You may have long debates about what is the most beautiful city on the Earth. Everyone has his own tastes and preferences. However, in one thing you may be absolutely sure – no one can be indifferent to Jerusalem. You can not measure the city by such criteria as «beautiful or not beautiful». As it is quite special – and truly only such must be the city, which is sacred for three world religions.
The Old Town is inside the walls erected under Suleiman the Magnificent in XVI century. And the city itself had fully retained the layout of Roman military camp since II century A.D.
There is no motor traffic within the city. The width of streets, if you can call them so, is about 2-3 meters. At first, you even get a bit lost there. It seems as if you were at the market. But you soon get accustomed, and begin to feel the atmosphere of the city. It remained the same as it was in the first centuries of our era, and only TV antennas atop the houses remind you that it is already XXI century.
Before going to Jerusalem you should look through the Old Testament and New Testament, at least the Second and the Third Books of the Kings of the and the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke. Old Testament tells about the times of David and Solomon, the origins of Jerusalem. Alas, there remained nothing of that period. Moreover, historians even aren’t quite sure about the existence of the First Solomon`s Temple and authenticity of Biblical personages.
Western Wall (Wailing Wall) is the most important sanctuary of the Israelis. It is the only preserved wall of the Second Herod`s Temple, which was destroyed by Roman emperor Titus in 70 A.D. For the Hebrews it is the symbol of their perseverance. There are always many Orthodox Jews, which say their prayers and, traditionally, leave notes in the cracks of the Wall.
As to Christian sanctuaries, events of New Testament, and personality of Jesus Christ, you should put aside all your doubts. When you enter the Tomb of Lord, built in IV century on Golgotha, and particularly its chapel (Cubiculum), where supposedly Jesus Christ was buried, you are captured with strong excitement. Indeed, it is a sacred place for any Christian. And there are many such places in Jerusalem: Via Dolorosa, Gethsemane Garden and Gethsemane Grotto, and Mount of Olives. All of them are somehow related to the events, which took place two thousand years ago and predetermined the development of mankind.
Arabic part of the city is the largest, and it is quite understandable. As since the first centuries of its existence Jerusalem had been under the rule of Arabs. In VII centuries A.D. on the Tem-ple`s Hill, the site of the Temples of Solomon and Herod, there was built one of the most beautiful mosques in the world, the Dome of the Rock sometimes referred to as the Mosque of Omar.
Bethlehem is in the immediate vicinity of Jerusalem. There located the second important Christian sanctuary, the Temple of Christ`s Nativity, after the Temple of Lord. Bethlehem is on the territory of Palestinian Autonomy separated from Israel by the high wall. So, if you plan to visit the city for yourself, you should resort to Arabic cabmen, which can easily take you to the territory of Autonomy.