Holy Land

24 December 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  9 minutes

Star of Bethlehem in the Church of Nativity © Dirk D./cc-by-sa-3.0

Star of Bethlehem in the nativity grotto of the Church of Nativity in Betlehem © Dirk D./cc-by-sa-3.0

The Holy Land is an area roughly located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Eastern Bank of the Jordan River. Traditionally, it is synonymous both with the biblical Land of Israel and with the region of Palestine. The term “Holy Land” usually refers to a territory roughly corresponding to the modern State of Israel, the State of Palestine, western Jordan, and parts of southern Lebanon and southwestern Syria. Jews, Christians, and Muslims regard it as holy. Part of the significance of the land stems from the religious significance of Jerusalem, and the location of the First and Second Temples), as the historical region of Jesus’ ministry, and as the site of the first Qibla of Islam, as well as the site of the Isra and Mi’raj event of c. 621 CE in Islam.   read more…

Malkhei Yisrael Street in West Jerusalem

1 December 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  10 minutes

Morning shoppers © Yoninah/cc-by-sa-3.0

Morning shoppers © Yoninah/cc-by-sa-3.0

Malkhei Yisrael Street (lit. “Kings of Israel Street”), also spelled Malchei Yisrael, is an east-west street in the Geula neighborhood of north-central West Jerusalem. Its eastern flank, which abuts Mea Shearim Street at an intersection called Kikar HaShabbat (Sabbath Square), is the main shopping district for Haredi Jewish residents of northern West Jerusalem. The remainder of the street, which extends to Sarei Yisrael Street at its western end, includes the historic Schneller Compound and numerous Haredi and Hasidic yeshivas, girls’ schools, and synagogues.   read more…

Towns and villages depopulated during the 1947–1949 Palestine war

29 November 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  2 minutes

Towns and villages depopulated during the 1947–1949 Palestine war © Wiki Commons

Towns and villages depopulated during the 1947–1949 Palestine war © Wiki Commons

During the 1947–1949 Palestine war around 400 Arab towns and villages were depopulated, with a majority being entirely destroyed and left uninhabitable (Nakba). Today these locations are in Israel; many of the locations were repopulated by Jewish immigrants, with their place names replaced with new Hebrew place names.   read more…

Jisr az-Zarqa in Israel

29 October 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  7 minutes

© ShelleyAnne Peleg/cc-by-2.5

© ShelleyAnne Peleg/cc-by-2.5

Jisr az-Zarqa (lit. “The blue bridge”; often shortened as Jisr) is an Israeli Arab town on Israel‘s northern Mediterranean coastal plain. Located just north of Caesarea within the Haifa District, it achieved local council status in 1963. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) the town had a population of 13,689 in 2014, living on 1,500 dunams (1.5 km²) of coastal land. 80% of residents reportedly live below the poverty line. The name Jisr az-Zarqa is a reference to Taninim Stream, which is known in Arabic as the “Blue Valley” (Wadi az-Zarka). Jisr az-Zarqa is the only Arab-majority town in Israel located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.   read more…

Ein Gedi on the Dead Sea

20 October 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  10 minutes

Ein Gedi Beach © Mboesch/cc-by-sa-4.0

Ein Gedi Beach © Mboesch/cc-by-sa-4.0

Ein Gedi (Arabic: Ain Jidy), also spelt En Gedi, meaning “spring of the kid“, is an oasis and a nature reserve in Israel, located west of the Dead Sea, near Masada and the Qumran Caves. Ein Gedi was listed in 2016 as one of the most popular nature sites in the country. The site attracts about one million visitors a year.   read more…

Hamra Street, Beirut’s Champs Elysées

23 September 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  12 minutes

Hamra Street © flickr.com - Lolinka/cc-by-2.0

Hamra Street © flickr.com – Lolinka/cc-by-2.0

Hamra Street or Rue Hamra is one of the main streets of the city of Beirut, Lebanon, and one of the main economic and diplomatic hubs of Beirut. It is located in the neighborhood of the same name, Hamra. Its technical name is Rue 31. Due to the numerous sidewalk cafes and theatres, Hamra Street was the centre of intellectual activity in Beirut during the 1960s and 1970s. Before 1975, Hamra Street and the surrounding district was known as Beirut’s trendiest, though in the post-war period it has arguably been eclipsed by Rue Monot in Ashrafieh, Rue Gouraud in Gemmayzeh, Rue Verdun, and downtown area. In the mid 1990s, the Municipality of Beirut gave a face lift to the street to reattract tourists all year round. Hamra Street was known as Beirut’s Champs Elysées as it was frequented by tourists, mostly Americans, Europeans and mega-rich Arabs, all year round. Today it is a commercial district with numerous prestigious universities (such as: American University of Beirut, Lebanese American University, and Haigazian University), hotels, furnished apartments, libraries, restaurants and coffee shops, with “78 Street” (commonly known as “the Alleyway”) being Hamra’s main pubbing and clubbing hub.   read more…

Haram esh-Sharif or Temple Mount in East Jerusalem

3 September 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  10 minutes

© Andrew Shiva/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Andrew Shiva/cc-by-sa-4.0

Known to Muslims as the Haram esh-Sharif (“the Noble Sanctuary”, or “the Noble Sanctuary of Jerusalem”) and the Al Aqsa Compound, and to Jews as Temple Mount (“Mount of the House [of God, i.e. the Temple in Jerusalem]”), is a hill in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Old City of Jerusalem that for thousands of years has been venerated as a holy site in Christianity, Islam and Islam, and Judaism alike.   read more…

Safed in Israel

23 August 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  9 minutes

© Team Venture/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Team Venture/cc-by-sa-4.0

Safed is a city in the Northern District of Israel. Located at an elevation of 900 metres (2,953 ft), Safed is the highest city in Galilee, a region that Israel (in the north) and Lebanon (in the south) are reluctant to share, and in Israel. Due to its high elevation, Safed experiences warm summers and cold, often snowy, winters. Its mild climate and scenic views have made Safed a popular holiday resort frequented by Israelis and foreign visitors. In 2019 it had a population of 36,000.   read more…

Capernaum on Sea of Galilee, the town of Jesus

2 August 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  6 minutes

Catholic church, built over the house of Saint Peter © Herwig Reidlinger/cc-by-sa-3.0

Catholic church, built over the house of Saint Peter © Herwig Reidlinger/cc-by-sa-3.0

Capernaum was a fishing village established during the time of the Hasmoneans, located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It had a population of about 1,500. Archaeological excavations have revealed two ancient synagogues built one over the other. A house turned into a church by the Byzantines is believed to have been the home of Saint Peter. The real “House of Peter” is, of course, the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, built over the tomb of Saint Peter.   read more…

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