The city of Jerusalem (in Hebrew: ירושלים) is home to about 800,000 people…roughly 62% Jews, 35% Muslims, 2% Christians and 1% other; and is considered a holy city to all three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital.
The old, walled city (often called the Old City) still stands in the midst of the more modern city of Jerusalem. In fact, here are some walls and gates of the Old City:
Whereas the Old City is centuries old, other parts of Jerusalem are brand new. In fact, construction is so rampant in Jerusalem that they say the national bird is the crane! (This was a hazy day, but look carefully in the background! Hint: construction!)
Jerusalem has a new light rail…
…modern shopping areas…
…and some incredible views!
Finally, life inside the Old City walls is very interesting. The Old City is composed of 4 “quarters,” though not all the same size: Jewish quarter, Muslim quarter, Armenian quarter, and the Christian quarter. The Christian quarter is not what we would think of as “Christian” in our western minds, but one composed of multiple versions of Christian faith (Greek Orthodox, Coptic, Roman Catholic, etc). Furthermore, the Muslim quarter is the largest portion, while the Jewish quarter is the smallest. Life in the Jewish quarter is much cleaner and more peaceful than other portions. In fact, it is common to see Jewish families hanging out, overseeing their children play! Here are some scenes from the Jewish quarter:
Here are some shots taken in the Muslim quarter:
In the Christian quarter a couple years ago, we witnessed a processional to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (of which many religious groups claim oversight!).
And…here are some sites from the Armenian quarter:
So, there you have it! A sample of each quarter of the Old City, plus a bit about modern Jerusalem! Hope this provides some insight!
Blessings…and stay tuned for more about sites in Jerusalem and the Dead Sea area.