What Old Jerusalem Feels Like

Old Jerusalem is an ancient, fragrant, complex, dusty, emotionally-, politically-, and religiously-charged space, and the best way I can describe it is to say: It feels heavy. As you walk through it and hear the call to prayer or the church bells or guttural Hebrew, it’s almost like 2,000 years of weighty history coming crashing in all at once.

We loved it. But it was difficult. And without our friend Ronen there to decode the goings on, we might have been pretty lost. We didn’t blog then but I’ll attempt to capture some of the things we learned in the following pictures and captions the best I can.

This is kind of what an Old Jerusalem Bazaar feels like.


And this is what it sometimes sounds like:


Another amazing thing about Old Jerusalem is that people actually live here, crammed in between these overwhelmingly significant structures, going about their daily business, and kids here have their scuffles here just like anywhere else in the world. In this photo, two boys are picking up pottery shards from pots they had smashed with the intention of chucking them at another group of children. The other group of children was retaliating with broken bits of tile. Mothers came out and scolded, as mothers do, and eventually the police stopped by to break it up. This event was significant enough for us that we scooped up a bit of tile as a keepsake and still have a piece of it glued on a magnet on our fridge.


Two boys gathering pottery shard ammunition. 


Very old stone buildings were retrofitted with electricity, modern kitchens, and, of course, Coca Cola machines.


Old nails in old doors.


One of my favorite places in Jerusalem today was this unmarked, forgotten arch in the Jewish quarter.