The ancient city of Jerusalem has been continuously inhabited for over 3000 years and is holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims.
For the Jews it is the place where the Jewish Patriarch Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mt. Moriah. In approximately 1000 BCE King David proclaimed Jerusalem as the eternal capital and spiritual centre of the Jewish people. It is also the spot where King David’s son King Solomon built the First Temple in about 670 BCE directly over the rock of Mt Moriah.
Jerusalem is also holy to Christians as this is the place where Jesus’ ministry was marked by miracles as where he made a triumphal entry into the city and where the “Last Supper” (Passover Seder) took place on Mt Zion in 30 CE. This is also where Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane took place, followed by the trial, condemnation and the route of the Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross) to Calvary or Golgotha. Christian Pilgrimages to the Holy Land always include a visit to the Old City of Jerusalem including a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
More than a thousand years after The First Temple was built, the Dome of the Rock was built over the site of Solomon’s Holy Temple, on what is known as the Temple Mount (Mt Moriah), as a shrine for Islamic pilgrims who believe that it was the site where Mohammed ascended to heaven and is thus holy for Muslims.
There is a mystical quality about Jerusalem that is unique and does not exist anywhere else in the world perhaps because of its exciting and splendid history and the hallowed atmosphere that surrounds all the holy sites. The captivating feeling in Jerusalem also probably emanates from the narrow alleys, vivid markets, magnificent stone walls and ancient buildings.
The city is surrounded by a wall which is nearly 4 km long and has seven gates. There are many towers including the Tower of David and the city is divided into 4 quarters:
The Jewish Quarter
The Christian Quarter
The Armenian Quarter
The Moslem Quarter