The Holy Land is no doubt an eternal one, which is why everyone wants a piece of it. Jerusalem is a multicultural and multi-faith community in a box where the Jewish quarter has a different feels; totally different from the Muslim, the Christian and the Armenian quarters. It is 4 destinations in 1. Each quarter almost share the same history and culture, but the differences of their historical versions and perspectives towards “holiness & the Holy Land” makes Jerusalem more exciting.
Outside the old walled city, is the new Jerusalem with new buildings, also has different “quarters” – the East Jerusalem, claimed by the Palestinian Territories and the West Jerusalem, claimed by Israel. Inside the West Jerusalem are another two separated “quarters,” one for the Ultra-Orthodox Jews and another for the Secular Jews. There is tension, of course. But the opportunity for me as an outsider to witness streets, walls, buildings, people that are totally opposite and different from the scenery and people across the street, is incredibly amazing! The East has the old Arab-town feels and literally 10 steps ahead without a border is like a European town. But my favorite of all is the place called Mea Sharim, a place exclusively for the Ultra-orthodox Jews, which has the look of a 1800s era. Unfortunately, photos, charts, colorful clothes and loud voices are prohibited.
Jerusalem is home to internationals who are working with human rights and humanitarian organizations, churches, and is home to embassies and consulates. Thus, Jerusalem is a party place – but not as loud compared to Tel Aviv. In the East side are excellent Jerusalem restaurants serving with sisha, authentic baba ghanoush and festive Arab music. On the West side are small bars with flowing beers and a place to dance wild until dawn. However, on Fridays, Jerusalem is dead, with the Jewish strictly observes Shabbat prayers and the Muslims strictly observes the Jummah prayers.
Meanwhile, the east side of Jerusalem has the best cappuccino. Enjoy the photos!