July 4, 2013

Marvels of Jerusalem Old City

Jerusalem has always been a city of great symbolic importance as a holy city mainly for Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The city boasts 220 historic monuments and among them all, the Dome of the rock stands out. Having been built in the 7th century, it is decorated with beautiful floral and geometric motifs and is recognized as the site of Abraham’s sacrifice by all the three religions.

Different religious communities have their own quarters that are delimited by the Wailing Wall and the church of The Holy Sepulcher has the resurrection rotunda that houses the Christ’s tomb. The old city of Jerusalem most definitely holds a magical quality that exists nowhere else in the world. This can perhaps be attributed to its great history of ancient buildings, towering walls or even the sacred atmosphere surrounding the Christian, Jewish and Muslim holy sites. Jerusalem is most definitely a quality historic city that is characterized by narrow alleys, colorful markets and a dynamic history completely woven with peace and war, destruction and resurrection, love and war. Since 1004 BCE when the city was originally built by King David, the holy city has always been considered the center of the world and hence rulers, kings and conquerors have always attempted to storm its great walls as ordinary people made it their faith’s loadstone through great adoration. This is the place where Jesus was crucified, Jews built the temple, and it’s also where Mohammed rose to heaven. Students of great scholars, pilgrims, merchants, beggars, slaves and warriors have walked Jerusalem streets and have revered and showered it with praise and it is hence an important city and the focal tourism point for Israel.

The city rests on the hills of the city of David, is surrounded by a great wall that stretches over four kilometers, has 34 towers, seven gates, and a citadel that is known as the Tower of David and is divided into four quarters of residence.

The Armenian quarter is the smallest quarter mainly occupied by Armenians who settled here for religious reasons in the 4th century CE. The St. James cathedral is the center for Armenian people and was built in the 12th century upon the remains of Byzantine church and is one of the most beautiful churches in Israel and is quite famous for its great paintings.

The Christian quarter has more than 40 monasteries, churches and hostels built for Christian pilgrims. The Holy sepulcher is located in the heart of the Christian quarter and is believed to be where Jesus’ crucified and buried after his last walk through the Stations of the Cross and is where most Christians walk to signify the Christ’s final path. The market is also located in the Christian’s quarter and is one of the most famous attraction sites where tourists can buy decorated pots and other jewelry.

The Jewish quarter is the main Jewish residential site and it has the Wailing Wall which is part of the temple and is hence a holy site for Jews due to its proximity to the Holy Holies which is a holy place for the Jews since it was part of the Temple and close to the Holy of Holies. Several interesting archeological sites such as the Burnt Church and the Cardo Street are also located within the Jewish quarter. The Muslim quarter on the other hand is the largest quarter and has important sacred sites those in Mt. Moria including the dome of the Rock which is also a holy site for the Jews.

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