What kind of associations does your mind come up with when someone mentions this city?
Religious. Historic. Perhaps Tension & Disputes. Perhaps even simply, Old.
Jerusalem certainly has that reputation. And that reputation doesn’t make the city sound like a very appealing city to visit, does it? I wouldn’t blame you if those were the associations that your mind had.
Jerusalem is the capital city of a country that I’ve lived in for 9 years now. Just a few years shy of half my life.
I’ve been to the city many times; on school trips and the like.
And as a result, I thought I knew what this city was all about – that it was religious, historic, old and yes, that there was perhaps a bit of tension and some disputes.
I had never felt drawn to explore the city beyond what my history teachers showed me. I admittedly made the mistake that that’s all that there was to Jerusalem and I didn’t feel drawn to explore further.
But boy was I wrong!
Seeing that TBEX (for those who don’t know, it’s a travel blogging conference) was taking place in this city and I knew that I wanted to go, I got to explore this city more thoroughly. Beyond the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.
And I came to discover that those previous descriptions didn’t fit the city of Jerusalem at all!
To better describe the city of Jerusalem, you’d need to use these words instead:
Exciting, Bustling, Progressive, Multicultural, Lively, Metropolitan, Captivating & Awe-inspiring.
Pretty surprising, huh?
Well, that’s because Jerusalem is a very surprising city. Especially since it has a very different reputation.
Why does Jerusalem have the reputation that it has?
For the same reason that Africa is often perceived as one, homogenous country …
… because that’s how the media presents it!
In general, the Middle East region is often represented as one big dangerous war zone and with Jerusalem being an important city for many different religions, it is often seen as the centre of all conflict between the differing religions.
But in reality, it is a melting pot of many cultures, religions & populations that coexist in relative peace & harmony.
It’s a city that leads by example for how to live and let live.
And it’s just such a cool city to be in!
- There are loads of authentic shuks (markets) that enable you to browse anything from spices to jewellery for hours.
- There is a very lively art scene that’s colourful, nuanced, layered, accessible & unpretentious.
- It obviously has great history but it’s also very modern with great public transportation which takes you to anywhere in the city within minutes.
- Travellers who want to have fun & go for drinks can, because Jerusalem has some great nightlife with bars & pubs all over the city.
… and more!
There’s a lot to love about this city and a lot that should be very appealing to visitors.
But perhaps my favourite thing about Jerusalem is that it’s a microcosm of the world.
Being that this city is a very important city for three of the major religions; Judaism, Islam & Christianity – you’ll find that this city has a very diverse group of inhabitants from many different backgrounds.
It’s a city that is home to Jews, Muslims & Christians; to the ultra-religious, traditional & secular populations; to the super conservative & very liberal; to the elderly, students, families & working professionals; to various ethnicities & languages; to the LGBT community; and to so many more people.
Being in Jerusalem feels like you’re in the centre of the world.
You can find everyone & everything there.
I don’t think I’ve ever been as impressed by a city than I have by Jerusalem. Sure, there are a lot of other cities that I’ve fallen in love with – but I was not expecting to fall head over heels for Jerusalem.
And to think… I thought I already knew what Jerusalem was about and I live in the country! I couldn’t have been more wrong.
So many stories, so many layers of history to uncover, so many pleasant surprises to enjoy, so many cultures & scenes, so many so many so many…
Jerusalem is not at all like how it seems in the media.
It’s a city that I’ve discovered to be very underrated & under appreciated by tourists and even locals residing elsewhere in the country.
I have many posts in the works about the numerous varied experiences I’ve had in the city as well as the many things that I’ve learned from my time there.
But in the meantime, I will highly recommend you to visit this city if you’re searching for your next holiday destination.
I can guarantee that Jerusalem is not like it seems in the media and it will leave you very pleasantly surprised.
Have you ever been to Jerusalem and if so, what did you think? How were you surprised by the city after visiting? Feel free to share below!
Be Brave & Be Kind,