Old City Jerusalem

Old City Jerusalem is less than a third of a square mile within the sprawling modern city. It is a spiritually important site of worldwide significance for three religions—Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. To illustrate the significance that transcends national borders, it was the country of Jordan (which was instrumental in heavily damaging it during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War) that proposed the Old City of Jerusalem as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was added to the list in 1982. There are numerous things to see In Old City Jerusalem of religious, historic, and archaeological interest.

The sights in Old City appeal to all, regardless of religious beliefs. Its history is long and rich. Beginning eleven centuries before the birth of Christ, it was inhabited by Jebusites, Hebrew Kings David and Solomon, and Babylonians. It was during this time that the protective Old City Jerusalem walls were built. Part of these walls is said to be the existing Wailing Wall or, more properly, the Western Wall, which once surrounded the great Jewish Temple of Solomon and the Dome of the Rock from which the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven. The walls of the Old City of Jerusalem extend for almost 3 miles and contain more than 40 watchtowers and 11 gates, of which 7 are open today.

Old City Jerusalem was occupied by Muslims in the seventh century, and they retained it until 1099 when it was captured during the First Crusade by Christians from Europe. After that, it passed variously between Muslims and Christians for centuries, with Jews allowed to resettle the area and worship as they pleased at various times.

The Old City of Jerusalem comprised the entire city until the late nineteenth century when the modern metropolis began to grow around it. It is roughly divided into four quarters, the Muslim Quarter, Armenian Quarter, Jewish Quarter, and Christian Quarter. While the Armenian Quarter is made up primarily of Christians, they are distinct from each other. The major things to see In Old City Jerusalem relate to the three religions with Jewish and Muslim holy sites overlapping at Temple Mount, and which also contains the Dome of the Rock.

Even those sites sacred to Christians make their way into the Muslim Quarter, as the Via Dolorosa (Latin for, Way of Grief or Suffering) traverses it. This is traditionally the path that Christ walked, carrying his cross, prior to the crucifixion. Its terminus is in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built over what Christians consider to be Golgotha or the Hill of Calvary. Every Friday, there is a Catholic procession along this route, and one of the important events in the city is Easter, when pilgrims come from around the world to participate in another reenactment.

Things To See In Old City Jerusalem also include those sites that are sacred to Muslims, most notably the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock, as well as the Al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. The other two are the Masjid al-Haram Mosque built around the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, a site that is obligatory for Muslims to visit once in their life if they are physically and financially able to do so, and the Mosque of the Prophet, in Medina.

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