The Intersection of the World’s Religions: Visiting Jerusalem, Israel
The walled city of Jerusalem, Israel contains several of the world’s most important religious sites and monuments. As an intersection of Christian, Jewish, Armenian and Islamic faiths, the location is a kaleidoscope of all faiths. While I don’t profess to be a particularly religious person, our visit to Jerusalem provided an insight into what makes this location famous. Read on to see what a visit to Jerusalem entails for a first time visitor.
This post is one chapter on our trip to Jordan, Israel and France during the end of the pandemic. This trip was enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards and Alaska Mileage Plan. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
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✈️ Read more from this trip:
- Introduction: Driving 1,265 kilometres in Jordan, Israel and France via Icelandair, Turkish Airlines and Royal Jordanian Business Class
- My Favourite Long Layover Restaurant at SeaTac Airport: 13 Coins
- The Club at SEA Business Lounge, “S” Concourse, Seattle Tacoma, USA
- Icelandair Saga Business Class: Seattle – Reykjavík
- Icelandair Saga Business Class: Reykjavik – Paris Charles de Gaulle
- The Residence Inn by Marriott Paris Charles de Gaulle Central Airport, France
- Salon Paul Maxence Lounge, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 2A, France
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 2A, France
- Turkish Airlines Business Class: Paris – Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines Business Lounge: Istanbul International Airport, Turkey
- Turkish Airlines Business Class: Istanbul – Amman
- What to Expect Driving through the Kingdom of Jordan
- Dead Sea Marriott Resort and Spa, Jordan
- Top Five Tips for a Day of Canyoning – Hiking the Wadi Mujib Trial, Jordan
- Petra Marriott Hotel, Jordan
- How to Tackle the Ruins of Petra, Jordan
- Is it Worth Seeing Petra by Night?
- Al Manara, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Saraya Aqaba, Jordan
- Going Local: Al Mohandes Cafeteria, Aqaba, Jordan
- Memories Aicha Luxury Tented Camp, Wadi Rum, Jordan
- Getting Sandy in Wadi Rum, Jordan
- The St Regis Amman, Jordan
- Views from the Citadel in Amman, Jordan
- Royal Jordanian Crown Lounge, Queen Alia International Airport, Amman, Jordan
- The Petra Lounge, Queen Alia International Airport, Amman, Jordan
- Royal Jordanian Business Class: Amman – Tel Aviv
- The Sheraton Tel Aviv, Israel
- The Intersection of the World’s Religions, Visiting Jerusalem, Israel
- Visiting Tel Aviv’s Beaches, a Day at Gordon’s Beach, Israel
- The Dan Lounge, Ben Gurion International Airport – Terminal 3, Tel Aviv, Israel
- Turkish Airlines Business Class: Tel Aviv – Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles Lounge, Istanbul International Airport, Turkey
- iGA Sleep Pod, Istanbul International Airport, Turkey
- iGA Lounge, Istanbul International Airport, Turkey
- Turkish Airlines Business Class: Istanbul – Paris
- The Westin Paris Vendôme, Paris, France
- Returning to the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
- What’s Left of the Notre Dame Cathedral, Sacré Coeur and Montmartre, Paris, France
- Bateau Mouches Seine Cruises, Paris, France
- Le Cafe de la Paix, Paris, France
- Bouillion Pigalle, Paris, France
- Le Café du Trocadéro, Paris, France
- Extime Lounge, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 2B, France
- Icelandair Saga Business Class: Paris – Reykjavík
- Icelandair Saga Business Class: Reykjavík – Seattle
The Intersection of the World’s Religions: Visiting Jerusalem, Israel
During our visit throughout Israel, we were continually amazed at the number of attractions that the country had to offer. One of the star attractions are the religious sites around Jerusalem.
Why Visit Jerusalem?
The city of Jerusalem, Israel is one of the world’s most prominent religious sights. The city of Jerusalem occupies the intersection of several of the world’ greatest religious monuments in the world.
The city of Jerusalem, Israel contains historic elements from Christian, Jewish, Islamic and Armenian quarters. As each are documented within their own religious scripts, this makes Jerusalem an intersection of these communities and faiths known globally around the world.
I should make a comment (or disclaimer) that I don’t consider my self to be particularly religious person. I wouldn’t typically travel all this way for a religious pilgrimage to any one of these sites. However, our travels took us through these regions and it seemed like it would be shameful to miss sights such as these.
Getting to Jerusalem, Israel:
Our travels to Jerusalem, Israel, we opted for a day tour from our base of operations at The Sheraton Tel Aviv. While we could have navigated ourselves through the tourist sites, we just thought it would be easier to book with a guided tour given our time constraints.
We ended up booking with Booqify Israel on their popular Trip Advisors Travellers Choice awarded tours. We ended up with their Amazing Jerusalem Boutique Tour, a ten hour tour that included collection from up to ten different locations throughout Tel Aviv. We travelled up in a passenger van that had a maximum capacity of eighteen travellers.
Starting at the Mountain of Olives:
After being collected from a bus stop near the Sheraton Tel Aviv at 9:06 AM, we took a ninety minute drive up to Jerusalem. We had a brief history lesson on the way up about the Isreali – Palestinian conflict to add a little appreciation and value about the region we were visiting.
We were dropped off at the top of the Mountain of Olives. The Mountain of Olives was where the Messiah will start to redeem the dead when he returns on Judgement Day according to the book of Zechariah (14:4). As a result, many Jewish people choose to be buried here as there are over 150,000 graves on these slopes.
We paused for a group picture with our tour guide prior to setting off for the day.
We had a picturesque sky line view of the walled city of Jerusalem. Landmark sights dotted the landscape of the outside of the walled city of Jerusalem, along with a steady line of tour busses navigating through this congested area.
We headed down the slopes in our tour groups, eventually making our way towards the Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem. There were some narrow walkways to access area, which at times were split with vehicles.
Domunis Flevit Church:
We stopped briefly at the Dominus Flevit Church. Antonio Barluzzi designed this church as a pilgrimage site near to a Byzantine tomb complex. Through it’s glass, we had great views over towards Temple Mount.
Church of All Nations:
The continued downwards to the Church of All Nations. Located next to the Gardens of Gethsemane, the Church of All Nations represents the place where it was believed that Jesus Chris prayed through the night before he was betrayed (Matthew 26:36).
The interior of the church was dark to represent the nocturnal prayers of Jesus Christ next door at the Gardens of Gethsemane.
The Western Wall:
We continued downwards across the bottom of the Walled City of Jerusalem. It was. a warm walk today, and I was happy that I had bright some running shoes with me. We eventually climbed around to the Western side of the Western Wall.
After a security screening, we enter the Western Wall area, located just next to the Temple Mount.
The Western Wall represents among many of Judaism’s holiest sites. Following destruction of the Temple Mount in 70CE, the Jewish people avoided returning to the exact site for fearing of stepping on the house of holies; the inner sanctum of the temple which is barred to all except for the high priest. As a result, the Western Wall has become a place of pilgrimage for Jewish people and now operates as a large open air synagogue.
After obtaining a paper kibbot (hat), you could head down to the Western Wall for a closer look. Many were leaving written prayers in the wall, although I didn’t personally partake in this tradition.
Visiting the Temple Mount:
After our visit to the Western Wall, we then proceeded to visit the Temple Mount. It was exceptionally handy to have a guide with us, as it was able to work the timings and directed us to where we needed to be and when. We probably could have done it on our own, but we wouldn’t have been able to see all that we did, within our short time available.
The Temple Mount is an elevated cyprus platform in Jerusalem that is claimed by both Jewish and Islamic faiths. The Talmund states that on a large slab of rock protruding from the ridge of Mount Moriah, that God gathered the Earth that was used to form Adam and that biblical figures such as Adam, Cain, Abel and Noah all performed ritual sacrifices; as accounted in Genesis (21:1-19).
On the Islamic side, the Prophet Muhammed stated that he had travelled to “the farthest mosque” and led other prophets in prayers. This was interpreted to be the mosque at Al Haram Ash Sharif; thus making Jerusalem a holy place for Islamic people.
We started off with a view of the Al Aqsa mosque. It was one of the oldest mosques in the world, and has the capacity for five thousand pilgrams.
We walked to the centre piece of the Temple Mount. The Dome of the Rock. This is the spot where Jewish people believe is the centre of the earth, and where Islamic people believe the Prophet Mohammed made his ascent to heaven. It remains one of the most photographed buildings on earth due to its religious significance.
We would depart the Temple Mount portion of Jerusalem, departing along the Bab Al Qattain (Gate of the Cotton Merchants), an Arab Bazaar that was mostly closed today.
Our guide took us along through the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. After passing through a maze of streets, we eventually arrived.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre:
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre rests with the Christian Quarter. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre represents one of Christianity’s most sacred sites. The church is believed to be the location where Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross, died, and rose from the dead.
For about sixteen centuries, pilgrams have been travelling here. As a result, the visit, like most others in Jerusalem, is more busy than peaceful.
We ascended up the stairs to the Chapel of Calvary. The Chapel of Calvary is where Jesus Christ was said to have been stripped of his clothes and nailed to the cross. It was a pretty sombre area.
We later toured the balance of the church, which included that is said to be the tomb of Jesus Christ in The Tomb of the Holy Sepulchre.
Our time with our guide didn’t permit us to line up to see the tomb, as it was at least thirty minutes long by my estimation. The sheer look of sadness on visitors faces whom had travelled all this way, was more than enough to get the experience for this site visit.
We had a wonder back towards the Christian Quarter before transferring back to The Sheraton Tel Aviv for the end of the day.
My Thoughts on Visiting Jerusalem:
The walled city of Jerusalem is well worth a visit if you happen to find yourself passing through Israel. While I don’t consider myself to be a tremendously religious person, there are enough sites here for most to appreciate and develop an understanding, even if you don’t adhere to any particular religion.
There is more than enough to see in Jerusalem that it’s worth a several day visit if you are at all religious. Our tour with Booqify was well put together, but it only scratched the surface of this impressive city.