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11 September 2017

East Jerusalem - El Aqsa Mosque and the Holy Sepulchre

Every time I come to Palestine, I visit East Jerusalem once or twice by walking through the souk and the old city centre. However, this time my uncle and aunt brought my mum and I on an alternative route, walking on the city walls and hence looking at the city from the top. My uncle is a very good tour guide, plus the different route allowed us to learn a lot about the buildings surrounding the main city gates. We also went to the standard places, including the Al Aqsa mosque, the church of the Holy Sepulchre and the souk (marketplace).

As soon as we got to Jerusalem, we went for a walk around the city walls and Jaffa Gate. From last time I came, I noticed many more buildings had been built and streets had been renovated. Instead, the weather was the same - super hot and sticky! Nevertheless, I love the atmosphere there as it's unique and doesn't remind any of the European cities I've travelled to, something that often happens whenever I travel to a new country in Europe. 
Tramway tracks


I absolutely love the avenue leading to Jaffa Gate - it's unique as it overlooks a busy, modern street, ancient buildings and nature. You can see it looking the other way in the picture below.

My mum and I with Jaffa Gate behind us :) 
I loved this little wall crack :)




Taking a break from the tour :) 
These are the walls along which we walked - you could see the Dome of the Rock from this spot!

Damascus Gate from the top - this is where people walk from the souk to their homes and work and vice versa. As I wrote on my Instagram, life in the Middle East is much slower than in Europe and the marketplace is a typical example of it. 
Do you see that little grid in the left corner? They used to pour hot oil against enemies who passed from there in the Middle Ages (and I'm casually sitting above it...lol).

The city walls tour led to the marketplace (we could actually see it from the top), so we climbed down the stairs and entered it. Most stalls sell food, clothes and accessories and flowers. As usual, I bought a few white and blue ceramics for our house and my friends. I also got a red pair of elephant pants which I love and that I'm currently using to do yoga and as a pyjamas. 

We then went to Al Aqsa, which required some security checks and wearing a headscarf, but was worth it as usual. I loved the atmosphere in the square as that day it was empty and peaceful and people were nibbling, strolling, and praying. Even though I don't follow a specific religion, I admire temples and generally places where spiritual contemplation is encouraged.
The Dome of the Rock

Lots of people gathered under these little domes to eat, talk and read 
After Al Aqsa, we went to the church of the Holy Sepulchre. It was much harder to take nice pictures there as the entrance was full of tourists, so I limited myself to a few details. The church mixes various currents of Christianity but is mainly Orthodox, and allows any religion to enter as opposed to Al Aqsa where entry is more restricted for security reasons. 

Our last stop was outside of the Old City in a park in the German Colony (West Jerusalem), where I took this picture. We also found some book exchange stations, something I fell in love with in Holland last year :) 
I hoped you enjoyed the post on Jerusalem! If you want to read more about Palestine, check out my post on Bethlehem and make sure you stay tuned for my upcoming ones on Battir, Ramallah and Herzilya Beach :) 

4 comments:

  1. Nice pics, Assia! The brightness of the sun and stone!

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    1. Thanks Gary :) the buildings' stones in the old city are truly amazing!

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  2. Jerusalem looks stunning! I'd love to visit one day.

    Suitcase and Sandals Blog XX

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    1. It really is! Let me know if you decide to go :D

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