Under $100: Old City, Jerusalem

by Akhil Kalepu

Jun 16, 2016

Old City, Jerusalem © Sean Pavone | Dreamstime

Under $100 / Middle East

Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world, founded as Urusalima sometime around 2400 BC. Today, it is more known for the region’s politics, but visitors shouldn’t let conflict overshadow the history of Old City.

 

Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem © Sarkao | Dreamstime 19212760

Church of the Holy Sepulchre © Sarkao | Dreamstime

 

Modern Jerusalem has far outgrown the walled-off center, divided into four quarters: Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Armenian. One can easily walk the entire day, but if you want to explore outside the walls, taxis are readily available, though foreigners might be ripped off so always make sure the driver is using the meter.

 

In the Christian Quarter, be sure to stop by the Church of Holy Sepulchre, the place where Christ is said to have been crucified and resurrected. The area is actually made of several churches, as different branches of Christianity control different parts of the Sepulchre with their own altars and chapels.

 

Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem © Mikhail Markovskiy | Dreamstime 14743586

Dome of the Rock © Mikhail Markovskiy | Dreamstime

 

Head to the Muslim Quarter to get your Instagram shot. The Dome of the Rock is the most iconic picture of Jerusalem, as well as the most controversial due to non-Muslims being prohibited from entering the Dome and al-Aqsa Mosque. The Temple Mount is open to visitors Monday–Thursday 7:30–11 a.m. and 1:30–2:30 p.m. (and only morning hours during Ramadan).

 

The Wailing Wall, Jersualem © Andreyuu | Dreamstime

The Western Wall © Andreyuu | Dreamstime

 

A visit to the Jewish Quarter needs a stop by the Western Wall. Open 24/7, Ha-Kotel Ha-Ma’aravi is more than 2,000 years old as is the only surviving remnant of the Temple Mount, built by Herod the Great in 20 BC. Today, it is an outdoor synagogue where worshippers insert prayers into the wall’s crevices.

 

The Armenian Quarter is the smallest section of Old City and the location of St. James Cathedral, an 11th-century Armenian church considered to be one of the most sacred buildings in Jerusalem. Every day at 3 p.m. (except Sunday), it holds Armenian Orthodox vespers, which are chanting prayers services open to Christians and non-believers alike.

 

St. James Cathedral, Jerusalem © Evgeniy Fesenko | Dreamstime 68436448

St. James Cathedral © Evgeniy Fesenko | Dreamstime

 

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