After days of intensive song rehearsals, media editing and jam sessions, the time had come: it was time to take a closer look at Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, to experience its history first hand and to trace its religious and spiritual background. Some prepared, others less, we chugged towards the center first thing in the morning, where we started our tour with city guide Dima at Jaffa Gate, one of the eight city gates of the small Old City.
On the way through the Christian quarter, surrounded by ancient stone walls and glimpses of winding alleys full of oriental clay vases, we had to be careful when crossing into the Muslim part of town. Crowds of people were everywhere, pushing through the narrow passageways past colorful market stalls. We had landed in the middle of the Muslim fasting period of Ramadan and felt the hectic tension of many believers who still wanted to rush to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in time for the noon prayer.
Through the Damascus Gate, also an archaeological site, we reached an Islamic cemetery near the Olive Hill. Along partially decayed stone tombs and mighty temple walls, we strolled downhill, accompanied by the resounding sound of Arabic prayer formulas. Following a narrow path south of the Temple Mount, we then reached the City of David, the oldest populated part of Jerusalem.
Finally, we found ourselves in the heart of the Jewish Quarter, a part of significant history and associated tradition. Unique synagogues, picturesque streets and a deep harmony with Jewish culture enchanted us like a journey through time. As a crowning finale, we finally reached the Western Wall, with which we had already been allowed to come into contact another day during a walk. Many Jews see this as a symbol of the eternal covenant and as the holiest place for prayers. Also for us it was something special to have been there a second time and thus our excursion found a harmonious end.
One evening the time had finally come: our big gig was just around the corner! Already in the afternoon, all the hardworking people were busy setting up the stage, doing check- ups for sound and technology and making our music troupe look fabulous with a few styling tricks. As soon as the last preparations were done, curious audience started to arrive in a cozy evening atmosphere and enjoyed the extraordinary atmosphere. To top it off, our group performed together the two songs we had written as the goal of our project and as a dedication to Holocaust Remembrance Day. What unforgettable moments!
Ph: Bojan Lacmanović
Text: Ninika Schrey