The Old City
The Old City of Jerusalem haves more stories than we can imagine. I traveled there but it wasn’t something very predictable for me. To begin, I haven’t planed more than a place to sleep, and that went wrong as you will read in the end.
Nowadays, Jerusalem is much larger than the limits of Old City, there are traditional neighborhoods, and modern buildings, it stills an emblem in consequence of religion and political issues, but is a place that worth the visit. While there is a kind of hostility, inside the walls of the Old City, those same people live together in a weird peace. That makes me fell hopeful about the conflicts generated a long time ago and that sometimes seems impossible to solve.
The Muslim Quarter, Christian Quarter, Armenian Quarter and Jewish Quarter
In the jewish quarter there are more than one thousand families living, while you walk, you can see that most part of the families living there are orthodoxes. There are many synagogues and schools for Jewish studies around. If you go till one of the observatories on the top of the jewish area, it’s possible to see a little bit of daily life, adults going and coming from work, children running around to play with their mothers taking a look, and teenagers sitting in groups between the study hour. One thing I learned about the jewish culture when I was there is, that when they read, they shake their head to the front and back, to imitate the movement of the light of a candle. I thought is pretty beautiful this enlightenment though.
I found myself discovering the muslim quarter when I got lost from my friend after we were “expelled” from the Dome of Rock area, she went off by one gate, and I did by another. It seems to be most populated one in the old city. The area contains some examples of medieval islamic architecture. There are a lot of shops, and snacks bars (the cheapest inside the Old City) selling pomegranate juice, my favorite fruit!
The armenian quarter is not so big at first sigh, you keep walking and when you realize you’re already out. Armenia adopted Christianity as the official religion, even like that, the armenian quarter is separated from the christian quarter in the old city. The access can be by Jaffa Gate or Zion Gate.
And the most crowed one is the christian quarter. I think it happens because of the touristic places such as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, that is located there. The market streets seems endless and I love it! One interesting thing happened when I was in one of those shops, me and my friend saw two guys laughing as crazy, watching something on a cellphone. We asked what was the joke, of course we wanted to laugh too! It was a joke from a brazilian presenter, Silvio Santos, I couldn’t believe that I was in Jerusalem, in the Old City, and that they were having fun watching Silvio Santos. It seems unimaginable.
Hostels in Jerusalem
I had a little logistic problem when I got in Jerusalem, the hostel was booked just from the day after the one I arrived, so me and my friend we left our backpacks in a fancy hotel and went to look for a cheap one, the Petra’s Hostel, it was really close to the Jaffa Gate, had a good breakfast, the rooms were not the best, same with the bathrooms.
After the unforeseen, we went to the Citadel hostel, a little bit far away from the Jaffa Gate, but easy to find. Lovely hostel! All made with rocks, looked like a cave, we were in a 13 persons shared room, it was ok, not a bad experience, except for a sick guy throwing up all night long and all the others complaining about. They didn’t have breakfast, but the payed coffee machine was enough, together with a street falafel, hmmmm…just great!
In Citadel hostel I learned how to draw a circle with a point in the middle, in once, without taking off the pen of the paper. Do you know how to do it? The challenge remains to you!
Both hostels were in the old city, so remember to pick up the first map you see, to no get lost easily.