The ability to not get hopelessly lost in Jerusalem’s Old City felt like the pinnacle of achievements once upon a time. One always knows that there is more to see, but the new Enjoy Jerusalem website really proves the point.
Not only does it seem to be the first properly functional and (until now) regularly updated website for East Jerusalem events (Quiz night at the Jerusalem Hotel?), museums, and gallery showings, it also has a host of information on the cultural institutions, historic sites, and new restaurants opening (I mean, we all love Zahra, but something new every once in a while provides a nice change).
My absolute favourite part about the site is its–no, I have two favourites, but we will start with one–is the list of sites and buildings. From the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to the Dome of the Rock, it lists the well known places with info that most won’t even have thought to know they don’t know, like the Salman al-Farisi Mausoleum or the Nea Church, old Sufi orders and hidden pools, and even the impressive Imperial Hotel (one of the buildings I’ve always wondered about, but walked past).
Competing with the list of sites and places to visit are the sites tours. It sets out walking itineraries for those too boggled by all of the options to know where to start. For example, there is the Women’s Architecture tour that outlines the personalities and histories of Jerusalem’s female founders, or the city’s fountains, Sufi orders, and mosaics, to name a few.
Funded by the EU, with a grant to the Bisan Center for Research and Development, in partnership with the Jersualem Tourism Cluster, its the first site I’ve seen that does justice to all there is to see and understand in the Old City and its environs. New items seem to be regularly added, including sites a little further afield (like the Wadi Quelt hike down into Jericho.)
The site also has info on Palestinian-run hotels, and a feature that plans a suggested trip itinerary for the would-be traveller.
While not yet totally comprehensive, there are dozens of things on the list I’ve never managed to run across, and, really, a comprehensive list of the wonders of the Old City would just take away some of its magic, wouldn’t it….