A daily tour with Abrahamtours
Who hasn’t heard of Jerusalem? One of the oldest cities in the world and most importantly the holiest city of all for Christians, Jews and Muslims. A city that has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, captured and recaptured 44 times. One could say there is something special with this place because for thousand years it has sparked the interest of people with different cultural backgrounds.
Nowadays, pilgrims are flooding the city to worship at locations linked to the very foundation of their faith but also tourists want to witness this spiritual atmosphere and visit the city where the 3 religions meet.
As you can imagine I couldn’t leave Israel without visiting Jerusalem. I cannot also hide the fact that I was lucky enough to realise my journey with Abrahamtours which made my day pretty memorable.
Being only one hour away from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem is an ideal destination for a day excursion. For sure if you have time it is worth spending couple of days, however our schedule was tight so we decided to go for a day tour. The tour from Abrahamtours starts early in the morning which gives you plenty of time to explore the Old city and walk through all 4 quarters without being in a rush. It is the most convenient way to explore the rich and complex history of the Holy City and experience step by step the Jewish, Christian, Armenian and Muslim quarter.
Our tour started at 7:30 am from the centre of Tel Aviv and after a 50-min drive (more or less) we arrived in front of the city’s wall at the Jaffa Gate. The core of Jerusalem’s Old city is surrounded by high walls and there are 4 major entry points to the Old City. As I entered, I immediately felt like I have travelled to another era. As a result, my excitement grew rapidly and couldn’t wait to explore all of it.
Our first stop was at the Tower of David aka as the Jerusalem Citadel which has changed multiple hands through the centuries. Climbing up all the stairs, the Citadel offers magnificent 360 degrees-view of the whole city. A perfect way to start the journey as it helps to orient yourself and track from above all the major sites.
Strolling through the Armenian Quarter the rhythm seems to slow down. You might wonder how such a small nation managed to keep its territory in Jerusalem until today. The truth is, Armenia was the first nation to embrace Christianity and their presence there has been established since around 300 BC.
Walking further we entered the Jewish Quarter, which looked way more ‘’modern’’ because the biggest part was rebuilt after the Arab occupation. For sure it was busier than the Armenian one since the world-famous Western Wall is located here. Judaism’s holiest prayer site it’s a remnant of the retaining wall of the mount on which the Holy Temples once stood. According to the Jewish belief the Holy Presence has never left the Western Wall, which is why pilgrims visit it only to touch it, pray and place their written prayers into the cracks of the Wall.
It was after this moment that I realized how helpful it was to have a guide to take you through this complicated but rather interesting history of this extraordinary place. And we were only half way through the tour.
Rapid change of sounds, smells and people once we got into the Muslim Quarter. Felt like we crossed the border to another country with odours of spices, stalls with fruits and little shops with stylish ceramics. The Muslim quarter is the biggest neighbourhood and definitely the most crowded one.
From there onwards, our route followed the Stations of the Cross through the Via Dolorosa. In other words, the stops that commemorate events during the torture, sentencing, carrying of the cross, crucifixion, death, and burial of Jesus.
The last part of the route and our tour ended at the Christian Quarter, in the one of the world’s most important pilgrimage destinations, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. And why is that? Because this church is the place where Jesus is said to be buried and resurrected. Also, the church itself is now the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Church. It was pretty obvious though by the colours, the Greek writings on the walls and the atmosphere of spirituality.
Feeling overwhelmed, not only from the atmosphere of the Church but from the whole city, and at the same point intrigued by the details of its history it was the best moment to hope on the bus and move on to our next destination.
This time we headed to the new part of the city at Mahane Yehuda market, where it is said that all of Jerusalem meets. A place crowded with all sort of people from first time visitors to locals loading their trolleys. I forgot to mention that the tour took place on a Friday, the pre-Shabbat day. In other words when the market was bustling. However, a food paradise is exactly what you need after a long day.
Our stop there lasted more than an hour and afterwards we drove back to Tel Aviv, feeling so energized by the new people I met, the new places I saw all the new experiences I gained.
*Abraham tours operates in Israel, West Bank, Jordan and Egypt designed for the independent traveler seeking to experience the true spirit of the region going beyond the regular tourist trail. If you want to find out more about Jerusalem Day Tour from Tel Aviv check the link: https://abrahamtours.com/tours/jerusalem-day-tour/