The City of Peace
Jerusalem, one of the oldest cities in the world and which etymology means ‘The City of Peace’, is a city that has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.
Jerusalem is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem as their capital which is one of the core issues in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
During the 1967 Six-Day War, Jerusalem was captured from Jordan and it has been controlled by Israel ever since.
The international community rejected the annexation as illegal and treats East Jerusalem as Palestinian territory occupied by Israel. After more than 50 years on this status, Trump moved the US embassy to the historically divided city, recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli territory. This decision caused the deadliest day against Palestinian protesters in Gaza.
However, in the day to day, the different religions have learnt to coexist as the Old City is divided in quarters since the early 19th century: the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters.
Despite that there are streets where only Muslims can enter, or only Jews, they have learnt to tensely live among each other.
Like this Jew family visiting the Mosque Al-Aqsa guarded by the Israeli police.
The importance of the Old City for Christians, is that it hosts the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. According to Evangelists, the church is located on the place where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. For Serbian orthodoxy, Jerusalem was also the place where the Last Supper took place.
For Islam, this is the third-holiest city as it is believed that Muhammad was miraculously transported one night from Mecca to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, whereupon he ascended to Heaven to meet previous prophets of Islam.
For Judaism, Jerusalem is of great importance as it hosts the Western Wall, a remnant of the wall surrounding the Second Temple and thus, the holiest site in the Jewish faith. Synagogues around the world are traditionally built with the Holy Ark facing Jerusalem.
Given all the tradition, religion, heritage and rich history that form it, Jerusalem is also a big attractor of tourism.
“Once, there was a time in Jerusalem of brotherhood and peace: cultures and languages lived side by side and not one at the expense of the other”
“Jerusalem is a festival and a lamentation. Its song is a sigh across the ages, a delicate, robust, mournful psalm at the great junction of spiritual cultures”. - David K. Shipler
(c) Mariana Mata Lara