Discover Jerusalem – The Amazing Treasures of Old and New
One of my favorite directors-Jean Luc Goddard exasperated the critics so much with his absolute disregard for a set format, that one of them is said to have remarked, “But surely Mr. Goddard, a story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end?”
Goddard is said to have quipped, “Yes, definitely–but not necessarily in the same order.” I myself would have wanted to follow this while talking about Jerusalem and its many charms, and what you can do with them; but the city’s past cannot be trifled with, and definitely not by me.
Discover Jerusalem – Listen to the Call of the Old City
The old city, apart from being a storehouse of history, architecture, and faith, is also divided into four quarters. Armenian, Jewish, Christian, and the Muslim areas. Although each quarter is part of the same city, each area is vastly different than one another. It is safe to walk in any area. Each area has such diverse foods to try and eat, gifts to buy, and old sites to see.
You can walk the path trod by Jesus, on the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where he was crucified, and later resurrected from. The Dome of the Rock is one of the ancient shrines in the world for the Muslims, as is the Western Wall for the Jewish. The Jewish Bar-mitzvah (coming of age) ceremony is also celebrated here. My cousin and my best friend James had theirs over here.
It is really fun to walk in the old city, with alleys crisscrossing each other, and then getting separated again at Arab marketplaces called shuks (pronounced shook).
Discover Jerusalem – Story of Life at Machane Yehuda Market (The Shuk)
If the heart of Jerusalem beats in the old city, then it spills over at the Machane Yehuda. The market is famous for cheese, halva, coffee, wine, bread, cookies, savories, and exotic dishes. Fruits and veggies are also available, but its real charm is the people and traditions. It’s like a mirror of Jerusalem, and sparkles at its cosmopolitan best.
Every Thursday Katy and I would go down to do our shopping before the coming weekend. So much energy, life, and excitement. We would meet friends for coffee and the best falafel anywhere! After all these years, it still feels exotic.
Discover Jerusalem – Hear the Skyline Speak at Haas-Sherover-Goldman Promenades
The three promenades sit side by side in the Armon Hanatziv neighbourhood, and offer the best panoramic view of the Old City, West Jerusalem, and parts of the desert. Tourists are up and about here at almost all times.
However, a little unknown location that offers in my opinion the best view of the Old City are from Mount Scopus at the Hebrew University. That is the view that an invading army would see before coming down on the city. Impressive!
Discover Jerusalem – Step Inside Knesset
The Israeli Parliament is open on Thursdays, and Sundays. Step inside to see the Israeli Declaration of Independence; tapestries by Marc Chagall hang on the walls among other illustrious art.
Oh, and if you have time, be sure to check out the Israeli Museum, across from the Knesset. Truly an amazing place to visit, with unbelievable things to see.
Discover Jerusalem – See Israel’s Finest Public Building
The Israeli Supreme Court is seen as being the finest public building in the country. It’s a marvel of modern architecture, and nods to all the distinct styles from the Greek to the British.
Smell the Roses
The Wohl Rose Park is at the foot of the Supreme Courts, and bang opposite the Knesset. It will be a refreshing feeling after a walk through the architecture, and moments to savour without any doubt.
Watch the Birds
No they are not Hitchcock’s birds; neither they are angry. But if you are in the Supreme Court, Knesset neighborhood, and have gone into the Wohl Rose Park for a breather, then the next step would be to visit the Jerusalem Bird Observatory nearby.
Discover Jerusalem – Pay Respect to those Who Have Been Claimed by the Holocaust
Yad Vashem is the memorial to the victims of history, and exhibits film footages, recordings of survivors, documents, artifacts, and installations.
It has moved me every time I have gone in with friends and relatives who are visiting. Believe me, it has got nothing to do with Judaism or Jews. I have seen the same vacant look on every face that has come out of it. Please, be there. I’ll be writing a full article on my experiences going there.
This is just the beginning; you can do a lot of other things in Jerusalem. And if you, like me, are a fan of Goddard, then you can start with other things as long as you keep this on your itinerary. You won’t be disappointed!
So come with me and Discover Jerusalem. From the Via Dolorossa, The City of David, and so much more!