Scenes from Easter Weekend 2012 in Jerusalem’s Old City

Jerusalem isn’t terribly crowded for Easter weekend this year. It’s impossible for me to compare it to previous years because, although this is my second Easter in Israel, it is my first in Jerusalem. Because Israel has been at peace since the Second Intifada ended in about 2005 and tourism is quite high here nowadays, I expected the narrow stone streets of the Old City, which is home to several of Jerusalem’s most important Christian sites, to be impossibly clogged. Happily, although there are thousands of tourists here right now, it’s not packed to maximum capacity.

Typical scene from a street in the Old City souq

Good Friday, which precedes Easter Sunday, is also the first day of the Jewish Passover and yesterday on Good Friday there were many, many more police officers and soldiers in the Old City than usual.

Police and soldiers in the Old City of Jerusalem on Good Friday

The Old City is divided into uneven quarters, the largest by far of which is the Muslim Quarter, through which runs the Via Dolorosa, the path where Jesus is believed to have made the journey to be crucified. At the end of this path is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built over where He is believed to have been buried and then rose from the dead three days later on what we now call Easter Sunday. This is the most popular of all of the Christian sites in the Old City.

Candles at the chuch of the Redemption

Candles which some people use to pray

Mosaic of Jesus's death and resurrection

This beautiful mosaic is the 11th station of the cross, located on the second floor

Stone of Unction in the Church of the Redemption

Stone of Unction, which is the stone on which it is believed Jesus' body was prepared for burial.

On a secular note, I found one shop in the Christian Quarter of the Old City selling colorful Easter goodies.

Easter goodies at a shop in the Christian Quarter of the Old City

Happy Easter!

8 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Claire says:

    I have been to Jerusalem twice, but never at this time of year. How cool!

  2. I’m glad it wasn’t as crowded as you thought it would be. Happy Easter!

  3. Sabina says:

    It was so great, Claire. I want to spend Christmas there too one year.

  4. Sabina says:

    Hi Ayelet – I spoke a little too soon. I wrote this post on Saturday and then massive crowds appeared on Sunday :)

  5. Claire says:

    Would love to be in the Old City for Easter, despite the extra crowds. I’m sure it has a much different feel that weekend than it does on any other day of the year.

  6. Sabina says:

    Hi, Claire – yes, you really should try to make it to Jerusalem for Easter some year. The amount of Christians, especially in the Old City on Sunday morning, really did give it a different feel.

  7. I’ve never (yet) been there but looking forward to it one day. Your photos captured it well.
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  8. Sabina says:

    Hi, Jim – thanks a lot! I do hope you’ll make it to Jerusalem. You won’t be sorry. :)

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