Travels

The Jerusalem of the Muslims

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Nisan 19 of 5773.Sabbath. !! How well we have rested !! For the first day we have not risen early and it is almost 9'00 in the morning when we go down with the suitcase to check-out at the Abraham Hostel. The Check-Out? Yes, we told you to get us a transfer at 1 in the morning in a sherut (shared taxi), since our flight does not leave until 5:30 and thus save us some accommodation durillos that did not make much sense. These days ago we have delved into the origins of Jerusalemin context more jewish as well as the more Christian. We could not leave the historic city of the Holy Land without knowing The perspective of the Muslim world. In this one we enter today.

LastDAY 7When we returned the car, we had breakfast at the modern boulevard Alrov Mamilla, a street full of art galleries, sculptures and other "rare" objects. Unconscious of us, today we decided to return there on our way to the Jaffa Gate of the old city ... but in Sabbath the desert is more lively. Today the cockroaches do not get up ... well, more or less.


 

The one that doesn't fail us is our usual corner, the one where we had dinner the first night as soon as we arrived, and today it also remains open. They already know us and greet us as soon as they enter. Today breakfast (74 ILS) will be "powerful" because the high pace of travel we are used to has been left behind. We also bought stamps and postcards to send (100 ILS)


Although today we wanted to go directly to the most Islamic area, we are next to the Citadel, the Tower of David, where we begin our adventures around the city with that night show which explained the chronology of Jerusalem. This makes us rethink the route we will finally do today, something similar to the following ...

Walk into the Tower of David It is a consequence of the fact that the entrance to the show included a visit to the museum by day, so we will not miss a day like today, much quieter even if we are not much of museums, and inside we go!


 

This outdoor display is located in the old medieval fortress built in one of the weak points of the city, next to the Jaffa gate. All objects, rooms and exhibitors focus on the history of the city in a chronological way as we saw the past DAY 6 upon arrival in Jerusalem very explicitly.


 

The reality, and being honest, is that on our last day in Jerusalem little does he discover that we have not seen, read or enjoyed already, so we are going to head to the Muslim Quarter ... although, mmm, wait ... between the walls we can see that there is a kind of walk that we have not done. They call it "Wall Roof" or "Walk through the Walls" and it costs us 15 ILS (10 ILS and 5 ILS, without and with student card respectively).


This particular "entrance" gives access to a walk of more than 1 km along the top of the wall that surrounds the old city that would be complete if it were not because in the Esplanade of the Mosques it is prohibited to pass through security issues. So we take a nice different walk from the Tower of David to the Dung Gate, surrounding the Armenian Quarter and Jewish Quarter So many times we have gone through these days, and having beautiful views of the Modern City, the area of ​​the David's City and even the Arab people of Silwan.


 

The Muslim Quarter, between smells and multiple colors

We are in the northern quarter of Jerusalem, an area that we have already walked on different paths in previous days, very different from the structured Jewish or Armenian, or the upper Christian zone, and much more populated.


Open markets, lively souks with their already traditional smells and colors for all tastes and multiple mosques, among other Christian enclaves (Saint Ana, Via Dolorosa where we started our Via Crucis) or Jews (the underground tunnels of the Western Wall)

Although if someone wants to know the Jerusalem of the Muslims, no doubt I should start with Al-Haram ash-Sharif, one of its most sacred sanctuaries next to Mecca and Medina. What doesn't sound to you? What if we call it Temple Mount or Esplanade of the Mosques?


Indeed, this place we visited early the morning of DAY 7 of the tripIn addition to being important for Judaism and relevant for Christianity (the rock of Abraham's sacrifice), it is the location where the so-called "night journey" of Muhammad occurred, ascending to the heavens.

Here we want to thank very much Almudena and Dolores, from Israel Tourism all your help provided, because thanks to your kindness and your willingness we spend this visit for Wednesday, as they informed us that Friday and Saturday would remain closed for foreigners (The rest of the days have schedules from 7.30-10.30 and from 12.30-13.30). While we continue our walk around the perimeter zone of it


 

In one of the streets perpendicular to the Esplanade of the Mosques and which, together with 4 or 5 more doors, serves as access for the Muslim population (for foreigners it is only possible to enter through the Mugrabi Gate, today closed), is the Al-Qattanin Souk about 100 meters long and about thirty stores. It is quite simple compared to other large bazaars, with wooden doors in each store, a succession of arches and small skylights that give some lighting (not much) to the place.


 

Although the most original stores are spread over Al-Wad Street which leads to the Via Dolorosa, located in small little caves dug in the subsoils of the city and decorated with great taste.


As it can not be otherwise, there is no shortage of kebaps, pizzas or Arabic pastries, bread stands, smells and souvenir shops with the most modern souvenirs, already almost reaching a street that becomes more known to us.


 

In the heart of the Muslim Quarter, in the corner where we have already eaten before and where the III and IV Station of the Via Crucis is located, the Austrian Hospice to which today we are going to go up and it works as accommodation, offering a good breakfast, decent beds and the best views of the city. To enter you just have to ring the bell and they open the door without any problem.


 

Our rooftop is precisely our goal, although there is also the possibility of having a coffee, cake or a good steak. The panoramic is impressive. Narrow streets, rooftops, minarets of mosques, churches and the great Dome of the Rock as a backdrop.


 

We had a good time there, listening to the crowd on the main street at our feet. We could possibly have eaten here but Basti's great lemonade that our friends recommended Vanessa and Roger of Street Travelers and that we already tried the past DAY 8 He was waiting for us. !! And of course today, Arabic food !! (65 ILS)


 

In the heat of noon we set out for the northernmost area of ​​the old city, losing ourselves (!! literally !!) for its labyrinthine crossings, passing through the palace of the Lady of Tunshuq (built in 1388), the Ribat Bayram Jawish (of Mamluk architecture) or the Caravanesi Khan As-Sultan with its patio surrounded by workshops ...

... but the best of a day like today is to keep breathing the smells and enjoying the multiple colors of one city within another, of the daily life of its people, of the simplicity of its customs in any of its arteries.


 

And only one was missing, Herod's Gate. With this we had entered or left through each and every one of the eight gates of Jerusalem. Well, we lie, the Golden Gate in the Esplanade of the Mosques remains and will remain sealed for a long time. The rest, that of Jaffa, Zion, Dung, Los Leones, Damascus and Puerta Nueva, are already familiar.

Herod's Gate, also called Puerta de La Flores due to its rosette ornaments, venerates Herod Antipas because he was driving home in Jesus' day.


 

If it is already difficult to locate with the labyrinths to which Jerusalem is testing, nor to speak of this area through which we go down now. The El Ma'thana el Hamra street and its innumerable transversal ones are an almost impossible challenge if it weren't for the permanent image of the beautiful golden dome that does not leave us for a single day since we arrived, the true icon of the capital of the Holy Land.


Although, everything has to be said, in this area we find the most authentic and most tranquil Arab places of the whole adventure, and in one of them we enter. Nor do we fool anyone if we say that! We have exhausted legs! There have been many "kicks" and physical fatigue begins to be noticed. Any stop is welcome (20 ILS)


 

They will not be missing today the usual purchases Last day, what if Paula? Some candles (30 ILS) and other gifts (50 ILS), in addition to a stop for another lemonade (30 ILS), are falling on a completely released afternoon.


 

Jerusalem from its rooftops, a farewell between memories

The night falls. The main claims that gave life to the city for the day give way to silence ... If there is a really special place to say goodbye to this magical city, full of history and memories, those are the roofs in which we were already the day 7 between Habad St. Street towards the end and at its intersection with St Mark's Road climbing some metal stairs ...


Possibly they are not the most beautiful views, but the most felt. Located between the four neighborhoods, as if it were the heart of the city, among the main symbols and icons we have seen all these days. In peace, in solitude ...


Suddenly, from the minaret of a nearby mosque the call to prayer of the Muslims begins to be made, that many times heard in our 2013 trips since we started it on the getaway to Istanbul. But the really fascinating thing, the truly extraordinary thing, is that at the same time the bell rings ringing around us, as if it were a competition.

Bells, prayers and just imagine the prayers at the Western Wall a few meters from us, all supervised by the stamp of the Dome of the Rock that stands there in the distance. Of those memories to keep in a bottle, of those moments that stop time as few do ...


In complete harmony with ourselves, as if it were a trance state, we leave behind the roofs of those roofs to which we promise to return one day, from which we can see among their small skylights still the life of some business of the souk throwing Their doors. In other streets, however, that vigor gave way to other clueless passersby.


 

However, in Jerusalem there is always some place to get lost when all other businesses close. That tea shop, that carpet place, this locals with a good and pleasant conservation. They all accompany us on our last departure through the Jaffa Gate, from which we will head towards the hotel.


 

It is also curious to observe, as in our slow walk up the Abraham Hostel by Jaffa Street, life is barely observed. We left the presents in the suitcases and went down to find a place to have dinner. From one moment to another the empty streets are transformed and life returns to the modern area of ​​the capital of Israel.


Restaurants, shops, supermarkets and all kinds of bars end the Sabbath. Saturday night has appeared its first stars and with it the sacred day is over. That allows us to dine quietly on a terrace (106 ILS), still hot, with feelings faced perhaps very different from those of other trips.

We will not be confused since at 1 our sherut leaves for the International Airport from the accommodation, but that is already part of the last day of our pilgrimage. See you soon Jerusalem!


Paula and Isaac, from Jerusalem (Israel)

EXPENSES DAY310.00 ILS (approx. 66.10 EUR) and GIFTS: 180.00 ILS (approx. 38.38 EUR)

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