Last week I shared my travel experiences from Ramallah, the lively Palestinian town in the West Bank, and now it’s time to go to Jerusalem! Jerusalem is one of the most fought over cities in the world for good reason. Not only does it contain the holy sites for Christians, Muslims, and Jews, but the entire old city is an historical landmark, where even the stones you walk on are 700 to 1000 years old, built during Roman times.
Resting on ancient stones
The city is a labyrinth of ancient stones, with a surprise every where you turn. Shopkeepers fight for your attention as they sell their wares of Palestinian pottery and ornate tapestries, religious figurines carved out of olive wood or mother of pearl, brass hookah pipes in shades of royal blue or crimson red, or leather purses and sandals you can imagine Jesus wearing. The haggling though is not very aggressive at all, and I felt surprisingly safe in the Old City.
The smell is an intoxicating mix of burning incense, za’atar, (the most prominent smell from the mountains of spices,) as well as shawarma sandwiches, syrup soaked pastries, and freshly baked breads loaded with caraway or sesame seeds:
My secret to really enjoying this part of the city? Go there after 5:00 pm, when the massive busloads of tourists have left, and the weather changes from a sweltering 85 degrees to a breezy 70 degrees. This is the time when the locals show up, playing their instruments at dusk, selling their fresh pomegranate and orange juice, or strolling with their children, who perform gravity defying tricks on their well worn bicycles and skateboards. Damascus Gate, the apex of the Christian and Muslim Quarters, looks magical at night, with various lights reflected against the walls, as families watch from the steps.
Damascus Gate at Night:
I hope I have piqued your interest to learn more about this spiritual city, as I delve into more detail about my discoveries in this latest video below!