Few places in the world can show a history so rich, turbulent, and diverse as Jerusalem. Due to numerous religious buildings and locations, it has come to be considered as a key city by three of the world’s most numerous monotheistic religions –Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Any member of these three religions around the world will tell you that Jerusalem is a sacred city –some Orthodox Christians even adopted the Arabic title ‘haji’ for people who visited Jerusalem during Easter; after their pilgrimage, they add the word to their name. However, even if you are not religious, you can still recognize and enjoy the historical and cultural role this city has had in shaping the world as we know it, and its significance; you may even find spiritual inspiration in its old streets. This city, which has been fought over for centuries, has a plethora of holy sites which you can visit, and here are some of them.
1. The Wailing Wall
Jewish people consider this stone wall to be the closest place to the original location of King Solomon’s temple, and Muslims believe that this wall is where the prophet Muhammad tied his winged horse. It is evident that this place is of great religious significance to both of these religions, which is why you can see people praying there at all times. The Wall is available twenty-four hours a day, and it is open to everyone. The only requirement is that all visitors need to carry a cap that is given at the entrance. If you seek to explore the architecture of the wall further, there are underground tunnels that provide a better view; however, they are not free to access at any time, so you should plan your visits accordingly.
2. The Temple Mount
This stone temple is located in the southeastern part of the city; it is considered to be one of the holiest locations for all three religions, and for good reasons. To the Muslims, it is the place from which the prophet Muhammad rode his winged horse to visit heaven. For Jewish people, it is the temple built on the location of the First Temple, built by King Solomon. Christian people cherish this temple greatly because it was there that Jesus and his disciples spent considerable amounts of time praying and teaching.
3. Tomb of the Virgin Mary
This is a tomb located near Mount Olivet, and it is believed by Christians to be the final resting place of Mary, the mother of Jesus. It is considered that this is where her body was laid to rest, and there is some research that shows traces of a burial site dating to 1st century AD. There is a stone bench located inside the tomb, which is encased in glass and can be viewed by the visitors.
4. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
This church is said to have been built on two of the most significant spots for Christians, the place where he was crucified, as well as the place where his body was laid after his death. The church itself is looked after by a Muslim family –this has been the custom for centuries, and it really shows the tolerance of religion which you can encounter if you visit Jerusalem.
Whether you’re a devout Christian, Muslim, Jew, or just not religious at all, you should definitely pay a visit to this historic city and see for yourself some of the landmarks which this city has to offer, as they have influenced the whole world and our way of life today.