This where the first surprise I had expected to see a city in the middle of a empty sand desert with a great wall around it. Instead I it was a big modern city up in the mountains and the wall around the old city where mostly hidden behind buildings or destroyed long ago. When I entered Jerusalem at noon it was sunny and the temperature where a comfortable 22C. In the evening at about 8 when I left it was about –3C and snowing with thin layer of snow on the streets. Talk about change in weather!
My favourite thing to do was...
My favourite thing to do was sitting on a camel in the old center of Jerusalem. When you are used to horsebackriding, you won't have any trouble when the camel stands up. Otherwise you will have to hold on tight! From riding a camel very long you get pain in your behind by the way.
Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and sacred to three religions : Judaism , Christianity and Islam.
In hebrew we call it Yerushalayim and in arab it is Al-Kuds (the holy).
There are more than 700,000 residents in the city.
A little tour through Jaffa Gate
Down Jaffa Gate, there is a big parking place.
We began our route around Jerusalem through this gate, crossing the Christian quarter, until we arrived to the Western Walls, later the walked through the Jewish quarter, and visited the Cardo as well.
From Armenia to Jerusalem
When I was 15, my father took us all to Jerusalem for a year. What? A year? I was devastated. Who wants to be dragged away from their friends at that age? Why can't we go on a normal vacation like everyone else, I thought. You know, a couple of weeks in the summer. By the time the year was up, I had changed my mind completely. Now the hard part was leaving Jerusalem. We needed something to take back home that would remind us of the incredible year that had practically flown by. My mother's choice was Armenian pottery. Jerusalem is the only place in the world where the genuine article is still being produced.
For centuries, the Armenians of Kutahya, Turkey were famous for their ceramics and pottery. As devout Christians, the Armenians had a special connection to Jerusalem. They used their skills to produce ceramic tiles to beautify the churches of Jerusalem, among them the Cathedral of St. James in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City, which boasts 6,000 of these distinctive tiles. Armenians began to settle in Jerusalem after adopting Christianity around 300 C.E., making them the first foreign Christians to establish a presence in Jerusalem.
In 1918, three Armenian artisans, natives of Kutahya were brought over to repair the glazed tiles on the Dome of the Rock. David Ohanessian, secretary of the largest pottery shop in Kutahya came to Jerusalem with master potter Neshan Balian, painter Megurditch Karakashian and ten workers to open a workshop for this purpose. For some reason, the project fell through and the tiles were only repaired in the 1960s.
But the Armenian potters remained in Jerusalem with their families and carried on their age-old tradition, producing gorgeous tiles that can still be seen in buildings around Jerusalem today (in the entrance hall of St.Andrew's Scottish Church and Guesthouse, for example, there is a wonderful niche inlaid with these ceramic tiles). "Palestine Pottery," owned by the Balian family, is still at its original location at 14 Nablus Road, opposite the American consulate. Another outlet on Shlomzion Hamalka Street in downtown Jerusalem is run by Arman Darian. Here you can buy hand-painted tiles, mirrors, plates, mugs, made-to-order door plaques, vases, bells, candlesticks, lamps - even coffee tables. Don't be fooled into buying the cheap imitations in the Arab market. This is the real stuff.
The charming tiles my mother purchased so many decades ago are still as glossy and beautiful as ever (apart from a little chip or two). Now they are hanging in the bedrooms of her grandchildren.