JERUSALEM

 

What hasn't already been said about the holiest city in the world, the golden city first built thousands of years ago, whose history can be heard in the whispering of the wind along the old walls. Such is Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, the only city in the world that appears in ancient maps at the center of the world. And rightly so.

Jerusalem is a unique city with an amazing story more than five millennia old, with a deep bond with the three great monotheistic religions of the world as well as a modern life that has nothing to envy of any European capital. Here one can cross entire worlds in an instant, going from being completely immersed with the biblical story around and inside the city to drinking French wines at a chic and modern bar in the blink of an eye. Jerusalem has it all.

WHAT TO DO IN JERUSALEM?

In the heart of Jerusalem stands the Old City, surrounded by an ancient wall and divided into four parts - the Jewish quarter, the Armenian quarter, the Christian quarter and the Muslim quarter. Within the walls one can find the most sacred places of the three major religions: the Western Wall, which is sacred to the Jews; the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, sacred for Christians, and the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, a holy place for Muslims. The Western Wall plaza is visited by millions of worshipers. Here, at the base of the massive wall that is a remnant of the Holy Temple, prayers and notes with sincere wishes are wedged between the crevices of the stone, a direct connection to God.

Surrounding the Western Wall there are other important Jewish sites - the Western Wall tunnels, the incredible Davidson Center, the Jewish Quarter with its magnificent synagogue Cardo and David's Citadel, standing in all of its beauty. South of the Old Town lies the City of David, the original city from which Jerusalem grew to become the city it is today.

CHRISTIAN HISTORY

Jerusalem is also very important to Christianity, since according to tradition Jesus Christ lived and died there. One of the most prominent and important sites in the Christian quarter is the Via Dolorosa, where Jesus took his last steps towards the hill where he was crucified and buried. Many pilgrims come to Jerusalem to follow in his footsteps along a route that starts in the Muslim Quarter passing the 14 stations of the cross, and ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Several of the most important Christian relics are housed in this church, including the anointing stone (on which Jesus' body was laid before His burial) and the tomb of Jesus. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is therefore a place of pilgrimage for millions of Christians around the world.

Southwest of the Old City lies Mount Zion, house of the Dormition Abbey which was built on the site where according to Christian tradition, Mary spent her last night. The abbey was built about 100 years ago and in the basement there is a historic statue of Mary. Beside the abbey stands the Room of the Last Supper, where Jesus ate his last meal around his disciples. Everywhere one turns, the heavy history calls upon us, from the stony roads and the ancient alleys to the walls and the architecture, it is inescapable. at the end you can visit also the David Tomb, the most important king for the Jewish people.

JERUSALEM'S HISTORY

The construction of Jewish neighborhoods in the new city began in the 19th century. Some of the neighborhoods have retained their original picturesque charm, and wandering among the old houses is a real pleasure. There are many other interesting and unique sites from different periods throughout the city, such as Armon Hanatziv, the Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem, the Monastery of the Cross, the Monastery of Elisha and the YMCA building. Among the more modern sites stands the Supreme Court, the Israel Museum, the Biblical Zoo, the Knesset, Mount Herzl and the Mahane Yehuda market with its unparalleled variety of exciting sounds, colors, flavors and aromas.

Museum lovers will be delighted to discover that Jerusalem is dotted with dozens of museums full of rich exhibits, such as the Israel Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Bloomfield Science Museum, the Rockefeller Museum and the Museum of Islamic Art.