Jerusalem is the sacred city of the Jews, but also a place of great importance for Christians and Muslims, who consider it “ holy city ” because it is linked to decisive moments in their history.
Jerusalem, also called Zion , is a very old city, which was inhabited more than four thousand years ago by the farming populations of the region.
Around the year 1000 BCE (before the common era) it was conquered by King David, who established his capital in it. The King Solomon expanded its limits and built the first temple. After his death. Jerusalem remained the capital of the kingdom of Judah until, in 587 BCE, the Babylonians conquered it and destroyed the temple. This temple was rebuilt in 515 BCE, after the return of Jewish exile in Babylon, and for centuries it welcomed the high priest, the highest authority of the Jews.
The King Herod embellished the city from 37 BCE and rebuilt the temple, which the Romans destroyed once in the year 70 CE The consequences of the new Jewish revolt against the Romans in 133 c were fearful to the city: changed their name to Elia Capitoline and a temple was built to Jupiter Capitoline, symbol of Roman power, in place of the Jewish temple.
With the rise of Christianity as a religion of the Roman Empire, Jerusalem was once again the object of veneration and churches were built in the holy places of Christians.
Only six years after Muhammad’s death in 638 CE, Muslims took Jerusalem; in 691 ec, they erected the Dome of the Rock , an Islamic place of worship in the square of the old Jewish temple. In general, they maintained a position of tolerance towards the Jews, as they had much more problems with the Christians, who took Jerusalem during the Crusades and made it the capital of their kingdom between 1099 and 1187.
After the new Islamic conquest, Jerusalem became a city of Muslim majority, but with Jewish and Christian inhabitants.
Three religions symbol
It is paradoxical that the place that Jews value as a home was the same place that centuries later would be considered unfaithful or from which they would have to distance themselves.
Christians see in Jerusalem the place where Jesus’ passion and death developed and where Christianity began .
P ara Muslims, is the third holy city of Islam, after Mecca and Medina. Muhammad would have said that, there, a prayer was worth a thousand.
The Wailing Wall
Especially on Saturday and at the famous festivities, Jews pray for the lost temple and kingdom, in the remnants of the outer wall of the temple enclosure built by Herod around the year 10 BC and destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 CE.
The Dome of the Rock or Ornar Mosque
The Dome of the Rock is an octagonal building, with the doors oriented towards the cardinal points, which was completed in 691 CE. The luxurious decoration, both exterior and interior, makes it a masterpiece of Islamic architecture and one of its oldest examples. It predominates over the temple terrace and is one of the most notable symbols of the city.
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, was a Christian. When he visited Jerusalem, he said he found numerous traces of Jesus’ steps through the city. Among them, the most spectacular was his tomb. Quickly, a church was built, bringing down a temple to Venus that was on the spot.
Today, after several improvements, it is the most famous Christian monument in the city.