A visit to Jerusalem is like putting all the theory from school religious classes into practice. But on top of that it is a beautiful and friendly city.
The old city of Jerusalem is a maze of streets, wonderful for walking around in, haggling with the shop keepers over a good bargain, visiting museums and of course visiting churches. The most famous area of the Old City is the Western Wall. I didn’t know this but the Western Wall has a male section and a female section. The cracks in the wall are filled with papers people have written their prayers on. It is a very quiet area with people touching the wall and whispering their prayers. We were also fortunate enough to haven taken an informative tour which took us underground to where the Western Wall is hidden also seeing an old Roman road, pool, another prayer spot along the way.
The Via Dolorosa is a street within the old city that is said to be the path Jesus took whilst carrying the cross which finishes at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. From the outside it doesn’t look like a church with only a small entrance on a dead end street. Inside is another story, it was filled with people and the highlight is the altar of crucifixion which is the spot where Jesus was placed on the cross, each side of the altar covered under a display case are original rocks and the cross is said to have been placed in between these rocks. Walking the Via Dolorosa we came across many groups carrying crosses re-creating the steps Jesus took.
Conscription is compulsory in Israel and young people are walking around everywhere in their uniforms carrying large guns which was a little frightening to see at first but I got used to it, they are quite friendly to talk with and I even got my photo taken with two blokes on duty in the old city.
At night when the shops are shut the old city turns into a ghost town with only dimmed lighting in the alley ways which makes for some great photography. A local even told us how we could go up on the roofs and walk along to see great views of the Dome of the Rock and the city, that was pretty sweet.
We managed to escape the old city walls one afternoon to walk up to the Mount of Olives as the sun was setting this made for a great photo with the Dome of the Rock and the old city in the background. We were chased out by a freaky guy we didn’t know what he wanted but we didn’t stay to find out.
If you ever find yourself in Israel I would highly recommend spending a few days in Jerusalem, it’s a great history lesson!
Travelled to Old City of Jerusalem: 23 October to 26 October 2010