Jerusalem, as a holy city for Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Archaeological excavations show the history of the city began over 5,000 years ago. Among its 220 historic monuments are the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, Built in the seventh century, which stand as magnificent pieces of architecture. It is also home to the church of the Holy Sepulchre, which houses Christ’s tomb.
The city has been known by different names through its history: Urusalim, Jebus, Aelia Capitolina, the City, Beit Al-Maqdis, and Al-Quds. Jerusalem’s sites and long history present an exceptional testimony to vanished civilizations: the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Crusader, Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid, Ayyubid, Mameluk, and Ottoman periods.
The old city of Jerusalem and its walls is one of the best-preserved medieval Islamic cities in the world. It is divided into four main quarters: the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, the Armenian Quarter and the Jewish Quarter. The old city has been home to many diverse cultures, which are reflected in the architecture and planning of the city and its sacred buildings, streets, markets, and residential quarters. Today, Jerusalem’s living traditions continue, making the city the heart of human history.
The city contains many important sites:
- The Dome of the Rock (Qubbat As-Sakhra)- located in the old city and the third holiest shrine for muslims.
- Al-Aqsa Mosque (al-Haram ash-Sharif)- silver-domed, next to the Dome of the Rock
- Church of the Holy Sepulchre- Preserving the most holy sites of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- The Garden Tomb- reliving the crucifixion and resurrection experience.
- Via Dolorosa (The way of the cross) – the traditional route that Jesus followed as he carried the cross.
- Mount of olives- magnificent view of the old city. It is associated with some of the most important events in Jesus’s life. (it is the place where he’s believed to be the Son of God ascended to Heaven, where he foretold the destruction of Jerusalem, taught his disciples the lord’s prayer, and wept over Jerusalem on his way to the Holy City.
- Garden of Gethsemane (Church of all Nations)-sixteen nations contributed to its construction. It served as a site for retreat and prayer by Jesus.
- The Kidron Valley- associated with the day of Judgment
- The tomb of the virgin Mary in Kidron Valley
- Bethany (Al-Azarieh): the village which was the home of Lazarus.