The city of Jerusalem is sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims visit is a religious experience, even beyond the limits of the captivating Old Town.
Photography by Wilson Afonso
It is the place where most of the planet dreams of a peace that never arrives. It is also one of the few capitals that is not officially recognized as such. However, that does not stop one of the most fascinating cities. With its variety of cultures and religions, Jerusalem is open to the world, reveals some mysteries of the hidden history and many others. Regarded worldwide as the cradle of civilization, Jerusalem has historical significance for three of the major religions and over the years has proven to be irresistible not only for archaeologists but also for tourists, whatever their faith.
Some are attracted by the religious monuments, others by the variety of landscapes, and others, the fascinating contrast between the modern and ancient. But all agree the same charm: walk in the footsteps of history retracing the same roads that the patriarch Abraham 4000 years ago, Jesus’ 2000 or the prophet Mohammed a little over 1000.
The Old City walls, Roman arches and Ottoman strongholds intersect with modern buildings and shopping centers. “Here Mohammed rested before ascending to heaven”, have a point to the golden dome and it became one of the postcards of Jerusalem.
Photography by GGL1
“These are the ruins of the Second Temple,” says another with their eyes on an ancient wall. As a further point to a magnificent church and state: “There was buried Christ.” In the Holy Land are all Christian denominations (Catholics six different rites, Orthodox and Protestant), Judaism has its political and religious center, and the Muslim presence is imposing. That is what Jerusalem, a place to live all. At the same time and separately.
Walking the narrow streets of Old Town is not easy. Not so much for your building, still intact with the features of thousands of years, but for many people. This sector, with its ancient stone walls, enclosing three sacred places for the largest monotheistic religions of the world. The golden dome of the Dome of the Rock, third place of pilgrimage for Muslims after Mecca and Medina, the Western Wall, revered by Jews, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, site of pilgrimage for Christians.
That’s why thousands of Christians are directed daily a few blocks from the Lion Gate in the Muslim section of the Old Town, to undertake and to revive the Via Crucis. “Christ has changed the world,” says Norma convinced, a Spanish woman of 78 years with a group of fellow is ready to retrace the path of the lead Calvary to the Holy Sepulchre.
The church, run by Franciscans, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox, is one of the holiest sites for Christians and gathers faithful from all over the world (estimated to be visited daily by about 5000 people). For believers in the place of burial and resurrection of Jesus end his pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Photography by jmerelo
For Jews who come to Old Town the route will be to the Western Wall, a sign of dispute for years and it symbolizes the heart of Judaism. A simple view represents a huge wall, but the Western Wall, part of what remained of the Jewish Second Temple after being destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, has an enormous political and religious significance. This is where thousands of people who come lay a piece of paper written in the handwriting between the stones. Everyone who comes to this site, jealously guarded by the Orthodox sector, is entitled to the mystique that is apparent in every prayer.
Also, the main Jewish sector, which occupies the southeastern part of the city, contains the Zion Gate, south of which is the mountain of the same name and the tomb of King David, the latter a site that formerly, before the Six Day War, replaced for many years the place where Jews lament the destruction of the Temple, when the current Western Wall was in the hands of the Palestinians.
Have a good trip to Jerusalem!