Yerushaláyim, al-Quds, Jerusalem: The Christian Quarter
Associate Professor of Religion at Boston University, Michael Zank, teaches a course called Jerusalem in Time, Space, and the Imagination, and on his website you can find 26 maps of the city from a Jebusite/Pre-Israelite conjectural map leading to a 1000 – 586 BCE “David to Hezekiah” map, with subsequent maps through the ages to the present time.
According to his book, Jerusalem Besieged, Eric C. Cline tells us that Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, attacked 52 times, besieged 23 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times — and you can feel it. 3,000 years of recorded history within 2.5 miles of walls makes for a very intense sensory experience.
To paraphrase WikiTravel, it is the holiest city in Judaism and the spiritual center of the Jewish people since the 10th century BCE, the third-holiest city in Islam, and home to a number of significant Christian landmarks. The walled area of Jerusalem, which until the late 19th century formed the entire city, is now called the Old City and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.
It consists of four sections — the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters. Barely one square kilometer in area, the Old City is home to several of Jerusalem’s most important and contested religious sites including the Western Wall and Temple Mount for Jews, the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians.
After a morning of judging olive oils and an Inbal Hotel lunch, Moshe arranged a walking tour through the Christian and Jewish quarters. I was fortunate to be able to return to visit the other quarters on my own later. We entered through the Jaffa Gate and walked along David Street just past the Christian Quarter Road to the Muristan, a small section shops and streets where the first Knights of Malta Hospital was located. (Muristan comes from the Persian “Bimaristan“, meaning hospital. Originally founded in the 600’s, today — after much history too detailed for this essay — the central features are the Muristan fountain and a surrounding market, the Suq Aftimos.
As you can see by the map, the Muristan is only a few steps from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the German Church of the Holy Redeemer.
We spent about 45 minutes at the former, and then gathered at an outdoor café at the entrance to the latter for some fresh squeezed pomegranate juice before walking south to the Jewish Quarter. Here are a few images from the day. Tomorrow I’ll post some images from the Jewish Quarter.