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The Old City of Jerusalem (June 9, 2008)

A tour in the Old City of Jerusalem. Visiting the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. Walking along Via Dolorosa towards the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Jerusalem, Jewish quarter and Armenian quarter


Jerusalem is one hour-drive from Tel Aviv. Located in Judean hills, at an elevation of 800 metres, Jerusalem is a sacred city for the three great monotheistic religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. The Old City is surrounded by walls and divided into four quarters: Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Armenian.

We arrived in Jerusalem around 10:30 a.m. at Jaffa Gate, one of the eight gates built into the walls of the Old City. Passed the gate, David's street leads towards the Jewish quarter. Then we left this main street and wandered the alleyways. We arrived to the Cardo Maximus; this Roman colonnaded street was the main north-south street and it was built in the 6th century. In this area of the Jewish quarter, we met Orthodox Jews with side curls, dressed in black, wearing black hat or fur hat, and walking briskly towards the Western Wall. Then we arrived in front of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. The weather is stifling today and the light is omnipresent, it must be hard to bear with a fur hat.

The Western Wall or the Wailing Wall is revered for its proximity to the sacred Holy of Holies on the Temple Mount, which is the most holy place in Judaism. The Western Wall is in fact the western supporting wall of the Temple Mount on which Herod's Temple stood. To access to the large plaza in front of the wall, we faced security checks. Modest dress for women is required (no bare shoulders or knees). On the plaza, we were taking pictures when a woman arrived: « Holy day! No photo! ». In fact, as a holy day it’s forbidden today to smoke, to use cameras, or to write notes. However, a man wearing a kippah was standing on a chair taking pictures... As unobtrusively as possible, we still snapped more pictures.

For non-Muslims, the Temple Mount is open only a few days per week and for at most a few hours. Our visit day, it was open from 1:30 to 2:30 pm. Before visiting, we chose to have lunch in Armenian quarter at Armenian Tavern. It’s a cool restaurant below ground level with mosaics, arched ceilings.

Jerusalem, Israel
Entry in Old City of Jerusalem.

Walk through David Street market.

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Streets in Jewish quarter.

Jerusalem, Israel

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Jerusalem, Israel

Call to prayer from Mount of Olives.

Jerusalem, Israel
View of Jerusalem hills.
In the distance, the Israeli West Bank barrier.

Jerusalem, Israel

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The Dome of the Rock.

Jerusalem, Israel Jerusalem, Israel
Jerusalem, Israel Jerusalem, Israel
The Western Wall or the Wailing Wall.

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Armenian Tavern in Armenian quarter.

Jerusalem, Muslim quarter and Christian quarter


Back in the Jewish quarter, a wooden ramp gives access to the Temple Mount. In Islam, the site is important; Jerusalem is considered as the third holy place. Sitting on top of the Temple Mount are two large buildings. The Dome of the Rock with its golden dome and turquoise mosaics and the Al-Aqsa Mosque with its silver-colored dome were built after the Arab conquest of Jerusalem in 638. After few minutes on this place, it was time to leave because Muslims were going to the mosque.

Next we walked the Via Dolorosa, the route that Jesus took before his crucifixion. The route starts in the Muslim quarter and goes through the Christian quarter. Via Dolorosa is marked by nine of the fourteen Stations of the Cross. These days on Via Dolorosa, world's pilgrims gather by souvenir stalls. Then we reached the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which contains the last five Stations of the Cross. The church is assumed to be built over the spot where Jesus was crucified and was buried.

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Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount just before the prayer.

Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem, Israel Jerusalem, Israel
Jerusalem, Israel The Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount.

Jerusalem, Israel
Pilgrims along the Via Dolorosa.

Jerusalem, Israel
The 5th station on Via Dolorosa, one of the 14 Stations of the Cross.

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Entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The Stone of the Anointing, the spot where Jesus' body
was prepared for burial.

The Edicule of the Holy Sepulchre: the Tomb of Christ.

Jerusalem, Israel Jerusalem, Israel

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