Postcard from Jerusalem


Visiting Israel and Jerusalem seemed unreal  to me until I packed my suitcases and left. 
When I think about Israel and Jerusalem  I have associations about history, the Bible, religion, culture, archeology, eternal conflicts and adventure. Israel sounds like a mythical country about people tell various legends and stories and some of them are the most beautiful, some are scary and some are fascinating and we can only follow them with our heart. If you are wondering what the truth is, I will tell you all this and much more. Come with me to a jorney in Jerusalem.

Israel is a modern military state that has much to show and provide to tourists from all over the world including modern metropolises and cities from the period of the most famous personality of human history  Jesus Christ, beautiful landscapes and culinary delights that will not leave you indifferent, kind people and incredible blend of the Middle East and modern Europe. This is a trip for those who do not have prejudices, they want to go around the world and experience, learn and fell more than at any history class.
This trip begins with the arrival at the airport named after the state's father - Ben Gurion, one of the safest in the world. Contrary to all the stories circulating on the Internet about the difficult entry to Israel, my entry into the country was quite simple and short. When I entered, I got a card with a residence permit, which from that moment became a valid document that I constantly carried with me. 

Jerusalem was the city from which I wanted to start my exploration of the Holy Land and where I based my Israeli home during the period I spent studying this little and incredible part of the land around which three world religions were captured.
Jerusalem is an Israeli cultural and spiritual center. There are endless opportunities for viewing from a variety of angles and I can tell you with certainty that it is difficult to find a city in the world like Jerusalem, where you can step down from a modern life of the 21st century in the past, and get lost. A city of prophets and kings, of various biblical figures, a place of pilgrimage holy for Christians, a Jewish and a Muslim must definitely be experienced and Jerusalem is a place which will slowly capture and conquer you, and when this happens then you are irretrievably in love with this place full of old and new wounds, hurried, cheerful, warm and energetic.
Jerusalem consists of a new part of the city and an ancient Jerusalem, surrounded by high stone walls, where you can step through one of the seven gates leading into the old city. The existing walls of the old city are a living example of the Arab-Islamic architecture and were constructed during the Suleiman the Magnificent. The old city itself is divided into four blocks, of which the Muslim district is the largest and extends from the Lions Gate to the Damask gate. Within this part of the city there is also the temple of Moriah where the Al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock are located, and it is a special place in Islam,the Prophet Muhammad rose to the heavens from this place. They are worth seeing and visiting because their domes of black and gold dominate the panorama of the city and are on all the photos and postcards of Jerusalem. The specific territory where these shrines are located is the cause of the ongoing conflict between the Arabs and the Jews, because both are entitled to the Temple Mount. Entry to this religious territory is allowed only to visitors from one place and to precisely the exact hours when you can freely walk around these imposing architectural objects. As in all places special from religious initiatives, it is necessary to dress appropriately, which means covering your shoulders and knees, and I recommend that you always have a lightweight scarf so you can cover your hair. 

In the center of the Muslim district, start the journey that Jesus Christ went carrying the cross to Golgotha ​​called the path of pain (Via Dolorosa) and you can often see here a lot of pilgrims who follow the trace of Jesus Christ. This quarter is during the day very lively offering you to taste oriental specialties  or opportunity to buy something in the famous Arabian market street shops like  spices, tea, souvenirs, handicrafts ... A shop named the Holy Land will charmed you by their offering of tea and spices. You'll love them all. Buy a biblical spice hyssop, also known as a zantar, and the tradition says it's best to eat along with bread and olive oil.
The Jewish quarter of the city with it`s central square Hurva is beautiful and special to see and feel because it has peaceful atmosphere and it is tiny from the rest of the old town. You can enter in this quarter by chosing one of  two gates : Zion or Dang gate. Also this quarter borders the Armenian quarter and extend to the West Wall known as the Wailing Wall, where every day a large part of Jewish people comes to pray to God in two separate spaces male and female. Tradition says that you have to write your most precious desire to God on a piece of paper and leave in the fissures of the West Wall, the rest of the uninhibited Jewish holy temple that the Romans destroyed during their occupation of Jerusalem. And the desire will come true.
In this district there are also archaeological excavations of Roman Cardo Street from the Byzantine era and some of the phenomenal Jewish museums.

Christian Quarter borders with Muslim, Jewish and Armenian quarters and has two gates: Jaffa and New gate and began to develop around the  Church of the Holy Grave (Holy Sepulchre) around the holiest site for Christians. The Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre has several levels and includes the former hill Golgotha where Jesus Christ was crucified. It is fascinating that today this places is holy for four Christian domination and all of them take carre about this church and  is full of tourists and pilgrims.

The Armenian quarter is the smallest part of the old Jerusalem, opposite Christian neighborhoods and here you can find amazing dishes and souvenirs made from ceramics and visit the workshops where these extraordinary artists make their own ceramics, paint and sculpt the different forms of mugs and plates. This was a delight for me and my collection of mugs rose fast.
The narrow and small charming streets of the old town are perfect for a walk and wandering around and getting lost because each time you can find something new and fascinating, but it's best to visit for  the first time old city of Jerusalem with paid guides who will show you the most important points of the city  and tell you the historical stories and legends. My suggestion is to  join one of the free tours organized by the one of city's turist organization.(I went to 2 different tours provided by Sandemans New Jerusalem)
Old Jerusalem is a hive full of sounds, smells, flavors and colors and I promisse you that you will never get tired of walking through it`s stone streets and look intently at people and facades. But the new part of Jerusalem is amazing too, full with it`s mosaic of people of all ages and nationalities that Jerusalem calls their home. This part of the city began to develop from 1860. Here you can find great shops, Jewish designers, unavoidable Jewish markets with small restaurants.
Do not bypass the store Kingdoom of the alva, because they have earned their name, and from their offer of various tastes, you will want to taste and buy all. There are also restaurants in Jewish but also all world cuisines, souvenir shops, museums, cafes and places to go out, galleries, a colorful world full of energy. 
New city of Jerusalem equally enchants and intrigues you as well as the old part of the city.
 You should not miss the tour to Mount of Olives, from where you can get a stunning view od the city panorama and the Jerusalem roofs. Also there are a large number of Crhistan churches and cathedrals that will delight you with their architecture and beautiful olive gorves and the Garden of Gethsemane.

 For shopping lovers, Jerusalem offers a large number of shopping malls where you can find famous European and American brands but also the Israles, and I recommend Mamilla Bulevar open-air shopping mall that can be compared to Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, and beside the walkway shops are exhibited artworks: pictures and sculptures that you can immediately buy and take home. 

There is also the most famous brand with products from the Dead Sea, "Ahava", which in it`s shop has exposed figures of people made of salt, and the offer of products will still all the money from your wallet. There is also the store of the Israeli chain of modern fashion brand Castro, but also the studio of the most famous Israeli designer Ronen Chen. It's up to you to choose whether you will bring along a unique piece of fashion designed and produced in Israel, unusual jewelry, artwork, some antiques, spices, tea, treats or just a little bit.
No matter how much time you take for sightseeing, there will be too little to see and experience Jerusalem, so this will surely be a city  I will be happy to return to explore it on my own  or with the kind assistance of the tourist organization Tourist Israel, which I recommend. They have a friendly team and also there is a large selection of excursions through Jerusalem, Israel and neighboring countries. And Israel has so much to offer as an Ein Gedi oasis in the  desert with incredible waterfalls, the Dead Sea's wonders, mountains and fortresses Masada from which you can enjoy incredible views of the sunrise or sunset, a cable car, then Tel Aviv and many more places I visited which belong to some other chapters.
Also my Postcard from Jerusalem you can read in serbian magazine "Plezir" october issue.

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