Around the world, only a few cities excite the man as much as Jerusalem. It is still one of the most beautiful cities around the world with a significant meaning to both Muslims and Christians which caused many wars at the city.
Its streets that bring the past and today together, architecture and lifestyle that were once upon a time inside Palestinian borders, and inside Israeli borders today.
We are being greeted by green trees all along the road when we start our journey from Tel Aviv Airport to Jerusalem, which is placed at Judean Mountains, at the north end of Mediterranean Sea and Dead Sea.
We can say that we are at the richest lands of the Middle East if we think the world’s most delicious dates, olives and figs are being grown in here.
We firstly see modern buildings when we enter the Jerusalem borders. For accommodation, we can choose from one of the hotels in these modern buildings, or from boutique hotels inside the glorious walls which have been made built by Suleiman the Magnificent. You want to be on the streets of Jerusalem right when you arrive there, even if you are very tired.
It is possible to find historical marks from centuries ago nearly in every street of the city which we feel the Mediterranean climate. It is impossible to not to feel of a history book like having a walk through the pages while we are here.
We are with thousands of people from all around the world which are dressed for symbolising their beliefs, stepping from one mark to another and smelling the memories that our ancestors left to us from centuries ago.
Three Different World Inside The Walls
When we enter the old town from the Jaffa Gate of the walls, the real Jerusalem which became subject to holy writings, many famous paintings and photographs, we can see the Christian neighbourhood. We find ourselves in a familiar place, quite similar to Grand Bazaar if we come from Turkey, or if we have been to a Middle Eastern country before.
Along the streets, nearly in any shelf, we see icons of Virgin Mary or Jesus Christ, and then we reach the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It takes at least one hour to visit the church. We leave the Christian neighbourhood behind us, and then we are in the Muslim neighbourhood, which consists Temple Mount, inside it Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, which is known as the star of Jerusalem.
We enter the gates of Temple Mount, and then we smell the spices, we face the difference between two neighbourhoods already. It is Friday. Muslims coming from all around the world are praying, visiting the Well of Souls, the rock that Prophet Mohammad came from Madinah with his horse Buraq, and stepped on it for his ascension.
Another neighbourhood of Jerusalem is the Jewish neighbourhood. Western Wall (in Hebrew “Kotel” and in Turkish, “Ağlama Duvarı”) is also located in here. It is known for Jewish people wearing their traditional clothes and coming here to pray and to visit.
We see the buses going to a must-see place, Mount of Olives, when go out from the Damascus Gate. Mount of Olives is known as the place that crucifixion took place, and the first place that Umar looked over the city when Muslims conquered Jerusalem.
Right now, we see Jerusalem, the city that Turkish poet Sezai Karakoç described as “the city which was built in the sky and brought to the earth” with its magnificent beauty, shining like the morning sun before our eyes.
The city that you cannot finish
Of course these are not the all to see in Jerusalem. We see the modern face of the city after we leave the old town, as described by Turkish poet Nuri Pakdil “a page that cannot be finished reading, and has smell of roses in its breath”, which we found everything that called and brought us there.
Jafa and King George streets are full of modern shopping centres, restaurants and cafés. The ones that still have the energy to have fun after walking through narrow, long and tortuous streets of the old town which are just like tunnels, visit the modern side of the city at night.
What to be aware of?
A must-do for every visitor of Jerusalem is to check their passports in their bags before they start their journey around the city. You can face with ID controls many times during your visit. Women who are going to visit the Western Wall should enter from a different gate assigned for them, and who are going to visit Temple Mount should bring clothes suitable for Islam with them.
What to eat and drink?
In a city full of tourists, Muslims and Jews can eat safely in each other’s restaurants. You should definitely taste “felafel” when you are in Jerusalem, it is made of chickpea, and you can find it at carts in nearly every street, or small shops in Muslim neighbourhoods. In here, you will find specific Arabic desserts nearly in every corner. For meat based meals, you can visit Jewish neighbourhoods.
A clue for tea lovers, it is hard to find brewed tea in Jerusalem, tea bags are more often used. Also, tea is served with mint here. Whenever you feel the heat of the middle of the day in Jerusalem, you can relax yourselves with fresh lemonade served with mint that corner of the street.
What to buy when coming back?
It is too easy to choose a gift from Jerusalem when coming back. While walking around the streets and shops of the old town, doing shopping at the same time is the wisest option. can find souvenirs, purses You and bags made from camel leather, various icons, local Palestinian clothes, ghutrahs and objects made from mat.
Do not forget, everyone that visit Jerusalem must do something for their loved ones back at home: make them taste the olive oil and dates. Shekel, as the currency of Israel, can be used in shops all around the country, and especially in Palestinian shops, it is easy to bargain with them.
Türkçe Yazı: Gökte Yapılıp Yere İndirilen Şehir Kudüs