Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is the cradle of three major world religions – Christianity, Islam, and Judaism – and this makes it a very special place.
Along with being a most holy city, it also remains the most sensitive land on our planet. It has been conquered, destroyed and rebuilt time and again. Though this land has always been a place of conflict for people of different religions, they all stand united in their respect for this holy ground. At the core of Jerusalem is the Old City, surrounded by a fortress-like stone wall. This is home to some of the holiest sites in the world. These sites are distributed into four quarters – Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Armenian.
The Jewish Quarter is home to the Kotel, or the Western Wall, a remnant of the retaining wall of the mount on which the Holy Temple once stood before it was destroyed by the Romans. Inside the temple was the Holy of Holies, the most sacred site in Judaism. The Jews believe that this is the place where their forefather, Abraham, prepared to make a huge sacrifice for God.
The Temple has also housed the Ark of the Covenant, a sacred box holding the tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments. Today, the Western Wall is the closest place Jews can pray to the Holy of Holies. The Western Wall is sometimes called the Wailing Wall because of the sad prayers Jewish people said there to mourn the destroyed Temple.
Other sites in the city that are sacred to the Jews include King David’s tomb on Mount Zion, and the Jewish Cemetery and the Tombs of the Prophets on the Mount of Olives, a hill just east of the Old City.
Inside the Christian Quarter in Jerusalem are many churches and monasteries. Jesus taught in Jerusalem and performed numerous miracles there. The Last Supper supposedly took place in a room known as the Cenacle (also called Coenaculum) on Mount Zion. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City is said to be the place of Jesus’s Crucifixion (called Calvary or Golgotha), as well as His burial and Resurrection.
Jerusalem is Islam‘s third holiest city, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. The Muslim quarter has the Al-Aqsa Mosque which is the third holiest site in Islam. This area also has The Dome of the Rock, the oldest known Muslim monument. Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad went up to heaven from here. The Dome of the Rock and an ancient mosque called Al Aqsa Mosque are among the holiest sites in Islam. They are the main buildings on the Temple Mount, which Muslims call Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary).
The Armenian quarter houses people who the United Nations recognises as Palestinian.
So much history makes this one of the most interesting yet disputed lands known to man.