|Damascus Gate (and a bug that landed on my camera)|
I love the Old City! It is one of my favorite places I have ever been to. I love the history of it and I think it is amazing how old the walls and buildings are. The Old City is divided into four quarters: Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Armenian Christian. This place is filled with so many stories and people and has been home to Muslims, Jews and Christians for hundreds of years.
I know that this area is not without its problems. Jerusalem alone is a city with religious tensions, with East Jerusalem being majority Muslim and Arab and West Jerusalem being majority Jewish, one can only image how four religions in a small area of this city can impact the people living there.
|We climbed to the roof of the Austrian Hospice for a spectacular view of the city.|
|Since the Pope had just been to Jerusalem (less than 24 hours before I arrived) the flags of the Vatican were still up all around the Christian Quarter.|
|One of my favorite pictures. You can see different religious monuments together in peace.|
This part of the city is what part of the controversy is over. Many people who propose a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are faced with the question: Well what about Jerusalem? And by Jerusalem they are talking about the Old City as the current boundaries of Jerusalem are modern.
|Mount of Olives|
The three main Western religions all have significant ties to the Old City and thus are not willing to give it completely to the other (hence the division of the city into quarters). The Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque are very close in proximity to one another and it would be difficult to have Israel in control of the Western Wall area and Palestine in control of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock area.
Israel claims Jerusalem as it’s capital and a future Palestine would probably do the same, since the Old City is important to Muslims (maybe not as important as Mecca but it still holds significance). How can the people solve this? How can the world solve this? Well that is what everyone is trying to figure out while tensions grow stronger and the fighting continues.
|Olive Grove where it is said Jesus spent his last night. It is next to a Greek Orthodox Church.|
|Russian Orthodox Church|
The Old City used to be under Jordanian rule before the 1967 war and so, maybe an answer is to make this area International Jurisdiction. What ever your opinion is and what ever you think the right answer should be, the most important thing to take away is that this is a unique city with beautiful architecture, and religious buildings that should continue to be preserved so that other generations of travelers such as my self can go and marvel at the beauty and uniqueness of this wonderful city and walk down the stone roads that historical figures and common people walked along hundreds of years ago.
Have you ever been to the Old City? What was your favourite part?
Want to see more of the Old City? Well stay tuned for more posts about a light show and a closer look at the wonders behind the walls.