What you don’t know about Jerusalem

Google “Jerusalem” and you will emerge with billions of references to biblical issues or the latest updated geopolitical drama.

Now think again: Remember that it is a city can boast over 5,000 years of history. It has to be full of charm and interest that has to reach beyond the standard issues that interact with ordinary travel guides or editors of global media giant, often simply looking for instant copy.

How do I know this? Well let’s start with some boring stats for proof. In September 2011, a record number of people visited Israel, around a quarter of a million people. Most of them visited Jerusalem. Surely, they were looking for more than a few explanations about Crusaders or the Wailing Wall?

What is special about Jerusalem? Because it is the centre of three mega religions? Because it is just 45 minutes drive from the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth and considered by many as one of the wonders of the world? Because a walk on its roof tops offers a most surprising multicultural experience? Because……

Maybe. Here’s my take.

Earlier this week, my family hired some quads and left the city westwards through the Jerusalem forest. Within seconds, we had put behind us the hustle of the Middle East and emerged into a “time warp of tranquility”.

All those cute lines about getting out into nature, birds chirping, wild animals around you – suddenly became a reality. Who would have suspected this, just kilometers away from the Old City, one the central issues in the Middle East conflict? It was fun, exhilarating.

The authorities are obviously trying to protect the area. New trees are visible. Picnic spots are clearly designated and clean. Walking and biking paths were well-marked. And kudos to the team at Jerusalem ATV Tours for a great ride.

My point? Jerusalem is more than just a city of hot political and religious news. A melting pot of around three-quarters of a million people, it hosts a deep inner beauty that needs to be seen to be understood and treasured and protected from the ignorant.

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