It happened this year - Xmass and Hanukah were celebrated together in Jerusalem, the city where Christians, Muslims and Jews can worship in Mosques , Churches and Synagogues.
These beautiful buildings are waved into the city and are an integral part of Jerusalem for many years making Jerusalem a very special place for all religions.
Mosque and a Church next to each other.
The Russian Church.
Mosque and a Church within the old city walls.
Mosque and a Church.
Mosque ,Church and the Russian Church all close to each other.
We started our Jerusalem tour with a guide doing his University degree on Israel Christian History visiting the non classic Churches and Monasteries ,ones that are located outside of the Old City walls.
The first stop was to visit Lazarus Tomb, hidden within the outskirts of the city, and actually almost under a Mosque….
The Tomb of Lazarus is a traditional spot of pilgrimage located in the West Bank town of al-Eizariya, traditionally identified as the biblical village of Bethany, on the southeast slope of the Mount of Olives, some 2.4 km east of Jerusalem.
To learn more about Lazarus go to https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2011
Churches and Convent of Rosary Sisters (Today a Cathilic guest house) built simple and modest followed our tour all having the symbols of Xmass in them.
Jerusalem is not only buildings, hoses and walls it is the people that live together and share this special city each one with his/her tradition,clothes,food culture and faith.
Muslims, Christians, Tourists, Jews and other live side by side trying to respect the different , give space because there is no other way.
One uses silver ,other his fingers when eating, one covers her head and some show proudly their hair, some men walk next to their woman and some go hand by hand and the secret is live and let live in this explosive area.
Jerusalem the Capitol of Israel with an International Orientation is a magnet to many visitors around the globe, everyone can something close to his faith, his tradition, food or people.
Many languages can be heard as one walks the streets and alleys, all signs are in three lauguges,Enlish,Arabic and Hebrew , and we drive on the right side...
At the end of the first part of the tour and before entering the Old City surrounded by the wall we had a short lunch in one of the famous Arab Restaurants opposite the Nablus Gate.
Humus, Falafel (20 Shekels)and Black strong Coffee (3 Shekels)made on the spot the traditional way was enough to keep us going till the evening.
The Old City with in the wall is devided into Quaters: Christian,Armenian,Muslim and Jewish.
How big is the Old City of Jerusalem?
That is the feeling one gets in the Old City of Jerusalem. Just walking through the narrow streets and alleys, never mind the shrines holy to three faiths, one is immersed in history. The Old City covers roughly 220 acres (one square kilometer).
Jerusalem's Old City walls, built in the early 16th century by the Turkish Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, have eight gates.
We made our way into the Old City through Nablus Gate that as others always guarded by armed police to keep law and order .
The alleys in the old city are narrow crowded especially through the Holidays , they are filled with shops,resturants,markets,holy places, butcheries, bakeries ,hotels and apartments all mixed with different odors , music which makes this place a beautiful crazy interesting place.
Click on any picture to enlarge.
As the sun started to get low we climbed to the top of the roof of the Old City Market to see the city in an unusual light with incredible sun reflection from the windows and the bright sunning roof of the Russian Church-you have to make it onetime to see and feel the special atmosphere ,the silence after the hassle in the alleys and really appreciate this spirtual Holly place.
Reflection of the sunbeams back from the windows….
Now we had to rush to the Jewish Quarters for the Hanukah Candle lightening by the Orthodox Jews that live there and follow the Holiday Tradition.
5 Hanukkah Traditions. Celebrate the festival of lightsand stick to Hanukkah traditions to show your appreciation for the holiday. Take part in Chanukah traditions such as lighting the menorah, playing the dreidel game, eating gelt, cooking and baking delicious food, and enjoying the fun of Hanukkah gifts.
The candle lightening by all the family members, the songs and the prayers together with the candle lights along the alleys and the windows are a very special and thrilling feeling no matter how religious one is.
As the darkness set in we left the Jewish Quarters making our way to the Christian Quarters to celebrate and watch the beautiful Xmass light decorations , from one faith to another in a matter of minutes and all in one small area in one great city- JERUSALEM.
It was a very special "lightening" day, in a very special city , great weather and good guide.
The Old City, ancient buildings, traditions,odors,music ,people, food all mixed in a special tasty, pleasant blend stayed with us in silence all the way home ,now we can digest it all till the next special day to come.