I recently published a post about the Old City of Jerusalem. This was a post, which is part of a "project" called Holyland Captured. With this project I want to share stories and impressions of what is known as "the Holy Land", more precisely the area covering modern day Israel, Palestine, southern Lebanon, western Jordan, and south-western Syria. Or, because of unfortunate circumstances, it will mostly be focused on those areas within the Holy Land, which I can access relatively freely and without endangering myself.
It will be a story about the history, lives of the people living here, and of events unfolding.
This will be a story about a land, which has been contested for millennia. A land, which even in our days, wake the most intense religious feelings, causing strife, conflict, and war. But also a land, which is the focus for people the world over, gathering cultures, ideas, and hopes for something better to come for all.
Of course, today we know the Holy Land as either Israel or Palestine, if we dont recognize both as two separate entities, still being placed in what is considered the Holy Land. But this land, which is home to some of the oldest known cities, and even older human settlements, and which is central in many stories of the holy texts of the three major Abrahamic religions, has been known by many names and split in many different portions, whether it being the twelve tribes of the Israelites, the Roman districts, or Muslim junds. But most importantly, these lands have always been home to people, whose own stories formed small parts of a larger story of war and peace, love and hate, the divine and the ordinary.
There is no definite border for the Holy Land. The size has always been changing, the idea of it depending on the times, and who was in power.
So what makes the Holy Land holy? There are of course the legends of three religions, which insist on the particularity of the land, being chosen by God for special purposes. For the Jews it is the land which was promised them, and where God would rest, in a Temple where the Jews should bring sacrifices and offerings. For the Christians it is the land, where the Savior is born and was resurrected. For the Muslims it is the third holiest place, where Muhammed went up to heaven.
But that seems to be secondary to the holiness of the land. Rather than the claims of the religions, I would claim that it is the history of the land. The constant centrality in the development of history, or rather, a land where history is being lived at every moment. It is the ideas about the land, which make it holy, more an anything else.
I hope that you will join me and enjoy this trip to one of the most famous and infamous places on this earth.