The Holy Land: The Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls

The Old City was given World Heritage Status in 1981 and placed on the World Heritage in Danger List the following year. The City, fortified by its walls, is barely 1 km2 in size, with followers of three religions living in their respective quarters.

This path is the Via Dolorosa, where Jesus walked with a cross. Jesus is said to have laid his hand on this wall. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is located on the Hill of Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified. It is said that Jesus was put to death by crucifixion atop these worn stairs. There are two altars here representing two Christian sects, the Roman Catholic faith and the Greek Orthodox faith. There is a ritual for opening the door every morning, at the Church. It is a Muslim in fact who opens the lock to the Christian Church. When Islamic King Saladin recovered the city of Jerusalem from Christian Crusades, the King approved of preserving the Church on condition that the keys to the complex were managed by Muslims. The tradition has lasted for 800 years.

This is the Muslim Quarter. The Holy Rock is said to be spot from which Mohammad, the founder of Islam, ascended through the heavens to God, and received Revelation from Allah. The hill where the Dome of the Rock is located is a sacred site for Judaism. For Jews throughout the world, Jerusalem is their eternal homeland. The sight of Jewish people grieving the loss of their homeland and praying before the wall has given it the name, the Wailing Wall.

The city has had a complex history with three religions claiming and fighting over the holy sites and yet living together in the same city. Jerusalem, a city on the World Heritage in Danger List is a symbol to the whole world.

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