Round the World, Travel

The Old City of Jerusalem

November 26, 2010

The Old City is the obvious top must-see in Jerusalem.  It is where the heart and soul of the city beats.  It’s divided into four quarters — the Jewish Quarter, the Christian Quarter, the Muslim Quarter and the Armenian Quarter, each with a distinct feel.

A word to the wise.  If you are traveling alone or even in a pair prepare to be bombarded with people trying to whisk you into their shop, give you a free tour and then whisk you into their shop, give you a free tour and invite you for a cup of tea by whisking you into their shop, tell you how much they love America and then whisk you into their shop.  Once they’ve whisked you into their shop, the hard sell begins.  It is exhausting.  If you hate this (and I do), go with a tour group.  There are free walking tours as well as paid excursions that take you around Jerusalem as well outside the Old City.  If you refuse to go into the shop, they try to get you in by saying they want to give you their card.  This occurs in three of the four Quarters.  The only Quarter where I didn’t experience any of this is in the Jewish Quarter.  It was like exhaling when I finally got past all this.  That aside, it’s really cool with all the little streets and alleys to imagine people living here centuries ago.  Despite the hard sell, it is worth seeing the bazaars as the sites and smells of spices, etc. are something to experience.  And whether you are religious or not, the sense of history and religious foundations and the fighting over this small plot of land, not just now but for thousands of years, really takes you somewhere like you’ve never imagined.

Tower of David

Walled street in the Jewish Quarter

Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall

Women’s side of the Western Wall

Western Wall

Western Wall

Al-Aqsa Mosque – oldest mosque outside Mecca.  

Wall from the First Temple Period
Damascus Gate


Church of the Holy Sepulchre – where Jesus is supposedly buried 
and where the resurrection is to occur

Stone of the Annointing – believed to be where Jesus was prepared for burial

Jaffa Gate – one of 11 gates to the Old City, although only 7 are accessible

Dome of the Rock

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1 Comment

  • Reply Martha November 28, 2010 at 3:52 am

    So cool.

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