We visited Jerusalem during our trip to Egypt and had to take a really long walk through the border, where we were flooded with array of questions, to get there. Border guards can be stubborn and if you have as much bad luck as me, you may even end up being examined for drug possession 🙂 It’s a fun memory to have right now, but back then I would be the last to laugh and could almost feel that something bad is about to happen.
There are few cities with such a big number of reasons for conflicts as Jerusalem. It’s a center of three big monotheistic religions as well as a very popular pilgrimage site.
We started exploring Jerusalem at sunrise, on top of the Mount of Olives, from where we could see the Temple Mount with whipcord Dome of the Rock and the Old Town panorama. We visited placed on a rock of the Mount of Olives Dominus Flevit Church, in which Jesus shed tears over Jerusalem, as well as located northwards Church of the Pater Noster, upraised close by the care, where Jesus taught Apostles. At the foot of the hill we could also find the Garden of Gethsemane, that Jesus prayed before His capture in. The Garden is a home to more than one thousand year old olive trees, which – by some – are thought to be even more ancient and remember the times before Christ.
Later on, we set off to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter, where we looked over the Way of the Cross, Golgotha and the Tomb of Jesus. From there we went to the Western Wall, which is the primary spot of the Jewish Quarter and the most relevant place for Jews.
Western Wall is being approached by men and women from two different sides. It’s the only peace that’s remained after Temple of Jerusalem – the most hallowed religious tabernacle and symbol of Judaism – demolition. Jews have prayed to this 15-meters tall wall and tucked cards with their orisons between its rock-solid blocks for thousands of years, hoping that God will listen to their conjurations. We followed in their footsteps and left there our own wishes, longing to see them become reality.
We walked the Way of the Cross, that runs through both Jewish and Christian Quarter. Some of its stations were a little hard to find in a labyrinth of alleys and booths, which – truth be told – surprised me, as I had been expecting this place to put more emphasis on spiritual needs than commerce.
At the end, we visited the Cenacle – place of Christ and Apostles’ Last Supper.
Our visit to Jerusalem was finished with bath in the Dead Sea, that’s filled with water so salt, it’s impossible to drown in it. The Dead Sea isn’t actually a sea though, but a landlocked, located at Earth’s lowest elevation on land lake. It’s situated 400 meters below sea levels and at its deepest point, it goes down to another 400. This holding salt lake lies in Jordan Rift Valley, between Israel and Jordan.
As Christians, we really wanted to see the Old City of Jerusalem, image of which we had acquired from reading Bible since young age, but the reality turned out a little disappointing and baffling. Nonetheless, we still think it’s worth to visit this place, even if only for confronting your concepts with real life.
– Currency: – New Israeli Sheqel ILS
– Vaccination – not required
– Electricity – 230 V/50 Hz, power sockets of C, H and M type
– Do not visualize the city on the basis of what you read in Bible, because you may be surprised
– Ask border guards not to mark your passport, especially if you intend to go to United Arab Emirates later
– During Sabbath – or in other words since Friday sunset till Saturday sunset – communication in Israel is limited and some street are impassable. Also, offices and institutions, as well as most shops and eating places (including exchange offices) are closed.