Travel Destination JerusalemPublished: 10/18/2013
One of the oldest cities in the world, Jerusalem is situated in the centre of Israel on a plateau in the Judean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. It is also the capital city of Israel and considered to be the holiest city in the world. This is a city of massive importance to the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths.
The climate of Jerusalem falls into two very distinct seasons. Winter can be rather cold and rainy and often snow is experienced. Summer, on the other hand, is full of sunny weather and considerably high temperatures which are known to regularly rise higher than 30 degrees Celsius. The levels of humidity, luckily, are relatively low, making the heat more pleasant and tolerable.
During its extensive history, Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times and captured and recaptured 44 times. The oldest part of the city had walls built around it in 1538 and this is now known as The Old City. The Old City has been traditionally divided into four quarters, known since the early 19th century as the Armenian, Jewish, Christian and Muslim Quarters. Modern day Jerusalem, however, now extends far beyond the borders of the original Old City. Religion is king in this city but the population is divided into many conflicting ideals. This is due to the immense and lengthy role that Jerusalem plays in the history of mankind and religion.
Israeli cuisine has adopted elements of Jewish and Arab cuisine. It includes many foods traditionally eaten in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. Foods such as falafel, hummus, shakshouka, couscous and za’atar.
Marches and demonstrations are common practise in Jerusalem and whilst they are quite peaceful most of the time, it’s a good idea to stay out or be vigilant in case things get out of control. If you’re planning on visiting the Mount of Olives, do so in a group as there have been incidents of locals hassling travellers here. Don’t get involved in religious tensions as there are many related issues that are emotional topics for locals. You will see many guns being carried around. It is a little alarming but not something that you need worry about. They are merely a form of protection and safety for those who carry them.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to visit the sites and markets in this amazing city. Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial is the world’s leading national Holocaust memorial and a 45 acre campus comprising indoor museums, outdoor monuments, gardens, sculptures, memorials and world-class research and educational centres. Other popular sites include The Old City which is a day’s tour in itself, Israel Museum, Hezekiah’s Tunnels, The Western Wall Tunnels and the Western (Wailing) Wall.
When visiting Jerusalem, remember that it is a city of religion and tradition and at the same time a westernised country so take care in what you wear and be mindful of not offending the locals.
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