Old city surrounded by a very high wall of fortress

Before the six-day war of 1967, Jerusalem was divided into two cities, the second part belonged to Jordan. The Israelis managed to reunite their former capital by force of arms. Since then, despite the general tension between Arabs and Jews, they have been able to maintain calm and order. What is the price? In Jerusalem, one-third of the police and security contingent is distributed throughout the country. But now, this city rightly bears the title of the most decriminalized metropolis in Europe. Street crime is almost absent here.

I decided that it was probably not necessary to describe in detail this city, which has already been so told in various sources. Therefore, I will only share my impressions and most vivid images.

Jerusalem – monophonic, as if everything was made of wet sand. This is due to the fact that long ago, under English rule, an order was issued to venerate houses with only Jerusalem stone. Since then, then behaved. It seems a little authentic, but comfortable to the eye: the pleasant color of “cafĂ© au lait”.

The old city is surrounded by a very high wall of fortress. You can access it through seven gateways in different parts of the city. No matter which door you enter, you immediately feel the unusual energy of a sacred place. Near the Wailing Wall, you feel like a grain of sand. If, because of the vast space around you, it is a burden for thousands of years. Two magnificent Jewish temples have been erected here at different times, and both have also been destroyed. Despite the eternal crowds of tourists and pilgrims, the wall still seems calm. It’s really a very comfortable place to feel alone, thinking or praying. He pressed his face against the cool stone slabs and there was no one around him except you and eternity.

At the Wailing Wall

Christian pilgrims enter the Old City through the Lions Gate, where the path of Christ’s suffering begins. A narrow, paved street of Via Dolorosa must rise, stopping at the place where Jesus fell and rose, carrying a heavy cross on his shoulders. In these places stops on the walls of houses engraved with Roman numerals. Near IVThe pilgrims generally linger longer. Here Christ could no longer get up and the Roman soldiers ordered him to carry the cross to Simon Karineyan, who was nearby. Nearby, Maria and, suffering, looked at her son. She understood what the slow death of a martyr is waiting for her … This picture stands clearly before my eyes and suddenly, I see people come with a heavy wooden cross on their shoulders because of the Niazka Tower. It is not easy for them to walk, in the narrow position where they collide and slide on worn pavers, a steep climb bends the legs. But they continue to go up to the Temple while reading a prayer. They are pilgrims, probably from Latin America. And from above, apparently, sounds of the Al-Aqsa mosque, reinforced by a loudspeaker, the lugubrious recital of the mullahs. Muslims also have time to pray. Here is such an old Jerusalem …

“The path of suffering.” For pilgrims, he is his

Temple of the Holy Sepulcher. High, powerful walls and a small unexpected lot in front of the entrance. You can imagine what happens here at Easter, before the withdrawal of the sacred fire, when thousands of people gather. Inside the temple is divided into six Christian denominations. Golgotha, for example, belongs to the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, the nail altar for Franciscan Catholics and the tomb of St. Joseph of Arimothea to the Copts. Kovukliya marble, that is to say the chapel, where is the tomb of Christ, is divided in time between all faiths. Ordinary temple visitors, all these details are not visible, which gives in general, and not interesting. It is much more important to be here, to feel part of the Great Faith, to feel the closeness of the Most High.

Cross marks on the walls of the Temple of the Holy Sepulcher. Like, “I was there.”

I was surprised that there are other graves in the Holy Sepulcher temple. Well, everything is clear with Saint Joseph of Arimofii, he deserved. On the day of the execution of Christ, this man, a rich and respected citizen at that time, arranged with the Romans (possibly paid) for him to be allowed to remove from the cross and bury Jesus before sunset. Usually, the executed were hanged crucified for several weeks, for the construction of the rest. Josephus also gave his own tomb bought for the future for the burial of Christ … But there are several tombs of cross-warlords in the Temple. Admittedly, they are embedded in the ground, in the alleys, and thousands of legs run through it every day. Apparently, those who ordered to bury themselves in the Great Temple, vanity struggled with modesty, and what was won is not quite clear now.

And it’s me, On the steps of Calvary

In Jerusalem, you can often see armed people, for example, the police walking with guns on the lap belt. There are even soldiers armed with machine guns in a tram or in a cafe. But that does not bother, because these armed people are not threatened. Soldiers are often released and are forced, according to the rules, to take automatons even on vacation. There is a twenty-year-old fighter chatting with a girl and the M-16 is swinging on his shoulder like a student bag …

… The rabbi is in a hurry somewhere, worried, wearing a black coat and hat, under which pedestrians sneak. For them, Orthodox, Hasidim, ordinary citizens have a very difficult attitude: they study and protect the foundation of the Jewish people, religion. On the other hand, they are exempt from military service and receive state benefits, and families of Jewish priests are numerous, sometimes more than 10 children! Personally, it seemed to me that all fifths walked in the street in hats and at pace. Who works and then fights?

By the way, the clothes are probably the main symbol of the contrasts of Jerusalem. The already mentioned black “holsters” of Hasidim, Muslim white robes, Christian priests’ robes and chimpanzees, army khaki, modern jeans and haute couture jackets … Where you see that in the same place at once! Is it any wonder that you can find t-shirts for the liberation of Palestine and for the unity of Israel in the same clothing market in the local market?

A tourist arrives in Jerusalem and wants to go to the Wailing Wall, but not knowing what his name is, he says to the taxi driver: “Listen, I have to go to where you, the Jews, cry and you hit the wall against the wall. “The taxi driver brought him to the tax police building (Jewish humor).


Certainly, before the trip, this city embodied for me the whole country. That is to say, we say Israel, we mean Jerusalem. And vice versa. But now, I know for sure that Israel is much wider, more interesting than one, even if it is the famous and holy city.

During the seven days of travel, we managed to visit the sea, two lakes (or conversely, on two seas and a lake), to climb the mountainous terrain, to discover interesting artefacts and holy places. And that was only a small part of what might surprise Israel. If you wish, you can go skiing on Mount Hermon in the morning and swim in the Red Sea at night. And you can travel the whole country in 50 days, replacing several climate zones (as our guide Anton Schorsch had done a few years ago).

Jerusalem View from above

They say that since there is no “typical Israeli”, there is no “typical Israeli landscape”. As a result, many Jewish immigrants who come here from different countries suffer cultural shock from the fact that “everything is not as it seemed” and that “Jews are not like Jews at all”. I even suspect that life here is not at all a cheese with olive oil. High prices, hostile neighbors, need to serve in the army, hard work well done … But, as they say, “do not confuse tourism with immigration”. I would say even more: it’s better to be a tourist in Israel. First, they love you, as a rich parent who came to visit. And secondly, no obligation about Hebrew, Sabbath and Tsahala. Again, do not forget circumcision (men will understand me).

… In Pulkovo, before getting off the plane, I stowed the remaining 20 shekels in a special pocket of the chair (the ElAl airline collected donations to help disabled Israeli children). Everything is better than throwing money into the sea in the hope of returning. And the fact that I definitely return to Israel is certain

About travel in israel
Jerusalem : a city of saints and contrasts