Jerusalem: A Photographic Journey through the Old Walls and Beyond…

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 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations,

with countries all around her.”
-Ezekiel 5:5

Being raised as a Christian, visiting Jerusalem is definitely a high on my list. Come and join me with my journey through the Old Walls and beyond. Jerusalem is considered the “Holiest City” in Israel, by the three major religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. A very popular place for pilgrimages. As soon as I arrived in Jerusalem, the first thing I did was to join the walking tour around the Old Town.

The Old City is home to several important religious sites, the Dome of the Rock” and Al-Aqsa Mosque” for Muslims. Situated in the centre of the Temple Mount. The site significance regarding the rock known as the Foundation of Stone, as the site Abraham attempted to sacrifice his son. The beautiful mosaic patterned design from Byzantine. When planning to visit the site check out the opening times as it only open 2 hours in a day for tourist, but it is open visit for Muslims.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchreit is considered the holiest site for Christians. It is were “Jesus of Nazareth” was circumcised, presented to the temple and was crucified, was built 320’s under the Constantine.  Inside the church you will find ” The Stone of Anointing” where Jesus body were anointed before his burial. And Jesus empty tomb which is now enclosed by a 18th century Shrine. The church has been a major christian pilgrimage site, as the traditional site of the “Resurrection of Christ”.

The “Western Wall or the “Wailing Wall” is considered holy for the Jews due to its connection to the Temple Mount.  Visiting this site is very intense seeing the Jews praying intently in silent. They tend to stand closely to the wall, with their praying books on their faces. And you will also noticed they will leave prayer notes to the crevices of the walls.

Visiting these site together with the different pilgrim groups, you noticed in their eyes and even feel their deep devotions. Some are overwhelmed with emotions and as you walked passed them.There’s even tears of joy, or they are singing joyful hymms echoing at the background.

It’s amusing and interesting walked  around the cobbled stone alleyways. And be greeted with adjacent quarters from Muslim, Armenian, Christian to Jewish quarter. A different community interwoven inside the old town walls. A great opportunity for my photography stroll, capturing the old building and the locals.

As we continue our tour away from the crowds, It’s fascinating  to know that the walls was built for it’s defence since the ancient times are well preserved. Remarkably noticeable of the different periods it outlined varying numbers of gates some has been sealed and walled up. At this time there are only seven gates open around the Old Town, the New Gate, Damascus Gate, Herod’s Gate, Lion’s Gate, Dung Gate, Zion Gate, and Jaffa Gate. One interesting gate which is now sealed is the “Golden Gate“, a double gate sealed in 1541, or “The Gate of Eternal Life” that they believe it will reopen again for the second coming.

I have also joined the “City of David Tour“. It is located in the southern part of the Old Town Walls and the location is claimed to be the Settlement of Israeli in  Ancient Jerusalem. There they found Canaanite infrastructure dated back to the Middle Bronze Age.  They have been found at the site the remains of several water tunnels, one of which was built by King Hezekiah and several pools including the “Pool of Siloam” that is known from the Old and New Testaments. Up to this present time they are actively doing an excavation.

I’m not a morning person but at one occasion I joined a Sunrise Cycling Tour around the Old Town.  The Old Town is perched up on a hill, so imagine me pedalling in the dark on a sligthly steephill! Getting up early to join the 4:30 tour was hard enough, how much more of the effort to cycle up and down along the narrow alleyways of the old town? At some point I just walk with my bike  but reaching the vantage point was amazing! While the whole town are still in their slumber, the group is feasting at the stillness and peaceful of the place, while waiting for the sunrise. The skyline was starting to spread some pinkish glow colours and slowly we watched the big ball of fire ascending to the sky as it burst it’s orange colours spreading some bright light and warmth to a brand new day.

Things To Do Outside The Old Town Walls:

Beyond the Old Walls of Jerusalem the noticeably contrast of Old and New. Just off the Jaffa Gate, a new shopping area has been built. Mamilla an upscale shopping street lined up with shops, restaurants, cafes, offices and high end hotels. Even just walking along you will spot sculptures everywhere a very interesting place to wander.

With the views of the historic landmarks beyond the avenue, such as the Tower of David and Jaffa Gate. A local Israeli architect Moshe Safdie design the place blending the building design to it’s historical and archeological sorroundings. I also had a chance to visit the “Mirror Bar” in Mamilla Hotel, a very stylish place to go for a good night out. Cocktail and shots  anyone?

If your looking for a good vantage point to see the Old Town, I highly suggest go to “Mount Olives”. It is used as a Jewish cemetery for over 3,000 years and a major site of pilgrimage for Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants.   Related to the gospel was described as the place from which Jesus ascended to heaven.

Just off the Damascus Gate there’s another pilgrimage site for Christian. “The Garden Tomb”  it was discovered in 1867, and has been believed by Christian to be the site of the burial and resurrection of Jesus.

Days Out Near Jerusalem:

“A nation with conflicts and divided from East to West”.  I was cursious about the things on the news about Palestine, a place not safe to visit as exagerated on the World News. A very impromptu visit to Bethlehem, a last minute decision to go together with 2 American ladies. We hired a taxi from the hotel in Jerusalem, he also then contacted someone from Palestine  another taxi to meet us and show us around the area. Israeli cars are not allowed to get into the Palestine area.  We visited “The Church of Nativity” where many Christians believe Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. The church is considered to be located over the cave that marks the birthplace of Jesus. The site holds a prominent religious significance to those of the Christian faith as pilgrimage sites. It is also in UNESCO heritage site list. The church has undergone numerous renovations from fire destruction over the years which has been extended and upto now they on going renovations and restoration work.

There’s this very controversial new hotel called Walled Off Hotel filled with an artsy trademark stencils inspired by Banksy. The hotel with the most ugliest view, as it is situated along the wall separating Israel and Palestine border. There’s also an Art Gallery showcasing Arabs and Palestinian local artist.

Photo credit to www.plushplaces.in

Insiders Tip:

  • Jerusalem is a very safe place for Solo Travellers and group tourist. Very easy to navigate around the Old Town with a map.
  • I highly recommend to upload the Moovit app. Very handy when taking public transport around Israel. It will show alternative public transport and routes to choose from.
  • If you are looking for best vantage point in the Old  The Town offering 360 degrees view. Head towards the Tomb of David. I highly suggest go before sunrise or watch the sunset. Or alternatively if you want a good view overlooking the Old Town head towards the Mount of Olives.
  • Why not join the free walking tour around Old Town. Immerse yourself with the 3000 years old history of Jerusalem.

Disclaimer:  Thank you to the Israel Ministry of Tourism  for providing the tours. All opinions are my own and have not been influence in anyway.

Anneklien
Hi Im Meanne Anneklien, a part time traveller and photographer. I love solo travelling and through this blog I would like to inspire others to travel more. Lets explore and experience first hand the different cultures, customs and sample the world cuisines, and meeting amazing people along our wonderful journeys.

47 thoughts on “Jerusalem: A Photographic Journey through the Old Walls and Beyond…

  1. Hey Anne,
    Thanks for this great post. For a first timer this would be a great starting point. Being raised as a Christian as well the Holy City is something I find very fascinating. The wailing wall seems to be a place of great interest and I can only imagine what it is like to walk around the area between the different quarters.
    Cheers,
    Max

    1. It’s the most fascinating place i have ever visited to be honest, a place with layers of history to discover. Visiting the religious places are overwhelming so to speak.

  2. When I think about all the places we have been, I find it hard to believe we haven’t made it to Israel yet. Someday. Your photos are beautiful. My two favourites are the way you captured the light on Dome of the Rock and the framing for your Bethlehem shot. Jerusalem is so important to so many.

    1. Jerusalem is indeed very important place, I’m surprised that only few travellers are visiting the beautiful place. It should be in everyone’s list to visit once in their life time.

  3. It’s really an incredible experience being in Jerusalem as a Christian and witnessing these holy places and sights that you’ve only ever read about. I had that experience myself and it was incredible. Plus, Jerusalem is just amazing all on its own.

  4. Jerusalem is really an enigmatic place. There is so much of history and culture that surrounds the city. Your pictures bring alive the aura of mystique that seems to hang around Jerusalem like a halo.

  5. Jerusalem is a very cool city. it was my second time there this January. I liked that you captured a little bit of all the four parts of the Old City!

  6. The beautiful photos paints such a vivid picture of what it’s really like in Jerusalem. So many interesting places to visit including The Church of Nativity, Mount Olives and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Of course even the surprising upscale hotels, shopping and the bar to get some shots adds to the uniqueness of the place.

  7. I love how you left the insiders tips at the end. And thanks for such great pictures and such a great post. What I love about this place is about how sacred it is to so many people. When I go I would join the walking tour. I always love those.

  8. I must admit, I wasn’t raised Christian but have always wanted to visit Jerusalem. I just find it so fascinating because it is a place with a lot of meaning to so many people on so many levels, culturally and spiritually. It’s interesting looking at your photos how the old and the new contrast, you have these ancient sites and then a Jo Malone at the end in a shopping area, so interesting how the place has evolved in modern times! Your photos are beautiful, I definitely feel like I’ve have gone through a mini journey of a place I’ve never been to scrolling through them 🙂 <3

    1. Actually you don’t need to be religious to visit Jerusalem, it’s a place fir pilgrimage but there are so much to see and do such a beautiful place to discovery and listen to the fascinating history around it.

  9. I loved Jerusalem. Such a beautiful and interesting city. I always had in my mind that it was just a religious place, so I was really surprised to find how hip it is. Did you walk through the water tunnel under the City of David?

    1. It is very diverse place and interesting to explore. We did go through the water tunnel but the dry tunnel, we were not dressed for the water tunnel, but it was lovely tour.

  10. A trip to Jerusalem is high on my travel bucket list. There is so much history and significance for Christians and people of other faiths. Can you recommend any good tours? Hoping to visit someday soon!

  11. Jerusalem has always made me curios and it’s been on my travel list for a while, I hope I can get there in the near future 🙂

  12. Would love to visit Jerusalem someday. Would love explore the four quadrants of the city. The city has so much history associated with it. And is probably the only which has importance for the four religions. Great pics by the way.

  13. Jerusalem must be such an interesting place to visit. I am not raised as a Christian or with any other believe, but I still think it’s a must visit for everyone. The pictures look awesome.

  14. I love Israel! Been there last Nov2016
    I also used moovit for their bus and train skeds though its in hebrew so I have to ask locals to translate it for me

  15. Wow, thanks so much for this great post! I’m yet to travel to Jerusalem, it wasn’t really in my bucket-list, but this has definitely changed 🙂

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