The Arab Bazaar of the Old City of Jerusalem

The Arab bazaar is a wonderful, colorful bazaar just within the walls of
The people minding the stores are Arabs, descendents from many
generations of storekeepers they are experts at getting the highest
possible prices from their customers. Not only do they succeed in selling
their wares at a good profit, their customers also go away feeling happy
that they’ve struck a great bargain and that they’ve made a new friend.
The greatest experts among them start the dealing with a personal
compliment, for example: “Wow you’re the first customer I’ve had today.”
This means you’re his “siftach”and everybody knows that a person who is
a “siftach”deserves a big discount. One could even say its an unwritten
law of Arab market storekeepers.
Often when he has a “siftach”he’ll shrug his shoulders, in a sign of
resignation that he has no choice, but to sell whatever thing you have
chosen from his store, a bag, a shawl, a pair of shoes, at a loss. You’re a
“siftach” and if he doesn’t do the right thing by you he’ll have bad luck all
day long. If he gives you a discount, at great sacrifice to himself, he will
have good luck the whole day long.
The most important thing in the market is to keep the upper hand
while at the same time being polite. Whatever he does you should
complement him and insist that he’s a wonderful fellow.
If you refuse to buy the article he’ll show you other articles in his store
until you buy something. He’s always trying to sell something. The only
way to get out of buying is to tell him what a good fellow he is and
wonderful his store is and even to promise him you’ll be back.
The phrase that you’re not in the market for that article right now is a
give away that you realy want that article and it’s just a question of
In this game the more you want the article the more you show how
much you don’t want it.
The Jewish stores in the Jewish Quarter aren’t really a market. The
bargaining there is different. Nobody ever seems to go down in price.
I think you can buy beautiful things there, like paintings, kiddush cups,
candle sticks for the festivals and Shabbat and even some antiquities.
There you’ll get pleasure from what you buy. In the Arab Market you’ll
get pleasure from how you buy.

Israel is a unique land and Jerusalem her jewel

There is not another city that has been the cause of so many armed conflicts as Jerusalem. The Jews prayed and pray in her direction three times a day during centuries.
The hustle and bustle of this beautiful town, the noisy local markets, the sanctity of the holy places for Judaism, Christianity and the Islam, and a close association with the Bible all wait to be experienced by travelers of all ages and interests from all walks of life.
Thousands of Christian pilgrims visit Jerusalem every year, and small crosses carved on the stone walls along the steps leading to the Chapel for the Finding of the Cross are silent and touching witnesses to the fulfillment of their dream.

The Western Wall, Wailing Wall or Kotel as the Jews call it, is the last remains of the wall surrounding the temple and is sacred to the Jewish People as a religious and national symbol. People push notes of prayers, requests and desires that are addressed to G-d.

The monument which resembles a Nabatean tomb, known as Absalom’s tomb, with its cone-shaped top and located near the Old City, has stood in the Kidron Valley facing the Temple Mount since the time of the Second Temple. Jewish people believe that the resurrection of the dead would begin there when the Messiah arrives so it’s a place used during centuries for burying the dead. Many great scholars are buried there.

Although the precise origin of the Hebrew name for Jerusalem, Yerushalayim remains uncertain, scholars have come up with a variety of interpretations. Some say it means “legacy of peace” — a combination of yerusha (legacy) and shalom (peace). “Shalom” is a cognate of the Hebrew name “Shlomo,” i.e., King Solomon,” the builder of the First Temple. Alternatively, the second part of the word could be Salem (Shalem literally “whole” or “in harmony”), an early name for Jerusalem that appears in the Book of Genesis. Others cite the Amarna letters, where the Akkadian name of the city appears as Urušalim, a cognate of the Hebrew Ir Shalem (this last part from Wikipedia).

Some historic facts of Caesarea

The famed city of Caesarea was built on the site of an older town, Straton Tower, first mentioned in the letters of Zeno, an Egyptian treasury official of the third century BCE.

Zeno disembarked at the harbor while on his way from Egypt to Syria. The remains of the older town, named after a King Straton of Sidon, are north of a wall built much later in the Crusader period.

In 96 BCE the city fell into Jewish hands in a Hasmonean campaign to secure the coastline and develop fishing and shipping industries. In 63 BCE the Roman general Pompey the Great conquered Caesarea and declared it to be a free town under the authority of the Roman governor of Syria.

The great leap in its development and fame arrived in 22 BCE When Herod the Great gained control of Caesarea and began his colossal building projects there.

Flavius Josephus wrote that Herod “observed there was a city by the seaside that was much decayed (its name was Straton’s Tower). Herod rebuilt it all with white stone and adorned it with several most splendid palaces and built a haven”.

Herod indeed planned and entire city, based on the Roman model and including imposing public buildings, a theater, hippodrome, temples and a surrounding wall. A palace was built for the Roman governor of Judea. Two aqueducts were built from the foot of the Carmel Mountains, many sections of them still visible today, including one pillar with an inscription carved by soldiers of the 10th Roman Legion. Herod named the city for the emperor Augustus and its crowning glory was the port – one of the most impressive building projects built anywhere in this period.

The Roman governor Pontius Pilate, who condemned Jesus to be executed, lived at Caesarea and a plaque bearing his name and recording a dedication he made has been found. It is the only written evidence of Pilate outside the gospels. Peter, the successor chosen by Jesus made his first direct convert to Christianity in Caesarea, of a man named Cornelius. Herod later imprisoned Peter in Jerusalem during Passover, but he escaped and made his way to Caesarea and from there he set sail for Rome and into history.

There had been endless friction between the Jews and non-Jews of Caesarea, so when the revolt against Rome erupted in 66 CE, the conflict quickly became bloody in the city. The Roman general Vespasian (later emperor) made Caesarea his base from which to launch the conquest of Jerusalem.

The remains of the town today date mainly from Crusader period. It was captured during the first Crusader campaign in 1101 and became the center of the marine transport system along the coast.

The Crusaders built and rebuilt the city´s fortifications, especially in 1249 during the campaign of Louis IX of France (who became Saint Louis after his death).

In the 1265 the Mameluk Sultan Baybars conquered Caesarea and destroyed its wall to discourage any resettlement. The city and its surroundings remained in ruins.

In the recent years efforts have been made to expose the Roman, Byzantine and Crusader parts of the city, including the eastern Crusader entrance.

The pillars of the drawbridge are well preserved the entrance gate was carved with capitals, cornices and other architectural devices that have also survived.