Jerusalem is a city which is rich in history that comes alive every day in many shapes and forms. Some of the most holy sites in the world are through the many gates leading to the old city of Jerusalem. During your first few steps while entering the old city you can already feel that this white stoned city holds many magical places and each Jerusalem stone has seen the times of the century change like no other city in the world. All buildings whether it be in the old city of Jerusalem or in the new city have to be built with the white Jerusalem stone. No bricks, wood or any other material are allowed.
There are many hidden, secret spots in the old city of Jerusalem that the public tend to walk straight past as sometimes a tiny door or a darkened path leads the way to these beautiful hidden treasures of spots that tourists don’t particularly know if its allowed to enter. Below will be just a few of these spots for you to understand and hopefully one day see with your own eyes.
Little Western Wall
One of the holiest sites in Judaism is the Western Wall which is well known around the world. Individuals will travel far and wide to get to Israel, Jerusalem to be able to get to and touch the Western Wall, say some prayers, write a note with their wishes or prayers and stick it into the cracks of the wall wherever there may be space as thousands of people are doing this exact action daily.
As the Western Wall is always so full and sometimes impossible to even get to with lines stretching as far as the eye can see and bodies hovering the wall once you get through the gates and security, wouldn’t it be nice to have a space to yourself, or to a small percent of people. Well this is possible; the Little Western Wall is a continuation of the larger part of the wall and is located inside the Muslim quarter of the old city near the gate to the Temple Mount. Some religious locals or travellers would even say that this small part of the wall is even holier that the larger more common part of the wall.
Here too you can leave notes of your wishes or prays within the cracks of the wall and what is even more fascinating is that men and women do not have to be separated while standing facing the wall as they do at the more commonly known part of the wall.
Church of St. John the Baptist
The oldest church in Jerusalem and one of the oldest in the world founded in the 5º century. It was destroyed in the 7º century 200 years later during the Arab conquest. The church was then reconstructed down the line and made extremely colourful.
The church is located in the Christian quarter of the old city amongst all the merchants which makes it very easy to miss and quite the treasure to find. A wooden door as the entrance with Greek letters marking the entrance. Walk through the door and prepare to be amazed.
The door is not always open to the public but on the off chance that it is, count your lucky stars and take a wonder inside.
You have surely heard of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, you might even be visiting Jerusalem just to enter the church and see where they say Jesus is laying. Just above this church there is a tiny monastery that is easy to stroll past. Next time you find yourself in this vicinity walk a bit slower and keep your eyes open for this monastery. Walk inside the monastery and behold an even tinier door followed by a good number of stairs until you can see Helena’s Well.
St. Helena who was the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great was the first person to find where Jesus was crucified and buried. Researchers say the St. Helena built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and used the water from this well.
The well is accessible but the priest who you will find there will ask you for any size donation to be able to view the well.
The Kishle was established in the year 1834 to serve as a military compound by Mohamed Ali, the ruler of Egypt at the time. It was then used as a prison and police station where Jewish people were incarcerated. Many of these prisoners left certain marks on the walls which are still visible today.
Archaeologists have found artefacts from almost every period in the history of Jerusalem. The Kishle is now part of the Tower of David Museum very near to the Jaffa gate entrance which is accessible to the public but only with certain arranged tours.
The highest viewpoint in the Old City, you might know it as the Promenade, if you don’t the locals sure do. It is a lookout very close to the Headquarters of the UN.