Jerusalem: More of A Melting Pot Than I Thought
Do you have dreams of visiting Jerusalem but wonder what you will do? Is it safe? What’s the best way to travel? Is it expensive? The questions can be numerous but I am here to answer them and tell you about my experience in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is a beautiful city filled with buff colored buildings constructed with ‘Jerusalem Stone.’ The pale colorless stone is used to maintain the ancient them of what is referred to as old Jerusalem throughout the city limits. As opposed to what you may be imagining much of Jerusalem is very modernized and is bustling with vehicles, street cars, buses and an array of businesses. The ancient city you are most likely wanting to visit is inside of 1 cubit square mile and is the home to 40,000+ people. The locals refer to this part of the city as Old Jerusalem which has multiple gates that provide entry.
The Jaffa gate led us into the city divided between four communities; the Armenians, the Christians, the Jews and the Muslims. The streets are narrow and the apartment style homes serve as housing for some of the poorest residents in Jerusalem. If you visit on a guided tour you will be taken into the Holy Sepulchre and shown many of the sites you read about in the Bible including what is believed to be the location of Jesus Christ‘ crucifixion, empty tomb and where His body was cleansed.
Two things I found particularly interesting was that first of all, all of these religious groups coexist in such a small square radius. Secondly they let you touch everything! In the states most museums allow you to gaze upon the ancient artifact while standing behind a velvet rope 10-15 feet away from what you are trying to see. In Jerusalem we were able to touch the stone Jesus was cleansed on, walk in His empty tomb and take pictures in the upper room where Jesus had His last supper with the disciple.
Rickey and I arrived in Jerusalem by cruise ship (see our cruise experience here). We had an 8 hour tour that gave us enough time to see the most popular sites however it did not leave a lot of time for shopping. We easily could have spent another 2-3 days to give ourselves time to see more that the city had to offer or get baptized in the Dead Sea like some of our other cruise mates had done. There were also some great shops I had to pass by due to time restraints on our tour. Needless to say we will probably be going back with the kids in the future.