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The Holy sites of Jerusalem
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The Holy sites of Jerusalem

The Holy sites of Jerusalem

Jerusalem travel guide

Being the most important city for all major religions, the old city of Jerusalem is probably the most fascinating trip you can make while visiting Israel. The history of Jerusalem combines some of the most important events in Jewish and Christian history alike, and the religious sites spread throughout the city capture the imagination of each and every visitor.

The Wailing Wall (the Western Wall) is the first stop for Jewish travelers in the old city of Jerusalem. It is the only remaining part of the ancient temple of King Solomon which has become the holiest spot in Jewish life and an Israeli national symbol as well. The Wailing Wall is where Jewish worshipers pray in a designated area in front of the holy site; mourn over the destruction of the Temple by the Romans, and wish for the return of Israel’s former glory. They also write their personal requests from G-d and post it in little notes between the wall’s ancient stones.

Mount Zion is another Jewish and Christian holy site you wouldn’t want to miss. According to Jewish tradition, Mount Zion is the burial place of King David. Today, it is one of the most popular Jewish burial sites in Jerusalem. Mount Zion is very significant for Christians as well: according to Christian belief, it is where the last supper was held, in the building identified as the Coenaculum, which is also where Jesus reappeared after his resurrection. According to Christianity, in this area of the city the disciples and early Christians were living at the time. Beyond its history, Mount Zion offers some spectacular views of the old city of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem’s vicinity offers several other significant sites for Christian visitors: the nearby Bethlehem, where Jesus was born; the Mount of Olives, where he ascended to heaven, according to Christianity; and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which is the first among the Christian shrines in the Old City of Jerusalem, where the resurrection has been celebrated for many centuries as the most sacred place in all of Christendom. Plus there is the Via Dolorosa, the holiest Christian thoroughfare in the world: This path is symbolically reliving the events of the passion, and includes the shrine of the ascension, the Garden of Gethsemane and Mount Zion.

The holy sites of the old city of Jerusalem have defined its nature for thousands of years and still reflect its remarkable history and significance. Visiting some of these sites and wondering through the streets and markets of the old city is an experience you will carry with you for many years after visiting one of the most special cities in the entire world.

The Old City Market in Jerusalem

The Old City Market in Jerusalem

Set along narrow alleys, mostly within the Muslim Quarter, the Old City of Jerusalem is famous with its colorful market called "Shuk" in Hebrew. The market offers a fascinating variety of lively shops and stalls, from mixed nuts and spices, to different kinds of sweets and pastries, vegetables and falafel, along with souvenirs, ceramics and oriental jewels and cloths. Walking around the market you are likely to see the Arab vendors carrying green carts full of their famous delicious bagels, while others are busy selling their goods to the passing tourists. Do not hesitate to bargain for lower prices, it is commonly acceptable. http://www.inisrael.com/tour/jer/vt_market.htm

Virtual Tour - The Western Wall of Jerusalem

Virtual Tour - The Western Wall of Jerusalem

The holiest Jewish site in the world and a renowned symbol of Jerusalem's Old City, the Western Wall is a remnant of the retaining wall built by Herod the Great in the 1st century BC, to encompass the Second Temple enclosure. As the only remainder of their sacred, destroyed Temple, Jewish people from all over the world, throughout two thousands years of exile, have faced the direction of the Western Wall on their prayers. It is a Jewish belief that the Holy Presence has never left the Western Wall, thus it became the most significant site of Jewish pilgrimage, where Jews came to mourn the ruin of the Temple. This is how the Wall, "Ha'kotel" in Hebrew, has gained the name - the "Wailing Wall". The big plaza in front of the Wall is divided into two sections - one for women and one for men. Here you can observe different kinds of Jewish activities and prayers, from orthodox Jews dressed in black reading their bible, to Israeli soldiers and groups of Jewish tourists. Leaning against the Wall and kissing the stones, the prayers' most famous custom is to insert a note with a prayer to God between the Wall's bricks, believing in its priority to be answered. The Western Wall serves as a favorite location for Jewish traditional celebrations, and gets amazingly alive on Friday eve (the arrival of Sabbath) and on Jewish holidays. While visiting the Kotel you may see a Bar Mitzvah kid holding the Torah on his traditional ceremony, or an excited bride & groom being photographed before their wedding. Information: The Western Wall is open 24 hours, and requires a modest dress for women and a head cover for the men. Admission is free. The closest gate to enter the Old City directly to the Wall is the Dung Gate. Buses No. 1 and 2 reach inside the Old City to the area of the Wall.

Via Dolorosa

Via Dolorosa

The Via Dolorosa, or the Way of Sorrows, is believed to be the route that Jesus took on his way to his crucifixion. This route marks the 14 stations in the Way of the Cross, from the first station where Jesus was condemned to death by Pilate, to the last station where he was laid in the Holy Sepulchre. These stations follow the order of events that is mentioned in the gospels. The last five stations are located inside the church itself and signalize the stations of Jesus' crucifixion and burial. The first eight stations are marked along the street, which goes up from the Muslim Quarter, near the Lions Gate, to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at the Christian Quarter. Information: Visitors can join the official prayer procession every Friday afternoon, which goes along the Via Dolorosa, from the first station and up to the Holy Sepulchre. The Christian Information Center, located at the Old City, can provide further information regarding Christian sites, Tel: 972-2-6272692. View on google map >>

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