Jerusalem isn’t just for the Jews

Jerusalem in Israel is one of the holiest cities in the world. Although the city is primarily filled with people of the Jewish faith, Muslims and Christians and many other religions also populate the country.

Photograph taken by Lillian Altman
The view from Sherover promenade encompasses Christianity, Judaism and the Muslim faiths

– Photograph taken by Lillian Altman

Within the Old City there are different sections: the Christian Quarter, Armenian Quarter, Muslim Quarter, and of course the Jewish Quarter; you can even explore one quarter to another without having to pass through barriers or checkpoints. Each quarter contains structures which are significant aspects of their culture and religion.

The Jewish Quarter is home to The Kotel aka Western Wall or the Wailing Wall; the only remaining wall of the Temple Mount. Jews flock to the wall to pray any hour of the day, as well as filling the holes in the walls with notes of their hopes and dreams.

The Kotel
The Kotel
– Photograph taken by Lillian Altman

The Muslim Quarter is home to The Dome of the Rock. Housed within the structure is hair belonging the beard of the religions most important figure, the prophet Muhammad. The Dome is opened for a limited number of hours to tour as the shrine has certain times of the day when only Muslim’s can enter for praying. The Dome of the Rock is significant for many reasons: It is believed to be the place where in Jewish biblical times, Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son, Isaac; and the Dome was built to commemorate Muhammad’s stairway to heaven after his Night Journey in Jerusalem.

The Golden Dome
The Golden Dome
Photograph taken by Lillian Altman

The Christian Quarter is home to The Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This church is significant to Christianity because it contains Jesus’ ‘resting’ place. The Church houses a small tomb where Jesus was buried and resurrected. The stone at the entrance of the church where visitors rub their belongings to retain a rosewater smell is believed to be the spot were Jesus was laid following his crucifixion.

Photograph taken by Lillian Altman
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Photograph taken by Lillian Altman

On the 6th day of Sukkot a parade was held on King George road in Jerusalem. Although the parade featured people from Israeli companies, the army, etc. marching, Christians from all over the world who love Israel were also part of the procession. The Christians were in full support of the fact that Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was kidnapped by Hamas and held captive for 5 years, was returning home to Israel on the same day. The parade usually attracts thousands of people, however the majority of the country were sitting at home watching the events of Shalit’s return home unfold on their televisions.

Not only are there buildings and sites dedicated to specific religions, there are also sites which encompass all religions. Located in Haifa, in Northern Israel, is the Bahai Gardens. Followers and members of the Bahai faith believe in the unity of all religions, and advocate world peace.

Bahai Gardens
Bahai Gardens – top view
Photograph taken by Lillian Altman

Bahai Gardens – bottom half

– Photograph taken by Lillian Altman

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s