"Which city do you love the most in the world?"

My very dear friend Abufares gave me the honor to participate in his tag and to be perfectly honest, a lovelier question he couldn’t have passed on to me!

As patriotic Bavarian and native from Munich one might assume that it is rather logic – judging alone from the title of my blog – that there is only one possible choice – my hometown … but no, I have to disappoint whoever made this conclusion – it is NOT Munich, even though I do love her very much.

Had I been asked even without tag, which city I dearly love, which stole my heart, in which I left part of my soul .. it is JERUSALEM, the eternal city, the holy city for three religions, in my eyes the QUEEN OF ALL CITIES on this planet!!

In Jerusalem one can feel the breath of history at each and every corner, smell the scent of time of gone-by centuries wherever one puts his/her foot. I am talking of course about East-Jerusalem, the city-wall, the buzzling streets with the shouting vendors trying to find people to buy their produce, the crazy traffic which, for some unknown-to-me reason always seems to be able to detangle itself, the sounds and smells which seem to come from semingly everywhere – THIS is the city I LOVE MOST!

I am in the lucky position to be able to say I have been there and have explored almost every spot, even those usually hidden from the untrained eyes of tourists and … there is no city alike anywhere on this planet! Trying to find a word which contains all the sensations, emotions I felt while walking is a challenge … I guess the best way to describe it is “I sensed the SOUL, felt the BREATH of the city”!

I always enjoyed every minute of strolling around and even though I had repeatedly been warned to enter the souk (Arab market in the Old City) alone (or even at all) … I have done just that almost every single time I was in the city and LOVED IT! I usually entered the Old City through the “Damascus Gate” or “Bab el-Amud” and let my senses take over. The countless shades of colors of the neatly arranged fruit and vegtables were beautiful and a sheer pleasure for the eyes, the incredibly good smells of all kinds of traditional foods made one inevitably act like a little dog, sniffing into every possible and impossible direction, foods like Abu Shukry’s (and many other’s of course) hummous unforgettable, the mouthwatering sweets an almost heavenly treat for eyes and taste-buds (but a disaster for anyone who even thought of counting calories – one gained weight while only LOOKING at them already!) … and the people of a warmth, helpfulness and friendliness which was seemingly unsurpassable! Never ever have I felt threatened in ANY way or even uncomfortable – the very opposite is true … I loved the little chit-chats here and there, simply the interaction with people who were simply wonderful!

I had (YEARS ago of course) the opportunity to visit the “Dome of the Rock” as well as the”Al-Aqsa Mosque” which is the third-holiest mosque in Islam and will always cherish the memories of these wonderful minutes and hours I was allowed to spend there. I still remember how I entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque and stood there in awe, sensing the holiness of the place and thinking of the multitude of people who wish nothing more than to be allowed to pray there … I feel for them – all that is burned into my memory!

Of course I went to visit as well the Christian churches in the Old City as well as the Mount of Olives, the historical places of the Christian Religion like the “Church of the Holy Sepulchre” and the “Via Dolorosa” as well as the center of the Jewish religion, the “Kotel” or “Wailing Wall”.
All those, as well as of course the Islamic places should remind the upper echelon of their responsibility of respecting all three religions and give free access to all who wish to worship, regardless of faith and age!

All in all … Jerusalem is IT! I pray for her, for peace, REAL and JUST peace, for her people, to be able to leave their man-made ghetto they were forced into … as much as I pray for the decisionmakers to be able for once to step back – and recognize the craziness, the appalling inhumanity, the suffering which was imposed to the people of this part of the city, the third-holiest city in the world … THE CITY I LOVE MOST!!

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