Sitting in the Judean Mountains, situated between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean, Jerusalem, established over 5,000 years ago, is one of the oldest and most holy cities in the world. It is the spiritual center of Judaism, and later home to precious holy sites of Christianity and Islam. Jerusalem, according to Israeli Author Amos Oz, “…contains more different versions of Heaven than any outsider can imagine.” Jewish history adopted the word “aliyah” to describe one’s going to Israel, or literally, “going up” to Jerusalem. Having been captured and recaptured 44 times, the city fuses multiple cultural traditions, languages, all of which are layered on top of religious controversies and archeological treasures. The old walled city inside greater Jerusalem was built in the early 1500s, with Armenian, Jewish, Christian and Moslem quarters. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel today, a unified city since the conclusion of the June 1967 War, with free access to all Holy places. Its political future is continuously discussed in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations while it remains a valued physical and destination for the three monotheistic religions.
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