Jerusalem Pictures Israel

The walls of Jerusalem's Old City, Israel.

The walls of Jerusalem’s Old City built by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1538. Photo by GameOfLight.

Jerusalem, a dramatic and never ending story

Jerusalem's Old City Lion Gate, Israel

Jerusalem’s Old City Damascus Gate. Photo by Laurice Haddad.

Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world with evidence of habitation from 4, 000 BC and has been a major point of conflict for over 2, 000 years from the Crusader days of Christians vs Arabs/Moors to the more recent Jews vs Arabs/Palestinians. The city has been attacked 52 times, captured 44 times and destroyed twice.
Ironically the three religions squabbling over the city, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, all claim the same founding father – Abraham/Ibrahim. The Old City is divided into four quarters – Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters.

The most important sights in Jerusalem

The Temple Mount, the Western Wall, al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock which are conveniently in the same location. Trouble is you need to be either Jewish or Muslim to get really near/inside these places. Anyone can, however, visit the Christian holy grail (if I may use that term) of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre or the Garden Tomb. Jesus’ birthplace is 10 kms away in Bethlehem.

The Temple Mount

A southern view of the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel

A southern view of the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. Photo by Andrew Shiva.

The Al Aqsa mosque is the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina while the Temple Mount is the most important site in Judaism. The Dome of the Chain was constructed around 685 AD and was a model for the Dome of the Rock that was built 6 years later.

Visiting the Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel

Visiting the Western Wall is a must-do for Jews, tho’ posing for pix is not. Note the paper prayers stuffed into cracks.

A Christian tourist carrying a large cross through the streets of Jerusalem's Old City, Israel

Ageing Anglo-Saxons believe that bearing a cross in Jerusalem will get them into St Peter’s good books.

Arabs smoking shishas in Jerusalem, Israel

But ageing Palestinian arabs prefer to spend their time chatting and puffing on shishas when they’re not praying five times a day.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Ethiopian bishop, Jerusalem Old City, Israel

There are all sorts of Christians wandering around the vicinity of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre including this self-important Ethiopian bishop standing in front of the building.

The Aedicule (a framing device or taberncle) of Jesus, Jerusalem Old City, Israel

The Aedicule (a framing device or tabernacle) of Jesus. Photo by Jlascar.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also known as the Church of the Resurrection, is one of the two most sacred spots in Jerusalem for Christian pilgrims as it is supposedly built over the hill on which Jesus was crucified and the tomb in which He was buried. Others believe the Golgotha hill and tomb is just outside the walls of Jerusalem as that’s where executions traditionally took place. Whatever, the Holy Sepulchre is a must-see by any tourist to this city.

The Altar of the Crucifixion in the Church of Holy Sepulchre, one traditional site of Golgotha Jerusalem Old City, Israel

The Altar of the Crucifixion in the Church of Holy Sepulchre, one traditional location of Golgotha (the church was built on top of the crucifixion site).

Golgotha Hill

Golgotha Hill rock face, also known as Calvary, Jerusalem Old City, Israel

Golgotha Hill, also known as Calvary. Gol’gotha means skull in various languages. In the Gospel of St John: ‘So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Gol’gotha’.

Golgotha, known today as Skull Hill, is a cliff resembling the eyes of a skull. Nearby is an ancient rock-cut tomb known today as the Garden Tomb which contains several ancient burial places.

The Garden Tomb

The Garden Tomb, Jerusalem Old City, Israel

The Garden Tomb. Visitors can go inside.

Time to relax after all that religious confusion!

A pedestrianised street for cheap eating in Jerusalem, Israel

A popular and good value dining street in Jerusalem’s new city. The Old City offers few good eating options.

Food in Jerusalem, good value nosh anyway, tends towards the Levantine standard of deep fried vegetables plus whatever protein is lying around. So aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes and so on are crispy and tasty but absurdly fatty too. But hey, you’re on holiday!