Practically everyone in the world knows of this city.
A 1 kilometre-squared walled city, thousands of years old from which the modern western, christian and jewish civilisations was built. A city that was the stated reasons for religious wars in the 1000s.
The is the Holy City, the beating heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam – a place of pilgrimage, a place named for peace…
Dome of Rock – Judaism
Al Aqsa Mosque – Islam
Church of the Holy Sepulchre – Christianity
and ironically, the place with the most reason to long for peace.
This is Jerusalem, currently administered by the State of Israel. It is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. The city is today claimed as the capital of both the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority although it is in practice administered by the Israeli state.
(A separate post will be written about the current Israel-Palestine conflict)
Jerusalem is famous for the Holy City. A google or youtube search for Jerusalem brings up more documentaries about the Holy City than the city of today.
But the Jerusalem of today is so much more than the Holy City. Jerusalem is the home to more than 1 million people in its metropolitan area. It’s people have smart phones just as the rest of the world, eat food just as we do, fall in love and set up families jut as other people in the world.
This is the Jerusalem of museums,
Israel Museum in West Jerusalem
of hipster bars,
A Bar called HaMizffah (The Factory) in Jerusalem
of markets and street art,
Machene Yehuda Market
Street art at Machene Yehuda Market
of open air shopping malls,
of art galleries.
This is the Jerusalem of the locals, the Jerusalem of today.
This city is so complex, its history so convoluted that no introduction can really do it justice. Hence this short one. The city is not perfect, far from it. The conflicts must not be seen from one narrative and viewpoint, because the story is complex, meandering and multifactorial.
But no city and no country is perfect. This city feels so safe and so normal, yet that normalcy is broken by the jarring reality on duty soldiers at the old city,
and off duty soldiers bargaining at the market, their assault rifles slinging across their shoulders.
Difficult as it is, I want to learn about this fascinating city, and I’m going to try.
Join me on an intriguing journey as I try, within the short time I have, to peel back some layers and destroy some preconceptions that I have about Jerusalem.