One of the great things about Jerusalem's Old City is that there is so much you can learn by just spending a few hours behind those old stone walls. It is truly an amazing feeling to know that you stand where millions of other have stood before you through different periods of time. Some who hold witness to events you can only read about in some of the oldest books (Torah, Bible, Qur'an).
I am fascinated by religions and history, so for me to actually see these places was a dream come true. To sit in awe, as I gazed at the architecture that was created way before the technology of today and even the technology 200 years ago, was amazing. Some of these monuments were constructed in B.C.E or in the early C.E.
If you travel to these sites, keep in mind to dress a bit more conservatively in the Old City. Bring a scarf or lightweight cover up with you. Non-Muslims are not allowed inside the Dome of the Rock or Al-Aqsa Mosque but you can take in the beautiful outside architecture. There are certain times for tourists to go to Temple Mount (Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa) so make sure to check what time as they may vary and get there early as there is a line.
The Western Wall is divided into a Men's side and a Women's side so please be respectful of this. Also keep in mind that for many people (especially those who live here) these are not tourist attractions but actual important places where they worship. There is a large crowd in front of the Western (or Wailing) Wall and please do not be that tourist with an envelope, full of papers to stuff in the wall, pushing people who are praying out of the way. One last piece of advice, do not accept the offer from the man near Al-Aqsa Mosque. He will tell you for 20 Shekels you can look inside the window of the mosque. There is a reason why non-Muslims are not allowed inside and please respect that and do not peep on people trying to pray.
I spent a good portion of my day sitting and taking it all in. Also trying to read the Arabic calligraphy on the Dome of the Rock. Other than the world Allah, I have no idea what is written, only that it is written beautifully.
Have you been to Jerusalem? Were you mesmerized by what you found in the Old City? After seeing these pictures do you now wish to visit?
Labels: 2014, History, Israel, Jerusalem, Middle East, Old City, Palestine, Religion, Travel