Traveling to Jerusalem is a dream-come-true for many people. Known as The City of God, Jerusalem is a place that people will save for many years to go visit. Jerusalem holds a special place in the heart of many people. The city, of course, has an amazing religious history which attracts many people. Even those who are not religious are amazed at the culture and history of this fascinating and beautiful city.
Going to Jerusalem is like taking a step back in time, to a day when camels and donkeys were the most common means of transportation. It was a time when life was simpler.
Families and religions were important. Marketplaces on the streets, fishing in the Sea of Galilee, walking the places where men from the Bible walked – it’s fascinating to young and old alike.
Jerusalem has quite a history within the country of Israel. Back in 1010 BC, King David captured Jerusalem and made it the capital of Israel in 996 BC. He dreamed of building a large place of worship, a temple, in Jerusalem and his son Solomon made that dream become a reality. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon leveled the entire city in 587 BC and deported most of the people to his country.
However, to the Jewish people, there was no place like their capital and place of worship. At the first opportunity, they rebuilt the city and temple under the leadership of Nehemiah in 445 BC. They continue to consider Jerusalem the capital of their country, not just politically, but also in terms of worship and culture.
Nearly 40 years before the birth of Jesus, Herod increased the size of the Second Temple and made it even more beautiful. However, in 70 AD, the Romans destroyed the temple, leaving only the western wall. This wall became a place of weeping and a memorial for the Jewish people and is still considered the holiest shrine of Judaism. It is simple referred to as “The Western Wall” or “The Wailing Wall.”
Jerusalem is filled with interesting places to visit. Old Jerusalem is a great place to start because it truly takes you back to a time and place in history that one can only imagine. The views overlooking the city and Garden of Gethsemane, along with the Mount of Olives and the many churches in the city, make it a truly fascinating journey back in time.
Many Christians are especially thrilled to visit Jerusalem because of the great amount of Old Testament history that occurred there. Of course, Jesus of Nazareth also visited Jerusalem and taught the people in this area. Golgotha, the place where Jesus was crucified is a short walk from the walls of the Old City.
Jerusalem has a population of approximately 764,000 with an area of 48.3 square miles. Of this population, 64% are Jewish, 32% are Muslim and 2% are Christian. All the branches of Israeli government are within the city, including the Supreme Court, parliament, and the Knesset, which is the legislative branch of the Israeli government.
One of the country’s leading football stadiums, the Teddy Stadium, is located in Jerusalem. Another popular spot is the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo.
Jerusalem enjoys a Mediterranean climate, which means mild, wet winters, and hot, dry summers. Once or twice every winter, there will be a snowfall, usually light, but occasionally, a heavy snowfall with occur. The coldest month of the year is January with an average temperature of48 degrees Fahrenheit. The hottest months are July and August with an average temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. There are often many summer months where there is no rainfall.
The city of Jerusalem has a city council that consists of 31 elected members that are headed by the mayor. The mayor serves a five-year term and has the duty to appoint six deputies. The mayor can be re-elected an innumerable amount of terms. The mayor who served the longest was Teddy Kollek who served six consecutive terms. While the mayor and his deputies receive a salary, the city council members work strictly on a voluntary basis.
Within the city are many cultural attractions. The Israel Museum, for example, attracts more than one million visitors per year, with nearly one-third of them tourists. Also of special interest are the Dead Sea Scrolls which were discovered in the middle of the twentieth century.
The Rockefeller Museum is an archeological museum located in East Jerusalem and was built by the British Mandate in 1938.
Home to many religions, Jerusalem is truly a place of deep history, religion and culture. Jews, Christians and Muslims all consider Jerusalem as the Holy City of their religion. With never-ending sights and sounds of days gone by, Jerusalem takes one back to Bible times. Regardless of one’s religious affiliation, however, Jerusalem provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to broaden your horizons and learn of a culture that has withstood the test of time.