Old City of Jerusalem, Israel

Exploring the Old City of Jerusalem was a very powerful experience for us.  Who would’t be moved seeing the major religions of the world – Christianity, Judaism and Islam – peacefully co-existing within the dense confine of this walled city.  It made us wonder – why can’t it happen in the world outside this wall?

Old City of Jerusalem, Israel.

Old City of Jerusalem, Israel.

People passing through Jaffa Gate, one of the eight gates to the Old City.

If only the walls can talk. More than 2,000 years of history is contained within the fortified walls of the old city.  Covering a mere 0.9 sq km/0.35 sq mi, the walled city boasts the highest concentration of the world’s most important religious sites .

Old City of Jerusalem, Israel.The Old City is consists of four quarters – the Christian Quarter, the Muslim Quarter, the Jewish Quater and the Armenian Quarter. History kept unfoflding as we walked from the labyrinth streets of one quarter  to the other,  and each was as powerful as the last.

As the Christians all over the world are observing the Lenten season, we are particularly reminded of our profound experience in the Christian Quarter of the Old City.  The quarter has more than 40 churches and monasteries, inns for the pilgrims, and a bustling market.

Via Dolorosa, Old City of Jerusalem, Israel.Christians come from all over the world to follow Via Dolorosa (“Way of Sorrow”) , the route where Jesus Christ carried his cross to the calvary.

Via, Dolorosa, Old City of Jerusalem, Israel.Dotting the route is the 14 Stations of the Cross, the stops Jesus made along along the route. The fifth station on the left marked the place where Simon helped Jesus carry the cross. And the sixth station on the right marked where the spot where Veronica wiped Jesus’ face with her veil.

Via, Dolorosa, Old City of Jerusalem, Israel.Lined with boutiques and tacky souvenir stalls, a big part of Via Dolorosa today  is somewhat less spiritual.

Church of the Holy Selpuchre, Old City of Jerusalem, IsraelVia Dolorosa leads to the heart of the Christian Quarter and one of the most important Christian sites in the world – the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The site marks the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

Church of the Holy Selpuchre, Old City of Jerusalem, IsraelA group of faithful in deep prayers in front of the church on the spot of the 10th Station of the Cross, where Jesus was stripped of his garments.

Church of the Holy Selpuchre, Old City of Jerusalem, IsraelInside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, up a flight of step,  is the Calvary (or Golgootha), where Jesus was nailed to the cross (12th Station).

Church of the Holy Selpuchre, Old City of Jerusalem, IsraelDevouts offering candles in the Calvary.

Golgotha, Church of the Holy Selpuchre, Old City of Jerusalem, IsraelWorshippers lining up to prostrate and  pray by the foot of the altar of the Cavalry.

Church of the Holy Selpuchre, Old City of Jerusalem, IsraelFaithfuls praying over the Stone of the Unction (“Anointing”), where Jesus’ body was laid and prepared for burial after taken down from the cross (13th Station).

Church of the Holy Selpuchre, Old City of Jerusalem, IsraelDevouts praying over the Stone of Unction.

Church of the Holy Selpuchre, Old City of Jerusalem, IsraelPeople lining up for the 14th and final Station of the Cross, the Holy Selpuchre, where Jesus was buried.

Church of the Holy Selpuchre, Old City of Jerusalem, Israel

A low door  leads the tiny Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre, believed to contain the tomb of Christ. This is the 14th Station of the Cross, where a marble slab covers the place where the body of Christ was believed to have laid and from where he rose from the dead.


Muslim Quarter, Old City of Jerusalem, IsraelThe Arab Quarter is the largest and most populous among the quarters and is very  lively. Its narrow alleys are  bustling with colors, aroma  and commerce.

Muslim Quarter, Old City of Jerusalem, Israel

Muslim Quarter, Old City of Jerusalem, Israel

Muslim Quarter, Old City of Jerusalem, IsraelA family shopping at one of the bazaars.

Muslim Quarter, Old City of Jerusalem, IsraelSome of  the structures in Muslim Quarter.

Dome of the Rock, Old City of Jerusalem, IsraelThe most important site for the Muslims in the Old City is the Temple Mount, believed to be the site where Mohammed the Prophet descended to heaven. Located in the Temple Mount is the Dome of the Rock. a mosque with magnificent  golden dome that dominates the Old City skyline. It is where Abraham was believed to have prepared his son Isaac for sacrifice. It is also an important site for the Jews.

The Jewish Quarter has ben inhabited since the 8th century BC. It has been destroyed time and again, but today it is a peaceful oasis of synagogues, street cafes and restaurants, smart shops and dwellings.

Western Wall, Old City of Jerusalem, IsraelAt the heart of the Jewish Quarter is the holiest site in Jerusalem for the Jews, the Western Wall (Wailing Wall or Kotel), believed to be the remnant of the temple that housed the Ark of Covenant.

Western Wall, Old City of Jerusalem, IsraeThe Wall is divided into men’s and women’s section where Jews from all over the world come to pray.

Men's Section, Western Wall, Old City of Jerusalem, IsraeThe men in deep prayer  in the Wesrtern Wall.

Western Wall, Old City of Jerusalem, IsraeLeft: The list of regulation for the Western Wall.  Right: Women walking backward as they were exiting the prayer section of the Western Walk.

Western Wall, Old City of Jerusalem, IsraeFaithfuls insert rolled papers filled with prayers and wishes in the cracks of the wall.

Western Wall, Old City of Jerusalem, IsraeWomen in deep prayers in the Western Wall.

Western Wall, Old City of Jerusalem, Israe

It was magical to immerse ourselves in the  city and to soak in the rich history and witness the powerful  faiths that pervades within the wall of the Old City. It was an experience of a lifetime.


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About Marisol & Keith

Taking you on our journey one photo - and footstep - at a time.

67 responses to “The Old City of Jerusalem

    • Hi Erica, Jerusalem is amazing beyond words. I hope you can experience for yourself someday.

  1. Erica

    Ha. I wondered what happened to the test I was typing. Turns out I added to my name. Has a nice ring to it 😉
    Erica recently posted..The Bentleys Abroad {part 4}My Profile

    • Hi Corinne, thanks! So glad to know that you could relate to what we were talking about.

  2. Excellent photos, you have really captured the essence of the old city of Jerusalem, a place which I’l make sure to visit in my lifetime.
    Rachel M recently posted..Macmillan CastleMy Profile

    • Hi Rachel, thanks! We truly hope you get to visit the city sometime soon.

  3. Oh my, it has been far too long since I’ve had a chance to join you on your travels. (Travel does cut into blog time, doesn’t it?) I love the look of your blog and this post is absolutely stellar!! Hope to get back on track again and stay a part of your adventures!
    Jackie Smith recently posted..Crete: A Road Trip to RememberMy Profile

    • Hi Jackie, We’re please that you liked our new look and enjoyed this post. Good to know that you’re enjoying your travels in Greece. We can’t wait to hear more about it.

    • Thank you, Alex! So pleased that you enjoyed the photos and coverage.

  4. Molly S

    Amazing photos. Jerusalem has been one of my favourite places to visit – I really loved it there, and the Old City has such a unique atmosphere. You’ve really captured it here!
    Molly S recently posted..On the Trail: A Hike up HelvellynMy Profile

    • Thanks Molly. The city atmosphere is unique and touching indeed. We’re glad that you also enjoyed your visit in Jerusalem.

  5. Katie

    The words and pictures in this post made me feel like I had been there too. My favorite part was definitely the Western Wall, with the prayer notes. The Dome of the Rock.is also very stunning, a splash of color in the city skyline.
    Katie recently posted..Hiking and Beach Hopping in Koh TaoMy Profile

    • Hi Katie, thanks. Glad we were able to transport you there. The Western Wall was a definitely a powerful place and experience. It’s hard not to be touched. And yes, the Dome of Rock provided some vibrancy to otherwise somber mood of the city.

  6. Hi Marisol. I did not realize the different areas of Jerusalem cohabited peacefully. It is a complex situation there isn’t it. I don’t confess to understanding it at all. I was watching a cooking show last night about hummos – yes a whole show on it – saying how the different countries claim it as their own. It is amazing that people can visit this historic and important destination. Incredible photos.
    budget jan recently posted..Tortum to Dogubayazit in Eastern TurkeyMy Profile

    • Hi Tonya, thank you. I really hope you and your family get to visit Jerusalem someday. It’s a incredible place and I’m sure you and your family will have a memorable trip.

  7. Agness

    Your story and these amazing pictures bring back some special and unique memories. I went to Jerusalem 3 years ago and it was my first spiritual and religious trip. I’m Catholic and being there was very emotional to me.
    Agness recently posted..A Day In Toronto For Less Than $25My Profile

    • Hi Agness, so glad to hear that you had a memorable visit in Jerusalem as well. Being there was truly a profound experience for us. We’re Christians but not religious but we were still very moved.

  8. Bama

    What lovely images from one of the world’s most enchanting cities! I’m really curious about how people from different religions live in one place, where neighborhoods are connected through narrow alleys, making Christians, Muslims and Jews rub shoulders with one another on a daily basis. If only that was the case with the rest of the world, as you said.
    Bama recently posted..Recollections of A Lost IconMy Profile

    • Hi Bama, thank you. It truly is a very enchanting city. Living peacefully next to each other within a small confine of the old city wall is something they seem to do effortlessly. We have a lot to learn from them.

    • Thank you, Nancie! It truly is touching. If only the world outside their city wall would be the same.

  9. I did not realize that there was an Armenian Quarter in Old Jerusalem. I think visiting that city would be so fascinating. I wonder if someone goes by the Wailing Wall and removes some of the slips of paper so that there will be room for more. This is a very timely post as I am reading it on Good Friday. Doing Stations of the Cross in a regular Catholic church is one thing. Doing it where it actually took place must be incredible.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..Family Trip Tips: Angkor Wat and Siem Reap, Cambodia with KidsMy Profile

    • Hi Michelle,
      For those really religious, doing the stations of the cross where it really took place could be a life changing experience. We have numerous religious family and friends who had done it and it was the most profound spirtiual experience for them. We are not religious but were still deeply touched.
      Good questions about the slips of paper on the wall. We’d like to think that they are removed as most of the papers we saw looked really fresh.

  10. So, so, so pretty! Jerusalem is right up there in terms of places I would love to visit one day—the history there is just so rich and so deep, I felt like got to burrow right into the heart of it through your beautiful photos. Even though the color palate is quite muted across the city in the photos you have shot, I feel like it just adds to the atmosphere of it all (and it makes that picture of the brilliant blue most pop all the more!). Once again, thanks for taking me on a journey to a place I might not get to see for a very long time!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Angry in Asia: The Hidden Costs of Vientiane’s “Cheapest” MotorcycleMy Profile

    • HI Steph, I truly hope that you and Tony get to visit this place sometime soon. It’s deeply profound and moving experience even for non-religious people like me and Keith. Seeing the ancient histories unfold before your eyes is priceless. I sincerely wish from the bottom of my heart that you get to visit Israel sooner than you think. Regard to you and Tony. – Marisol

  11. Such a timely post considering that my brother and I were just talking with some friends about their recent travels to Israel and what a powerful and spiritual experience it was for them. As a Christian, Israel has always been high on my list of places to visit, but after our conversation with our friends and after this post, I’m really determined to get there very soon! As always, your pictures are beautiful and you do such a great job of capturing this amazing city.
    Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans recently posted..The Majestic Calanques of MarseilleMy Profile

    • Hi Dana, it truly is a powerful place. Although we’re not religious, this place touched us to the deepest core. You know, our trip to Israel was just an afterthought when we planned our trip to Jordan. It took us by surprise and didn’t imagine it would leave such deep impression on us. We hope from the bottom of our hearts that you and Jave make it to Israel soon.

  12. Great post and suggestions. We are planning our trip in October to Israel and Jerusalem is on of our stops. I’m looking forward to it.

    • Hi Carmen, Great! You can’t miss Jerusalem, especially the Old City. Have a wonderful journey,

    • Hi Margherita. thanks! It truly is diverse. You have to see it for yourself to se how breathtakingl beautiful it is. Thanks for dropping by.

  13. Old Jerusalem, in particular, is so moving to visit, as you’ve witnessed and describe here. So many faiths. Such a melting pot of cultures. We just cross fingers that all faiths and races can find a way to live in peace in Israel/Palestine.
    Sand In My Suitcase recently posted..Sea canoeing in Thailand’s Phang Nga BayMy Profile

    • Hi Janice, It truly is moving, We keep our fingers crossed that all faiths and races can live in peace not only in Israel/Palestine but all throughout.

    • Our pleasure Noel, Glad you enjoyed the tour and photos. I hope you get to visit this ancient city sometime soon. You will find a lot of beautiful and powerful things to photograph.
      Marisol & Keith recently posted..The Old City of JerusalemMy Profile

    • Thank you. I’m sure you captured some great memories with your non-dslr camera. It’s hard not to capture anything powerful in that city whether you have a sophisticated equipment or not. Thanks for dropping by. We hope you post about your France trip. soon.

  14. what a truly amazing place to visit. I am sure everyone who walks within this city would be moved by the experience, the history, the people. I hope one day I too will walk those paths. Thank you for taking us there.
    I love visiting your blog and seeing the world through your words and images.
    Happy travels, and thank you for stopping by my blog the other day.

    • Hi Jill, we truly hope from the bottom of our hearts that you walk those paths, too. We’re sure you’ll find it a powerful experience as well. And we can’t wait to see the wonderful images that you and your camera will capture.

  15. Lady Fi

    Gorgeous shots and so much rich history!

    • Thank you Fiona. The history is truly incredibly rich. Glad you enjoyed the shots.

  16. Leigh

    As usual your photos are so compelling that I immediately want to pack up and go. I think a trip to Israel and in particular Jerusalem would be a fascinating experience and one I will make happen in my lifetime. The Arab Quarter looks like great fun to visit.
    Leigh recently posted..What You Can Do if Only Have 3 Hours in Leipzig, GermanyMy Profile

    • Hi Leigh, thanks. You know the trip to Israel was just an afterthought when were were planning our Jordan trip. But boy, it turned out an amazing afterthought. It truly makes a trip of a lifetime. We’re not religious people but we were so moved by the deep spirituality from different faiths. We really hope that you can make it there soon.

  17. Wonderful pictures! I have lived in Israel 40+ years, yet I continue to discover new things/religions/cultures/sites and even food as I explore the Old City of Jerusalem. It is truly an unique place. I’m glad you had a chance to visit and take such amazing photos!
    Ellis Shuman recently posted..The Israeli Republic of IranMy Profile

  18. Hi Ellis, thank you! We wished we had more time to explore the Old City. It truly was an incredible place. We hope to return one day and experience more of it. It must be amazing for you to live there and never run our of wonderful things to discover. Thank you for dropping by.

  19. My goodness this must have been one of those experiences where you experienced a myriad of emotions. Incredible shots. One of the places that is worth visiting in one’s lifetime. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Maria, thanks. Yes, it’s pretty emotional, profound experience even for non-religious people like us. Truly makes a trip of lifetime. We hope you get to experience it for youself.

  20. Very timely post for this past Holy Week my friend :) I always love virtually traveling with you through your beautiful photos and stories. This post is even more meaningful as a Catholic who has always wanted to visit Israel and Jerusalem and to be in the midst of history. My brother was just in Israel last month and he’s not very religious but Jerusalem deeply affected him. It’s too bad about the Via Dolorosa – not what I expected at all.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..A Photo Journey Through Zion National ParkMy Profile

    • Hi Mary, like you brother we are not religious but the visit to Old Jerusalem profoundly moved us. I hope you get to visit this powerful place soon.

    • Hi Diva, our pleasure. Jerusalem is certainly worth visiting. We really hope you can visit it someitme soon.

  21. Marisol and Kim, thank you for sharing these great photos of Jerusalem! I had no idea that the quarters were so separated by religion, but it’s great to hear that they all co-exist peacefully. It’s actually really interesting to see all the difference between the three quarters listed and it really must have been a great experience to follow the route of Jesus. One day, I would love to visit Jerusalem as well… :)
    Dennis Kopp recently posted..Bali, Volcanoes and Colorful BeachesMy Profile

    • Hi Dennis, our pleasure. We also were not aware of all the different quarters until we started planning for the trip. It was truly interesting to experience each of them and how different but unified they are. We hope you get to visit this incredible city sometime soon.

  22. Stunning! I have always wanted to go to Jerusalem and this post solidifies that desire! I cannot imagine what that must have been like to see so many places of such historical and religious significance.
    Sarah Somewhere recently posted..Be OpenMy Profile

  23. Incredible issues in this article. We are quite fulfilled to visit your article. Thanks and i am having a look ahead to the touch you. Would you like to kindly decrease me a e-mail?

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