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ISRAEL: Jerusalem and the old walled city - a World Heritage site


Halina Bednarz 2008-08-22

Dome of the Rock
Image:Halina Bednarz
Dome of the Rock

Jerusalem - the capital of Israel - has been the holiest city in Judaism and the spiritual center of the Jewish people since the 10th century BCE, contains a number of significant ancient Christian sites, and is considered the third-holiest city in Islam.



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The old walled city, a World Heritage site, has been traditionally divided into four quarters — the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters.

Jerusalem plays an important role in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. There are 1204 synagogues, 158 churches, and 73 mosques within the city.

Tower of David..

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..an ancient citadel located near the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem. Built to strengthen a strategically weak point in the Old City's defenses, the citadel was constructed during the second century BCE.

The Western Wall, known as the Kotel

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Jerusalem has been sacred to the Jews since King David proclaimed it his capital in the 10th century BCE.

Many Jews have "Mizrach" plaques hung on a wall of their homes to indicate the direction of prayer -> Jerusalem.

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Church of the Holy Sepulchre..

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Christianity reveres Jerusalem not only for its Old Testament history but for its significance in the life of Jesus.

The Resurrection rotunda in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre houses Christ's tomb.

The land currently occupied by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is considered one of the top candidates for Golgotha and thus has been a Christian pilgrimage site for the past two thousand years.

Pilgrims
Image:Halina Bednarz
Pilgrims


Dome of the Rock..

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..completed in 691, making it the oldest existant Islamic building in the world.

It is recognized by all three religions as the site of Abraham's sacrifice.

Herod's Temple

Robinson's Arch - remains of the entrance built by Herod to the Royal Colonnade
Image:HB
Robinson's Arch - remains of the entrance built by Herod to the Royal Colonnade

Herod's Temple was one of the larger construction projects of the first century BC (part of it forms the Western Wall). The Southern wall was designed as a grand entrance.

Jerusalem around the year one (BCE/CE) was primarily a tourist city. The Temple was the prime destination, and subsidiary industries abounded, serving both the priests, who performed services, as well as the thousands of pilgrims who would arrive daily, year-round.

Entrance to the old city via Jaffa Gate

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Streets of Jerusalem

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