The ancient land of Israel has thousands upon thousands of archeological sites, 2000 being in Jerusalem only. I believe you can spend a week in the old city and I am pretty sure it wont be enough to get to know it. But if you don´t have that much time, my recommendation is to visit:
- Walk the “Via Dolorosa” where Jesus took his final walk from the place of Pontius Pilate’s sentencing to Golgotha
- Dome of the Rock (Al-Aqsa Mosque), an Islamic shrine located on the Temple Mount. The piece of black stone it covers is the mountain where Abraham tried to sacrifice his son
- The Western Wall, which is considered holy due to its connection to the Temple Mount. It was one of four walls Herod the Great built to support the 1,555,000-square-foot plaza on which the Temple stood.
- Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where Orthodox and Catholic Christians mark the crucifixion and burial of Jesus
- Mahane Yehuda Market
- Mount of Olives, which is one of the most prominent sites in the Jerusalem vicinity mentioned in the Holy Scriptures.
- And if you extra time, visit the quarters of the Old City – Armenian, Jewish, Christian and Muslim
Today we woke up a little later because our lets were tired. So at 9:00 am, we walked to the Old City, passing through the Jaffa Gate and the Tower of David and we had this amazing breakfast in a little place with delicious coffee with cardamom (138 ILS for 2 breakfast, 34€).
Then we walked through the little streets of the old city, got close again to the Western Wall, passing through the checkpoints, which then we exit to go to the terrace to have a better view of the wall.
Turned out the Dome of the Rock opens today (Sunday) from 12:30 to 13:30, so we went to the queue at 12:00, which was already very long, and after passing the checkpoint, we spent around 1 hour there, basically until it closed. Be aware that tripods are not allowed, we had to come back after the visit, running, to get our tripods.
The Dome of the Rock is not a mosque, but a Muslim shrine, built over a sacred stone, known as the Foundation Stone, which bears great significance for Jews and Muslims as the site of Abraham’s attempted sacrifice of his son (Isaac according to Genesis 22:2, Ishmael according to Islamic belief).
According to some Islamic scholars, the rock is the spot from which the Islamic prophet Muhammad ascended to Heaven accompanied by the angel Gabriel. (Read more here)
The next goal we accomplished was to walk the Via Dolorosa, from the beginning and finishing in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
- 1st Station: Jesus is condemned to death. This station is a few meters from the Umariya Elementary School. Each station is marked with a medallion indicating the station in Roman numerals. The door at the end of the ramp was closed, but a little boy from the shop next it told us he would open it for 20 ILS, and well, we gave him 20 ILS (worth it!)
- 2nd Station: Jesus carries his cross. This station is at the Ecce Homo Arch, named after the famous phrase (“Behold the Man” in Latin) spoken by Pilate when he showed the scourged Jesus to the crowd. Across the street from Umariyya School is a Franciscan compound containing the Chapel of the Flagellation and the Chapel of the Condemnation and Imposition of the Cross.
- 3rd Station: Jesus falls the first time. It is represented by a small chapel, belonging to the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate. There is paint inside the chapel of Jesus falling with the cross
- 4th Station: Jesus meets his Mother. It is right next to the 3rd station
- 5th Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his cross.
- 6th Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus, and of course I had to be in this picture.
- 7th Station: Jesus falls the second time.
- 8th Station: Jesus consoles the women of Jerusalem
- 9th Station: Jesus falls the third time
- 10th Station: Jesus is stripped of his garments
The last five Stations of the Cross are situated inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
- 11th Station: Jesus is nailed to the cross
- 12th Station: Jesus dies on the cross
- 13th Station: Jesus is taken down from the cross
- 14th Station: Jesus is laid in the tomb
To watch the sunset we took the stairs between Habad and Mark streets and stepped on the roof of the little shops.
Since we had this huge breakfast and ate some sweets later on, we didn´t need lunch and ended up buying some bread and cheese to dine at home.
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