down below where we were standing. Then, facing us, we saw Livias on our side of the Jordan, and Jericho on the far side, since the height in front the church door, where we were standing, jutted out over the valley. In fact from there you can see most of Palestine, the Promised Land and everything in the area of Jordan as far as the eye can see.

To our left was the whole country of the Sodomites, including Zoar, the only one of the five cities which remains today. There is still something left of it, hut all that is left of the others is heaps of ruins, because they were burned to ashes. We were also shown the place where Lot’s wife had her memorial, as you read in the Bible. But what we saw, reverend ladies, was not the actual pillar, but only the place where it had been. The pillar itself, they say, has been submerged in the Dead Sea—at any rate we did not see it, and I cannot pretend that we did. In fact it was the bishop there, the Bishop of Zoar, who told us that it was now a good many years since the pillar had been visible. It used to stand near the sixth milestone from Zoar, but was now completely submerged by water. Then we went round outside to the right of the church, and they showed us two cities facing us. One was Heshbon, now called Exebon, the city of Sehon, king of the Amorites, and the other the city of Og, king of Bashan, which is now called Safdra. Also from this point they pointed out facing us Peor, a city of the kingdom of Edom. All these cities we saw were perched in the mountains, but just below us was a flatter tract of land; there, we were told, Moses and the children of Israel had their camp when they were fighting the cities, and we could see traces of the camp. From what I call the left side of the mountain, the side nearest the Dead Sea, we were shown a very abrupt mountain which was once called the Viewpoint. This is the mountain where Balak the son of Beor put Balaam the Seer so that he should curse the children of Israel, and God would not allow it, as we are told in the Bible. So when we had seen all we wanted, we returned in the name of God, by way of Jericho and the same road by which we had come, to Jerusalem.

From Egeria’s Travels to the Holy Land, trans. John Wilkinson (Warminster, England: Aris and Phillips, 1981), pp. 106–108.