Why you should go to Jerusalem!
Jerusalem, whose tumultuous history goes back 5,000 years, sits on a plateau midway between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. A major pilgrimage site for Christians, Jews and Muslims, it is claimed as capital by both Israel and Palestine. West Jerusalem is Jewish; East Jerusalem is Muslim. The Old City, the ancient walled section filled with holy sites and bazaars, covers less than a square mile (about 1 km) and was the entire city until the late 19th century. The American writer Mark Twain wrote in 1867, "A fast walker could go outside the walls of Jerusalem and walk entirely around the city in an hour. I do not know how else to make one understand how small it is." Divided into four sections - Armenian, Christian, Jewish and Muslim - since medieval times, it was designated a World Heritage Site in 1982.
Today, modern Jerusalem covers 48 square miles (124 km). It is a bustling city with concerts, art films, theater, an artist colony, cultural festivals and a diverse nightlife, including a few LGBTQ spots. Restaurants range from street food in the Old City to fine dining and celebrity chefs. The climate is warm and dry in the summer, cool and rainy in winter with occasional snow. Tourists/pilgrims come year around, peaking in the summer and around religious holidays. Over 3.5 million visitor come to the city annually despite sporadic violence.
Caution: While Tel Aviv ranks high in LGBTQ acceptance, Jerusalem is less liberal. Be discrete, dress modestly, avoid hand-holding and other PDA, particularly in the more orthodox sections of the city. The small Pride parade held since 2002 encountered violence in 2002 and 2015. All tourists, regardless of sexual orientation, are advised to check on travel warnings and stay on the alert.been therewishlist
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