Text and images by Betsy von Atzigen
It is no coincidence that this year’s Christian Easter, Jewish Passover and Muslim Ramadan are simultaneously happening in Jerusalem.
From left: Tel Aviv's beachfront promenade and Bethesda Pool
Neither was it a coincidence to find myself again and of all seasons, in this historic city nestled on a plateau, surrounded by the Judean hills, and tossed between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and rightly appointed so as a holy city - home to three Abrahamic faiths namely Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Ramadan started the week friends and I got there. On Palm Sunday, people were carrying full sized palm branches, drumbeating and singing while passing through palm-lined streets. It felt a sense of joy and harmony amid an important festivity among the locals and visitors alike, regardless of faith and religion.
From left: Dormition Abbey, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Ein Karem
Our guide walked us along the four uneven quarters of the city – the Armenian, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian. Like before, I was spellbound by its encompassing beauty and historicity. The streets inside and just outside the walls were lined with young men and women in uniform, making sure the city was safe for this unique threefold celebration.
At the harbour in Jaffa near Tel Aviv, the blue sea and the azure sky met in agreement. Jerusalem felt more significant, reliving the place where Jesus preached, died, and was resurrected. It is indeed the holiest of all sites. There is no other place like Jerusalem.