Is it even possible to capture the beauty of Jerusalem in just one post? For history and spirituality, few places come close to Jerusalem. It’s an uncontested crucible of faith, infinitely fascinating with unfathomable complexities, and intertwining tales of co-habitation of cultures. So can one bundle all of one’s thoughts and observations in one blog? Absolutely not. One can write tens of blogs on Jerusalem and still might not be able to capture its charm and glory, in full. There will always be shades left untouched or visited in the narrow alleys of this intricate and intimate Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is a cultural awakening. Walking down the David street into the Christian quarter, towards the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, sends a chill down the spine as you come face to face with every pain Jesus had gone through. Outside the entrance pilgrims can be seen kneeling at the Stone of Unction, where they believe Jesus’s body was prepared for burial. As you go, listen to the guide as they show the exact seven spots where Jesus was supposed to have fallen, you cannot but stand in utter bewilderment as people alongside you touch that holy piece of earth, and some weep as the story continues.
And if holiness is Jerusalem’s mainstay, the colorful bazaars and the life around these keep one in a click frenzy state. The Muslim quarters present the best spots for little eat-outs and shopping. I stopped for a traditional Arabic coffee at one of souks that lead to the Temple Mount. Austrian Hospice on the Via Dolorosa for proper Viennese Kaffee, and for the unforgettable roof-top views
A little stray to savour the traditional Turkish delights and the bemusing Bakhlava (Turkish sweet). And then from there, practically several stops to taste the earthy pleasure of Hummus, much smoother and creamier than in Tel Aviv.
The walled city of Jerusalem is a gate to many worlds, many still unopened. Layers of history continue to be unearthed. Ancient worlds lie close to each other in one of the oldest cities in the world. The city of David excavations is unraveling new tales from history every month. An impressive water supply system for the city and a Jebusite fortress have already been excavated. The site beside the Temple of the Mount is already an archaeologist’s paradise. The new discoveries of fortress deep buried, underground treasures, the tunnels, ancient water systems, and signs of ancient city much older than thought, is a reminder that the Holy city has gone constant reinvention (for centuries), and there still lies numerous mysteries waiting to be discovered.
And while the walled city keeps the historic secrets close to its chest, the Jerusalem city outside the walls has opened its arms to the contemporary world with contemporary culture, shopping malls, technology, and intimate dining scenes. This part exists in complete contract to the world of clashing cultures, and secret walkways of the walled city. This is where Jerusalem is seen hurtling towards the future, and here in bookshops, cafes, and art galleries, global diplomacy is discussed. The ongoing war, and the Israel-Palestine conflict is openly and widely discussed. Historians, diplomats, political scientists, and enthused students frequent these public spaces. And in less than a mile of distance, one can observe these transitions, past has given way for the future: and while clashes of past seem to have settled within those compassionate walls, the clashes of future look out in the open nudging you to give an audience.
Read more about Jerusalem in this blog – Within the walls of Jerusalem