Jerusalem, The Holy City

I visited Jerusalem in June 2000 and it was and still is one of the most fascinating and certainly strange/crazy places I have ever been. It has an extraordinary accumulation of history, religion and violence. There are many different groups that claim to inherit Jerusalem as their own and I am not going to start a holy war here so I will just talk about the city itself and my experience.

Jerusalem is divided into sectors or quarters which different groups of people basically operate within the old city. It is very cool to see but extremely weird at the same time. Regardless of your religion or beliefs on who may actually have the real claim, it is amazing to see all these people and groups coexist or at least try. The old city is just that, old. It is a maze of alleys and chasms where you can buy anything you want leading up to some of the most important holy sites in history. If you think about it, most wars have been fought over religion-at least before the oil war days, and Jerusalem is the lightning rod of religion.

My favorite site was the Western Wall or Wailing Wall depending on who you talk to. My cousin and I were there and watched as the worshippers bowed for several minutes; literally just bowing back and forth while reciting a prayer. They also stuck little notes in the wall. The cracks in the wall were filled with thousands of tiny notes jammed in tight. We just watched in disbelief at how they were conducting themselves. If you haven’t ever seen it, it’s hard to explain, but extremely interesting.

Other sites in Jeruslalem include: The Dome of the Rock; Church of the Holy Sepulcher; Place of the Ascension and of course the Jewish Quarter along with several monasteries. Jerusalem to me was nothing like I expected. I am still not sure exactly what I thought of it as a destination but I do know this, it will peek your interest and certainly cause you to ask a lot of questions. My best recommendation is to do a walking tour of the old city because the guides are thorough and knowledgeable and can kind of help you to understand exactly what Jerusalem is and why it is such a lightning rod of violence and debate. Jerusalem will make you feel strange, in a way thats hard to explain. You’re not really quite sure what to make of it but you’re certainly glad you were there.

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  1. …especially seeing the wall during Shabbat, religion aside, its truly amazing

  2. Lauren Davies says

    I didn’t like being in Jerusalem. I thought it would be interesting but I just thought it was really dirty and kind of frightening. I never really felt comfortable there.

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