Original title : Jérusalem
To truly get to know a fabled city that has existed millennia, one must go there. Jerusalem is such a city, unique in every respect, where every corner is full of history dating back to ancient times and where mosques, churches and synagogues stand side by side—only places existing in a sometimes difficult ecosystem. Three religions are present in Jerusalem, and relations between Christians, Muslims and the Jewish people are as fascinating as they are complex.
We had the pleasure of being accompanied by an extraordinary private guide from the company O.S Tours & Travel. He proved to be an endless source of information; without him, we definitely would have missed a number of attractions and wasted precious time standing in line. Of course, there are many visitors and one must sometimes spend several hours waiting to explore these sacred places in much too little time.
The city is full of historic, archeological and spiritual sites: the Wailing Wall, the Mosque of Omar, the Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Hurva Synagogue, Zion Gate, the Cenacle (a room inside King David’s Tomb), and the Mount of Olives, where one can enjoy an incredible view of the Old City surrounded by its fortresslike stone ramparts. I was very impressed to remark that the historic facts, although interpreted in a number of ways, are nonetheless recognized by all faiths.
Numerous pilgrims come to visit, following the Via Dolorosa, the “Way of Suffering,” which traces the last steps taken by Jesus as he walked from where he was condemned to the Golgotha, the hill where he was crucified.
The Mamilla business district is a combination of tradition and modernity that attracts visitors with its lovely shops, restaurants and cafés. Its pedestrian promenade begins near Jerusalem’s most luxurious hotels and ends at the Jaffa Gate leading to the heart of the Old City. The blend of new and old construction forms a very beautiful architectural whole.
I also could not resist visiting Bethlehem, located several kilometres away, along with the ancient fortress of Masada, followed by an obligatory dip in the Dead Sea. Needless to say, a journey to Jerusalem inspires introspection and reflection.