Living in the Old City

“Prime real estate & very expensive” is how our guide, a Greek Orthodox Bishop, described the housing in the Old City of Jerusalem.

There are some very tony properties within these historic walls but many are modest apartments. I found the windows over the narrow streets to be wonderful photographic subject matter.

Laundry hanging out to dry

Old City Market

The Old City of Jerusalem is busy and alive with activity. The number of shops, cafes and historic enclaves is dazzling. The colors and smells are welcoming. You will find the usual touristy travel gifts along with artist-crafted jewelry, sculpture & paintings.

I love the colors of the fabrics & scarves seen in this shop. I came home with several beautiful items purchased throughout Israel.

Colorful scarves in the Old City of Jerusalem

Father & Son Moment

I loved being in the Old City of Jerusalem. The history, coupled with the knowledge that I was walking in the steps of countless others who have trod these narrow streets over a period of 3000 years was mind-boggling.

It could get overwhelming & claustrophobic at times. It’s easy to get lost among the crowd of tourists, or by taking a wrong turn and becoming separated from your group. Our guide instructed us to ask for directions to the Jaffa Gate if we became lost, as our tour bus would be out on the street at the designated time.

As my mom and I made our way back to the Jaffa Gate, we stopped at a little shop to purchase water & some dried fruit. She sat down for a bit and I looked through my camera lens searching for images that would capture a slice of life in this ancient city. Here is one of my favorites:

Father & son at Jaffa Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem

I don’t know if these two are residents of Jerusalem, whether they are Israeli, or if they were touring the Old City as I was. I just liked that this dad & son found a place to hang out together and check their phones or tablets. I imagine dad had to help his son up to the ledge, which made me wonder how many times a similar scene has been repeated throughout the millennia.

Sitting alongside History

Our tour group visited the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth:

From Wikipedia: The Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, also known as the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Gabriel, is an Eastern Orthodox church in Nazareth, Israel. Likely first established in Byzantine-era Palaestina Prima, it was rebuilt during the time of the Crusades, and again in the 18th century under the rule of Zahir al-Umar, the Arab governor of the Galilee.

This church was built on the spot purported to be the place where the Arch-Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive and give birth to a son – and she should call him Jesus:

“He will be great, and be called the Son of the Most High;
and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever;
And of his kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:32-33

In this place dense with history and even greater spiritual significance, I spotted this trio of young boys, oblivious to everything but the images on the phone they were viewing

Tel Aviv

Our journey started in Tel Aviv.

According to J Buff.com: One hundred years ago Tel Aviv was a sand dune. Then in 1910 David ben Gurion and other Jewish people founded the new city next to the old city of Jaffa and called it Ahuyat Bayit. Jaffa means beautiful. It may well be the oldest city in Israel, for legend has it that it founded by Japheth, one of the three sons of Noah. (http://jbuff.com/c121202.htm )

Tel Aviv is modern, congested, fast-paced and full of energy. We had the pleasure of staying right on the Mediterranean but we didn’t get to stay long…only one night. I was able to capture a few shots before we left for Nazareth.

From our hotel we had a city view to the east …

…and a beach/water view to the west…