A surreal and vibrant city, holy to Jews, Muslims, and Christians, Jerusalem, the capital of the Palestinian state is a symbol of its steadfastness in the face of aggression.
Located in the heart of Palestine, it is a lady crowned on the throne of beauty, civilization, nobility, and origin. Being one of the oldest cities in the world Jerusalem is also considered as a conflict zone due to its holistic places as Muslims, Christians, and Jews revere it. Each of them has a religious reason that invites them to do so, as everyone tries to control and annex it to their country.
A potpourri of music and art, Jerusalem remains colourful, despite the religious and political conflicts. As you wander through its streets, it is a common sight to find groups of musicians singing melodies in the many corners.
Jerusalem is surrounded by an impregnable wall from all sides, each reaching a height of 40 feet. It has seven gates to enter the city: Bab al-Khalil, Bab al-Jadid, Bab al-Amoud, Bab al-Sahira, Bab al-Mughrabi, Bab al-Lions Gate, and Bab the Prophet.
A half-day tour will take you on a journey in the old city and its places of worship. For visiting the birthplace of Jesus Christ, book a Jerusalem and Bethlehem one-day tour that will take you both to the Old City “Jerusalem” and the holy places of Bethlehem.
You will also find many churches; Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Church of St. John the Baptist, Church of the Redeemer, Ethiopian Church, Dominus Flevit Church, and Church of All Nations (Basilica of the agony).
Two more places considered holy for Muslims in the world after the Holy Kaaba in Saudi Arabia – Al-Aqsa Mosque and The Dome of The Rock – present here. If you are fond of wonderful decorative carvings, columns in gold, and a gilded dome, a visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque is must.
The Dome of The Rock is a holy place housing the Foundation Stone. It is commonly held that the Dome commemorates the Miʿrāj, the Prophet Muhammad’s ascension into heaven. However, the Dome’s construction appears to predate the emergence of traditions identifying Jerusalem as the site of the Miʿrāj, and none of the building’s inscriptions make reference to the episode. The Jews on the other hand believe that it was around the same spot on which Abraham bound Jesus on the altar.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the second oldest mosque in the world, it can house 4,00,000 worshipers. It is believed that one prayer is equivalent to 500 prayers. There are 15 gates which lead to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound; of which ten are open while five are closed. The keys to all the gates, except the Moroccan gate, are held by the Islamic Waqf. However, they can only open or close gates with the permission of the occupying Israeli police, who control access to the site.
For the Jewish, there are several holy places such as The Western Wall, Hurva Synagogue – meaning the ruined, the Great Synagogue and The Belz Great Synagogue.
With all these beautiful and sacred places, Jerusalem still is one of the most afflicted cities in the world. It suffers from violations of the occupation police, their armies, and their alleged structure. Every Friday, they burn the Holy Qurans, enter Al- Aqsa mosque with their shoes, arrest the Palestinians who pray in the mosque, kill women and elderly, and hit children.
Besides, the Dome of the Rock is exposed to excavation, vandalism, and demolition to find something that they claim exists to prove their ownership of Jerusalem and the Palestinian lands and to survey the cultural and civilizational history of Jerusalem and Palestine.
This holy city will remain like a lofty tree that defies all seasons, storms, and fires, and it will always remain a beacon that illuminates us in the dark of the road so that we can reach the freedom of the earth and human beings. We overcome the oppression of the occupation and resist it with everything within us.
(The author is an international intern for EastMojo, from Gaza, Palestine. She is currently pursuing master’s in Mass Communication and Journalism from Tezpur University. She is on the mission to sensitize the people of Northeast of the situation and the grim reality of the happenings in Palestine.)
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