An Artery of Jerusalem: How One Old City street connects literature, murder and prime ministers

This story was originally published in  The Wayward Post. Read the full story here.

The image of a whirlpool is haltingly evocative of the Old City of Jerusalem. The Old City can sweat and whip around you. The city and its conflicts spin around and around. The whirlpool is self-sustaining and it’s hard to stay upright. A visiting outsider just gets flushed through. There are “flare-ups” in the Old City but we’ve grown used to them – despite the fact that flares are often cries of distress, from sinking ships going down.

One street in the Muslim Quarter, Taariq Al-Wad, is a nearly-straight physical line stuck through this whirlpool. Taking a moment to look down the street offers a chance to pause and focus on a single angle in the Old City.

Taariq Al-Wad is the most direct path from East Jerusalem to Al-Aqsa and the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam. The history of Taariq Al-Wad, however, touches not just religion but prime ministers, murderers and world-famous authors.

Read the rest of the story here.

A street sign in the Old City.
Jews, muslims and shoppers walk Taariq Al-Wad in the Old City.
The Wittenberg House on Taariq al-Wad. Mark Twain stayed here back when it was the Mediterranean Hotel, before Prime Minister Ariel Sharon bought an apartment in the building in the 1980s. It’s now home to Jewish Israeli residents in the Muslim Quarter.
Brined and pickled vegetables, sold by the kilogram.
The rooftops of the Old City, including the iconic Dome of the Rock.


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  1. This is too fascinating to be cut off! Can you post the whole piece here?

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