14 Best Things To Do In Jerusalem

Depending on who you speak to, you’ll get lots of different explanations as to why Jerusalem is so important, who the city belongs to and even what the most important place in the city is. One thing everyone can agree on though is that Jerusalem is one of the oldest and most important religious cities in the world.

Jerusalem has a history that spans across millennia, a lot of which is there to explore and experience in the city, making it not just an important spot if you’re religious but also if you have even the slightest interest in history.

One of the biggest surprises of visiting though was definitely seeing how the city’s varied history brought together three distinctly different religions and how the city is important to each one. Typically religious sites in most other places across the world tend to be more important to just one religion, not several all at once and especially so not with how important and highly revered the city is to each religion.

 

Then there’s how beautiful it is too! In some ways, it feels like walking back in time with buildings here that are thousands of years old – except, of course, updated and preserved for modern times.

Suffice to say, a visit to the city is one that you absolutely have to add to your travel plans. Oh, and while you’re here, I’d recommend getting a guide.  You can easily explore without one but there’s so much detail to the city (for instance, the Via Dolorosa below) that you might perhaps otherwise miss if you just wanted around for the first time without know where you’re going to.

Rather than carrying on about how amazing the Jerusalem is, let me show you exactly what I mean, as well as the very best things to do in Jerusalem when you visit.

1.) Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is considered to be the holiest site in the world for Christians and is reported to be built on the place that Jesus Christ was crucified, buried and resurrected.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is considered to be the holiest site in the world for Christians and is reported to be built on the place that Jesus Christ was crucified, buried and resurrected.

The building as it stands was built and destroyed several times over thousands of years with what exists now being a rather huge and impressive church.

Given its huge significance, be prepared to queue here if you want to see most of the main sights in the church with some queues lasting hours – especially so the queue to see Jesus’s tomb where he resurrected from.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is also the most important and final spot on from the Via Dolorosa pilgrimage (which I’ll explain further below).

2.) The Western Wall or The Wailing Wall

The Western Wall is actually what’s left of an ancient temple of Jerusalem and is a hugely hallowed site for people of the Jewish faith, Christians and Muslims. The wall was first constructed around 19BCE and is easily one of the oldest places to visit in Jerusalem.

When you visit, there are separate sections for men and women – with men having to cover their heads; women don’t have the same requirement though they need to cover their shoulders and legs.

There’s a whole etiquette to visiting which, while not enforced (e.g. taking a few steps away from the wall, walking backwards so you don’t turn your back to it) is greatly appreciated as this is an important and much-revered site in Jerusalem (having a guide here was invaluable because the knowledge and details provided here really helps you understand why the Western Wall is so important to so many people).

3.) The Temple Mount or Haram esh-Sharif

Haram esh-Sharif is considered to be one of the holiest sites in Jerusalem – revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims for multiple reasons. I’d attempt to go into each one but I feel like Wikipedia might best serve this purpose as it’s far too long and too detailed to get into here.

It is worth noting that this is one of the harder places to visit in Jerusalem due to its huge importance, making it reserved more for prayer than anything else.

In modern times (i.e. these days), the stunning Dome of the Rock stands proudly on this site and is the most iconic landmark in the city. The central dome of this church glitters with gold and the colorful tiled exterior walls are absolutely beautiful. 

4.) Dome of the Rock

As mentioned before, the Dome of the Rock is actually on the Temple Mount and is an intricately designed Islamic shrine, which – in addition to the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

If you want to visit, be prepared to queue as admission is only allowed in at certain times (it’s used otherwise for religious purposes) and as such, be prepared to set aside a fair bit of time to explore it properly.

5.) Armenian Quarter

Jerusalem has played host to a large Armenian community for many years and this quarter is packed full of charming ancient architecture and historical buildings.

Armenians also know quite a thing or two about pottery and ceramic works so this is a great spot to visit to grab yourself a souvenir. (By the way, there are 4 quarters in total in Jerusalem – the Armenian quarter, the Christian quarter, The Jewish quarter and the Muslim quarter).

The center of the Armenian Quarter is located on the Armenian Patriarchate Road and spreads outwards to include the churches of St. James and St. Mark. This is a fantastic part of the city that is often explored less than the more well-known sites.

6.) Via Dolorosa

 

Another hugely important site for those of the Christians the world over, the Via Dolorosa, or the Way of Sorrow is reported to follow the route that Jesus Christ took when carrying the cross to Golgotha. It follows all the 14 stations of the Cross and when you’re here, you can follow this same route, ergo why this is a hugely important site for Christian pilgrims.

On Fridays, you can actually follow a procession that is led by Franciscan monks through the Via Dolorosa. If you’re there on any other day (or to make the most of this route), it is worth having a guide who can point out each station as you go along.

7.) Christian Quarter

Situated north of the Jaffa Gate and centered around the impressive Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Christian Quarter is an absolute must.

Within the confines of this quarter is a swath of beautiful architecture from various ages, and a myriad of bustling Souks, markets, and pleasant cafes. Notable sites include the Ethiopian Monastery, the Church of St. John the Baptist and the Protestant Christ Church.

8.) The Tower of David

This complex actually has no connection to King David and is also known as the Citadel. Built in 24 BC, this ancient structure has stood proudly for thousands of years and was erected by the notorious King Herod.

Within this structure is the interesting Tower of David Museum that displays the history of the city and its evolution.

It is also possible to climb to the rooftop of the citadel for fantastic views of Jerusalem across to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. (Highly recommend it, it’s one of the best views of the city and really helps you get a sense of where everything is.)

9.) Muslim Quarter

If you are looking for a place to shop and experience local life, the Muslim quarter is one of the best places to visit. It’s perhaps the busiest of all the quarters with its bustling markets, busy restaurants and refreshing juice spots to cool off in the heat (it was sooooooo hot when we visited).

Starting at Damascus gate, the Muslim quarter is bursting with activity and is a fantastic place to find a bargain, haggle with the locals or visit the historic Pool of Bethesda.

10.) The Cardo

I was so fascinated and excited about this one as I’d just a few months before, seen the oldest mosaic map in the world (in Jordan) which referred to this spot.

The Cardo essentially was like this long as grand walkway with Roman columns adorning the path and a market bustling all around. The map in Jordan (the Madaba map) even showed the Cardo with the columns it would have had back then.

While you’re there, to get a sense of what this once bustling part of the city looked like, keep an eye out for the mural depicting the old city of Jerusalem.

11.) Jewish Quarter

The Jewish quarter is where you’ll find some of the most important spots to visit in the city e.g. Western Wall and the Cardo, amongst others.

Now while you might not necessarily notice when you switch from one quarter to another here, you do notice a big difference in how the quarters are organized. The Jewish quarter being, perhaps with the exception of the Armenian quarter (and the main sight in it – the Western Wall) being fairly quiet compared to say the busier Muslim and Christian quarters.

If you’re looking for a break from the crowds, this is easily one of the best parts of the city to explore.

12.) Mount Zion

Another hugely significant religious site, Mount Zion is the place where Christ held the Last Supper and where the Virgin Mary lived during the later years of her life. For the Jewish community, this is also the place of King David’s Tomb.

Located on this hill today is a variety of stunning shrines and churches; furthermore, you can also see the expanse of the city on a clear day.

13.) Kidron Valley

Located between Mount Zion and Mount of Olives; this is one of the most ancient parts of Jerusalem. This is the area that both Muslims and Jews believe that the Last Judgment will take place.

Archaeological excavations have found structures dating back as far as 4000 years old and various tunnels and temples are open to exploring such as Warren’s Shaft, Hezekiah’s Tunnel and the Pool of Siloam.

14.) Jaffa Gate

This ancient gate used to be one of the 7 gates into Jerusalem and is quite the architectural masterpiece to behold. It was built in the 1500s and was done in an L-shape as a defensive measure to help slow down attackers.

It’s easily one of the best things to do in Jerusalem you want to get a sense of what it looked like centuries ago and can be done either as you enter Jerusalem or indeed, as you leave.

Mihran Kalaydjian Introducing Breeze (zepur gi tarnam) Զեփյուռի նման

Mihran Kalaydjian Introducing Breeze (zepur gi tarnam) Զեփյուռի նման I seldom think about my limitations, and they never make me sad. Perhaps there is just a touch of yearning at times; but it is vague, like a breeze among flowers. When the oak is felled the whole forest echoes with it fall, but a hundred acorns are sown in silence by an unnoticed breeze.

LIKE A BREEZE

Lyrics:

I’ll be the gentlest breeze that
Descends from the mountains to rest at your door.
Like a knight seared by your love
I’ll surrender my sword at your garden’s gate.

And I’ll watch for you, night and day.
Only hurry back to your garden
So I can see your face, put my heart to rest.
Drunk with your love, I would die at your door.

Disguised as Spring I’ll enter your garden
to cling to your rose like the singing nightingale.
I’ll kneel by your door as a sacrifice for your life.
I’m your Shahen; I’ll sing you a thousand songs.

Again I’ll watch for you, night and day
Only hurry back to the garden
So I can see your face, get drunk with your love.
Put my heart to rest so I can die at your door.

Take My Heart

This is a very special piece with piano and Duduk instrument ( The Armenian duduk is one of the oldest music instruments in the history of mankind.)

 

The lyrics of this instrumental ” Take my Heart” is following:

“I wish you were a flower in my garden. I wish you were a bird flying over my garden. I wish you were with me, my love. Stay with me, don’t cause me too much pain. You may take my heart away if you wish, only please don’t leave me. Stay with me and I will do anything for you.”

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Arman Demerjian – duduk, lead vocals
Mihran Kalaydjian- Piano
Aram Kasabian – Lead Guitar
Hratch Panossian – Bass
Samer Khoury – Violin
Tony Amer – Saxophone
Haim Cohen – KeyBoard
Albert Panikian – Trumpet
Nicole Del Sol – Percussion
Dana Debos – Trombone
Roman Calote – accordion

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The duduk translates the pain and sorrow of the Armenian people and all that we went through…hearing the duduk sends shivers down my spine and through my soul, I think of my ancestors who perished during the Armenian Genocide and our lost lands…especially with “My Home”, this piece is a memorial to the Armenian Genocide, think of the Armenian families being massacred and forced from their homes onto the death marches and outright massacre.

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Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use

© 2016 Paramount Studios& Element Band All Rights Reserved

Ani Beautiful

Mihran Kalaydjian Ani Beautiful Անի գեղեցիկ
Written by Dulce K.L.
Lyrics “Ani Beautiful Անի գեղեցիկ ”
Location: La Jolla, San Diego CA

Mino Element Band Members

Aram Kasabian – Lead Guitar
Sevan Manoukian – Drummer
Hratch Panossian – Bass
Samer Khoury – Violin
Tony Amer – Saxophone
Haim Cohen – KeyBoard
Albert Panikian – Trumpet
Nicole Del Sol – Percussion
Dana Debos – Trombone

I found you in the mature season,
conversing about the posture of
October that sets the rhythm
of day and night, chill and warm.

You revealed the colors,
imbibed at your source,
assigning them roles to perform
the marriage of season and calendar.

The foliage of your character
canvassed my furtive visions,
realigning my passions
with the flow of my thoughts.

You arranged the interior of my mind
with wood and flambeaux,
rug and chandeliers,
a fireside, sputtering ancient light.

You are a mark of style!

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Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use

© 2016 Paramount Studios & Element Band All Rights Reserved

Mihran Kalaydjian Singing Never Alone Again – Winning Award Song

Mihran Kalaydjian Singing Never Alone Again 

Mihran Kalaydjian Singing Never Alone Again

Written by Armen Tasmanian & Akriti Mattu
Lyrics “Never Alone Again”
Genre: Rabiz
Year: 2014
Producer: Edward Khoury & Sami Abdo
Recording & arrangement: Paramount Studios

 

Never Alone Again
To you I give the whole me
For I believe that you’re my destiny
To you I offer every best of my heart
For I believe that you will value it

I want to share my whole life with you
For me to show that my love is true
I want to hold you in my arms
And sing you songs and lullabies

Loving you is what I want to do
Although I know that it can make me blue
Cause tears in my eyes has nothing to do
If I’m with a man that is you
© 2014 Paramount Studios& Akriti Mattu All Rights Reserved

Messig Tchouldjian – International Singer Known for h Charismatic Performance and Powerful Voice

By Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA

Consultant, Strategist, and Writer

Messig Tchouldjian is a major role player in my musical cultivation. He is integral to keeping Los Angeles and the greater Armenian Diaspora entertained for over two decades. He is also a champion for the Armenian cause, keeping the ideology of a true Armenian Hero alive within his songs.

In our household, Messig’s rhythm-filled music provided a soundtrack to my early life. Normally my father would play the vinyl records of a handful of Armenian artists. Manuel, Paul Baghdadlian, Harout Pamboukjian, Adiss Harmandian, along with a few unknown others, filled the house with music. Music plays a big role in my life to this day. Armenian music is where I got my musical roots from. I started playing piano when I was three years old, and by age fourteen I was already playing two instruments, including the guitar, and the drums. At last count, I play three today.

Just as long as I have been studying and playing music, the music of Messig Tchouldjian offers a unique blend of western musical influences, most notably the pounding drums of our early drummer, Hrair Aprahamian, and the classical Armenian tones played on instruments more common to rock bands than Armenian orchestras. This was a unique sound for its time.

He is known for his unique and powerful voice; Messig Tchouldjian is even more loved for his down-to-earth and fun-loving personality. He interacts very comfortably with guests of the resort and often churns out tune after tune for them while they enjoy their meals. The various song selections from Messig Tchouldjian add just the right Charismatic Performance flavor and are enough to satiate the guests’ musical palates, guaranteeing them the time of their lives while they dine.

Like the sun rays falling on the sea horizon and making it gold… music fell upon Vishnu in his childhood itself – Messig Tchouldjian An outstanding vocalist who has the most bewitching and captivating voice that is guaranteed to give you goose bumps.

Messig Tchouldjian gave what I can only describe as one of the finest performances I’ve ever witnessed on stage. His  was no mere act; He had fully become the character of Elle and I found myself completely drawn into his claustrophobic world.

If you ever get the chance, go and see his coming perform live – you will come away knowing that for a short time, you indeed went to a better place.”

 

 

My 2014 Oscar Mixed Review

Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA

Consultant, Strategist, and Writer

The 2014 Academy Awards have come and gone, with 24 statues passed out onstage in Los Angeles Sunday night (March 2). Now, some will say that those lucky folks who rode home in their limos clutching a little golden man at the end of the night won, but we all know the truth: trophies don’t winners make. In a night of dresses, dancing and Adele Dazim (?!), it’s what the audience thinks that really makes up a triumphant victory or devastating loss.

Not that it didn’t deserve to win, but I bet half the Academy members who voted for 12 YEARS A SLAVE never saw it.

The only other suspense of the night was whether Pharrell Williams was going to wear his hat, which tells you all you need to know about this Oscarcast.   Long, dull, and safe with some musical numbers tossed in to distinguish it from C-SPAN.

Welcome to my 18th annual bitchy-but-fair Academy Awards autopsy; helped out this year by the comedy writing team of Annie Levine & Jon Emerson.

There has been less Oscar buzz this year than any I can remember. Not surprising when a Reuters’ poll found that two-thirds of Americans have not seen ANY of the Best Picture nominees.  Of course that will all change now as throngs race to theaters to see 12 YEARS A SLAVE.

More on the show in a moment, but first – the traditional nod to the KTLA Red Carpet oozefest hosted by Sam Rubin and Jessica Holmes who now weighs less than her microphone.  Sam is the king of hyperbole.  At one point he said, “Now I’m joined by the biggest star of all, Al Roker.”   Oh well, at least he didn’t mistake him for Samuel L. Jackson.

Hey, I’m just glad he didn’t tell director, Steve McQueen that he loved him in THE GREAT ESCAPE.

Other favorite Sam moment – saying to Leonard Maltin: “Any surprises that you anticipate?”

Ellen was a big improvement over last year.  Of course, after Seth MacFarlane, Sacheen  Littlefeather could have done a better job hosting.

I thought her monologue was quite funny even if Liza Minnelli didn’t. Liza with a Z did not seem to enjoy being mistaken for a female impersonator.  She once beat the shit out of her husband for less.

Ellen’s bits with the audience were less successful. Don’t expect magic when you take selfies and pass out pizzas.   The Oscars are not the place to wing it.

Winner Jared Leto managed to acknowledge Ukrainians, AIDS victims, and his agents. As he walked to the stage I was hoping the announcer would say, “This is the fourth nomination and first Oscar win for Jesus Christ.”

Annie observed that Julia Roberts looked like she had left a napkin in the front of her dress.

Meanwhile, Pharrell Williams showed up in a tuxedo and shorts. Come on, dude. It’s the Oscars, not O.G. Mad Eye’s funeral.

Oscar drinking game: Take a swig every time someone says “journey” or “dream.” By the first J.C. Penney commercial you’ll be blitzed.

Highlight of the night was Darlene Love belting out her acceptance speech for 20 FEET FROM STARDOM. She got an impromptu standing ovation.

No standing O for Karen O however. As Jon said: “It was like open mic night at a coffee shop.” Especially when every other singer killed it.

John Travolta is now officially a moron.  He had only two things to do.  Dye his hair any color found in nature and pronounce Idina Menzel.  He could do neither. How do you get Adele Dazim from Idina Menzel? And this idiot has a pilot’s license?  Holy shit!

As expected, Idina Menzel lit up the room with “Let It Go.” Was there ever any doubt that would win Song of the Year? For one thing – people have heard of it.  Only downside:  expect it to be covered by every AMERICAN IDOL contestant for the next five years.

Chiwetel Ejjiofer, Barkhad Addi, and June Squibb lost, but I’m sure the Academy figures they’ll all be nominated many more times.

Since when does Bruce Jenner go by the name Goldie Hawn?

Women wore a lot of beaded metallics this year. Thank goodness the rain stopped. It’s hard to return gowns once they’ve rusted.

Between Anne Hathaway’s short hair and metallic breastplate, it’s like she came as Ivanhoe.

Lupita Nyong’o’s acceptance speech was lovely and heartfelt.  But too long.  And she didn’t sing it.  Did anyone else notice her play off music was from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?”

The three inevitabilities of life:  death, taxes, and Jim Carrey won’t be funny.

I think Matthew McConaughey won as much for TRUE DETECTIVES as DALLAS BUYERS CLUB. My partner, David Isaacs, said it best: He put on a shirt and became an actor.

What was with those pointless “hero” montages?  “Hero” in Hollywood is just a euphemism for “movie star.”

How to win the award for Best Editing — Cut your movie down to 90 minutes.  That’s why GRAVITY won, Marty.

BAD GRAMPA and THE LONE RANGER were pretty much shut out.  But so were AMERICAN HUSTLE and CAPTAIN PHILLIPS.

The set looked like the old Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas.

In a successful attempt to make the show gayer than the Tonys’, they saluted the 75th anniversary of WIZARD OF OZ complete with Liza Minnelli in attendance. It was also the 75th anniversary of GONE WITH THE WIND, but that would have looked like the Academy was taking the opposing view of 12 YEARS A SLAVE.

Pink did a nice job with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”  Who knew she could sing without a trapeze?  But that’s not the only song in WIZARD OF OZ.  They could have featured “If I Only Had a Brain” and had John Travolta sing it.

Ellen came out dressed as Glinda the Good Witch.  It was the first time anyone has ever seen her in a dress.

Where was Steven Spielberg to celebrate the achievements of his fellow artists?  Oh right.  He wasn’t nominated.  Not there.

Bizarre moment of the night was Liza Minnelli hugging winner Lupita Nyong’o.  Liza must’ve thought she was Diana Ross.   Or her manicurist.

Jon said this about Tyler Perry: This is the first thing he’s presented that wasn’t Tyler Perry.

Anna Kendrick, Amy Adams, Kristen Bell, and Jennifer Lawrence were beyond stunning.

When Glenn Close started her preamble to the In Memoriam segment, she seemed so uncomfortable I thought she was introducing the writing categories.

I never understand why the audience applauds during the passing parade.  It’s like when someone on Facebook posts that their mother just died and you click “like.”

How can the Academy say it’s too late to include Sarah Jones in the main body of tributes because she died two weeks ago and there was no time, yet Harold Ramis died a few days ago and he was included? Instead, they slipped her name in while going to break thus giving it the same reverence they give to promos for THE CHEW.

Bette Midler sang “Wind Beneath My Wings” but why?  It was after the In Memoriam segment. This is supposed to be a solemn tribute not the 11:00 showstopper.

It still kills me that THE INVISIBLE WOMAN was nominated for Best Costume Design.

Harrison Ford is now too old to go on the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland.

Could Charlize Theron possibly look any more bored if she was at the Aetna Insurance Actuary of the Year Awards?

Goldie Hawn introduced 12 YEARS A SLAVE with a smile so big you’d think she was announcing the Powerball Lottery winner.

Spike Jonz won for Best Original Screenplay. If they writer who is suing him for plagiarism wins, does he get an Oscar too?

Oscar nominee Julie Delphy said the Academy was ” 90 percent white men over 70 who need money because they haven’t done anything in a long time.” Shockingly, she lost. The only person in America who picked her in his Oscar pool was John Travolta.

Kim Novak will always be identified with VERTIGO. First the movie, and now it’s what you get when you see all the face work she’s had done.

I was thrilled that Cate Blanchett won.  But now that someone thanked Woody Allen again on an awards show, expect five more moral charges to surface.

As usual, the show ran way late.  But hey, we needed to see a montage of cartoon characters, Bette Midler singing an oldie, nine Best Picture nominees (with seven being schmuck bait), Ellen taking pizza orders, Twitter updates, sketches of the new motion picture museum, meeting student filmmakers, going through Lupita Nyong’o purse, and the umpteenth salute to WIZARD OF OZ.

The post Oscar parties had to be more fun. I can just imagine John Travolta approaching one of the producers of 12 YEARS A SLAVE  and saying: “So what is the movie about?”