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Jerusalem - The Old and The New

Maccabiah 2022 - Team Australia

Jerusalem is a diverse, spirited, and bustling city, which combines both old and new in a multifaceted way. This city encapsulates some of the oldest and most important worldly sites for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Jerusalem is totally unique – there is no other place like it. A city of tradition, religion, and history, but also, increasingly, of modern culture and heritage, it is a city with so much to offer that you could spend years here and still not see everything.

No visit to Jerusalem is complete without a visit to the Kotel- the pulsing centre of the historically amazing Old City of Jerusalem. Be sure to write a personal note on a scrap of paper and place it in the cracks of the Wall, as visitors have done for years.

The Jewish Quarter of the Old City runs roughly from the Zion Gate east to the Western Wall Plaza. This part of the Old City was destroyed during the War of Independence in 1948 and has been extensively rebuilt since 1967.

A major highlight here for history fans is the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, at the southern end of the Western Wall Plaza, where archaeologists have unearthed fascinating remnants of old Jerusalem.

The Western Wall Tunnels, which take you under the city, back to the level of the original city, are also not to be missed.

Jewish Quarter Street (Rehov HaYehudim) is the main lane of the district and veering off this road onto the surrounding side streets are a cluster of interesting synagogues to visit.

The Citadel (Tower of David) and Surrounds houses the Tower of David Museum, which relays the story of Jerusalem. A permanent display of archaeological exhibits can be viewed, along with temporary exhibitions that explore facets of Jerusalem's culture and heritage.

If you climb up to the citadel's rooftop, you are rewarded with one of the best Old City vistas in town.

During the evening, there is a Sound and Light show here, with visuals projected onto the city walls.

The Old City fortifications date from the Ottoman period, and nine magnificent gates at junctions within the wall's length lead into the Old City.

The Damascus Gate is one of the most famous. Lions' Gate leads onto the Mount of Olives outside the city walls. Zion Gate is the main entry into the Jewish Quarter, while Jaffa Gate is the main passageway for the Christian Quarter.

Walking the wall ramparts is a wonderful way to experience the Old City. There are two sections that can be walked on: Jaffa Gate heading north to Lion's Gate or Jaffa Gate heading south to Dung Gate.

The Israel Museum houses the Dead Sea Scrolls. This complex of museums is the only place in the country that collects and displays both archaeological finds and art.

The Shrine of the Book building displays Israel's portion of the Dead Sea Scrolls (the rest of the scrolls are displayed in Amman's Citadel Hill Museum, Jordan), which were unearthed in the Dead Sea area during the 1940s.

In the main building of the complex, the Judaica wing has an impressive display of sacred Jewish art and ethnographic displays from Jewish life in various countries.

The archaeological wing contains fascinating exhibits from the early days of settlement here through to the Romans.

The Art wing has a good collection of works by Israeli painters as well as pieces by Gauguin, Renoir, and Van Gogh.

Yad Vashem, Israel's major Holocaust memorial comprises indoor museums and outdoor monuments, exhibitions, memorial sites, gardens, sculptures, and world class research and education centres- all devoted to preserving the memory of the Holocaust. In the main building, the names of the Nazi death camps are set into the floor and an eternal flame burns in memory of the dead.

Opening off the main hall are a room containing victim's names, a photographic exhibition, the extremely moving children's memorial, and an art museum with work produced by inmates from the concentration camps.