Finding Religion in Jerusalem

While Hollywood is known for its motion pictures, Jerusalem is famous for its religious grandeur.  Jerusalem is home to the world’s three monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors from the farthest corners of the world visit its numerous holy sites and houses of worship.  The city’s roughly 1200 synagogues, 150 churches, and 70 mosques are never far from any one of the Jerusalem hotels in the area.  

Jerusalem has been the cornerstone of the Jewish faith since the 10th century BCE, and is the home of the first and second temples, both of which were located at the Temple Mount.  Although the first temple was completely destroyed, the second temple’s Western Wall survived the utter destruction.  Located just 20 minutes away by car from most Jerusalem hotels, the Western Wall is an unforgettable spiritual experience.  When you’re standing close to the wall, you’ll be overwhelmed by its sheer magnificence and beauty.  You’ll notice its crevices filled with hundreds of pieces of paper of hand-written requests and prayers.  

Jerusalem is also significant to Christianity, as millions of Christian pilgrims have walked the path of the Via Dolorosa.  In fact, during Easter and Christmas, Jerusalem hotels are filled to capacity.  Often termed the “Way of Suffering,” the Via Dolorosa is considered to be the holiest Christian thoroughfare in the world – Jesus had made his way through this same cobblestone street on the way to his death.   You can purchase books about the Via Dolorosa at most Jerusalem hotels.   Some other holy sites to visit are the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where Jesus was crucified and buried, and the city of Bethlehem, his birthplace.  

For Muslims, Jerusalem is the third holiest city in Islam.  Muslims believe that Muhammad was miraculously transported from Mecca to the Temple Mount, where he then rose to Heaven from the Dome of the Rock to meet previous prophets.  Today, two Islamic landmarks, the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, stand at the Temple Mount.  You can see the impressive, shimmering Dome of the Rock from most Jerusalem hotel balconies.  

If you’re interested in learning about some of the city’s other religious sites, just visit your hotel’s gift shop or ask your receptionist for brochures as most Jerusalem hotels carry information about the various sites.