Jerusalem is the holiest city for the three major Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The city is located in the Middle East, in Israel, between the Dead and the Mediterranean Seas. To everyone who has visited this place it is quite clear that there really is some kind of energy hovering around, which the pilgrims of the three religions would assure you exists. The first written record of Jerusalem as an existing city date back to the second millennium BC. And ever since, every change from a historical point of view has been incorporated into the city’s architecture, the way of life there, the extraordinary magic of this place.
Currently, more than 800 thousand people are living there. The pilgrims who visit the place every year, however, outnumber the population quite dramatically. And from a historical point of view, the economy of the city has mainly been supported by its visitors. Jerusalem covers a large area of land. The water supply throughout the years has been a major problem and during the numerous excavations archaeologist found the remains of the former aqueducts, which were used to provide fresh water for the holy city. The landscape within and around the city has been changing alarmingly through the years. Wars here, as well as many other circumstances, have completely destroyed the landscape of the city, which is described in the Bible as a city, surrounded by pine trees, olive and almond groves.
The Old City of Jerusalem, together with fortress walls, has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. After its founding the city has been a part of many ancient and mediaeval countries. In the first millennium BC King David chooses the place as the centre of the Jewish Kingdom. His son Solomon builds a palace, a fortress and a temple. During the times of the Roman Empire, the place is governed by Pontius Pilate. It is namely under his rule that Jesus Christ is crucified. The Old City is a labyrinth of history, sounds and sensations, which could only be experienced in situ.
Here landmarks are literally standing one on top of the other. The cityscape is as horizontal as it is vertical, especially as far as architecture is concerned. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus is crucified, buried and resurrects, is the holiest place for Christianity. Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third most important place about Islamic prayers after Mecca and Medina. The Western Wall, also referred to as the “Wailing Wall”, is the holiest place where Jews are permitted to pray. The history of this place, as well as everything there is to know about this place can fit into a sheet of paper. It will be rather difficult to grasp the magic of it unless you visit Jerusalem in person. And in case you decide to do so, then never leave this place without having tried some hummus and pita bread.
Text: Stefy Stoeva