Where We Be
|From the Mount of Olives you get a commanding view of the Holy City
When you first come to Jerusalem, you literally
ascend in terms of gaining elevation, but the
idiom means more than that: there is a spiritual
aspect to visiting the Holy City. Pilgrims come
here from around the world because this place
is special to them. Their devotion is palpable
and can affect you even if you're not especially
religious yourself. If you let yourself be moved
by it -- whether you find yourself dancing arm in
arm in a circle at the Western Wall or listening
in on hymns sung by devotees in the streets of
Jerusalem -- it can be a powerful experience.
You really feel the weight of the centuries here.
Stone steps on the streets are literally worn
away in the middle from all the footsteps that
have trod upon them. Churches, synagogues,
mosques, and religious sites crowd together
and are sometimes built one on top of another.
All around the city's outskirts you can see
active archaeological digs going on, with more
treasures being unburied every day. The Old
City is an awesome city to explore by foot,
ideally over multiple days, so let's get started.
|The Walls of Jerusalem were built in the 1500s by order of Suleiman the Magnificent and stretch for about 2½ miles
|Jaffa Gate is a main entry point into the walled city (along with Damascus Gate in the Muslim Quarter).
Above you can see people climbing the stairs up from Mamilla Pavilion towards Jaffa Gate.
|The Citadel near Jaffa Gate is lit up at night and quite beautiful. It was originally built to
strengthen a strategically weak point in the Old City's defenses. Now it just looks cool.
|The images superimposed onto the walls tell a wordless pictorial tale of the
history of Jerusalem. The show is worthwhile for the dramatic setting alone.
|The Citadel is the setting for the Tower of David Night Spectacular Show, a
sound and light show using the walls beneath the Tower of David as a backdrop
|The Dome of the Rock with its golden dome and blue tiles situated atop the Temple Mount is the focal point of the Old City
|Fine panorama from the Mount of Olives
|Traditional bread on offer near Jaffa Gate
|Note the "ramp stones" that make it easier for
vendors with carts (they're also fun to slide down!)
|Stores like this one are cave-like and cozy
|Walking straight ahead from Jaffa Gate, you come to David Street, which is chock-full of shops on both sides
|Once inside Jaffa Gate, you begin to soak in the mix of ancient and modern that makes up the Old City
|The Old City's streets turn even more romantic at night
|Vendors provide a variety of treats all around the city
|Remember, when heading east-west in Jerusalem, "up" generally leads
towards Jaffa Gate, "down" towards Dome of the Rock / Western Wall
|Jerusalem streets have a lot of character and call out to be explored