Al-Quds (Palestine): Jerusalem and Bethlehem

Many of you know that I was lucky enough to visit Al Quds (Palestine) during my Jordan trip. We got to spend 3 days and 3 nights at this beautiful place, our hotel was located just outside the OLD CITY. I do have a fair share of knowledge on the importance of Al-Aqsa and how it is the third holiest place to many Muslims. But there was a lot I didn’t know. Like I mentioned before, I was staying on the outside walls of the Old City, so it was a bit of a walk to reach the Al-Aqsa Complex (Masjid Al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock). As we leave the hotel we see a giant wall built by the Ottomans which goes all the all the way around and in the center you have the Al-Aqsa Complex. With in these walls there are cobbled streets, door arches, people’s homes, markets and plenty of locked metal doors. I very much enjoyed this walk, felt like I was in Game of Thrones 😆 or living in the past. It was beautiful in its own way.  As the walk through the Old city came to an end and I had entered the complex, at high gaze I saw a bright gold dome.

I came to a halt, and this is the moment where my breath was taken away. Through the pale limestones, an empty courtyard (could not process the people walking passed), almost green trees, peaking through the arches was the bright blue and gold Dome of the rock. It was huge!  As we got closer, I could not take my eyes off this emblematic architectural monument (tripped a few times), especially its mosaic tiles (future home decor thoughts already running through my head). It was just so bright! Beaming sun bouncing off the shiny limestone to the gold dome. All the colors were so vivid and Surah Yaseen was written across the monument. All of these characteristics endured throughout Islamic Art…but wait till you see the detailing inside the Dome.

We had made our way to Masjid Al-Aqsa for Salat, it was so peaceful and I was about to set foot in to another work of Islamic Art. Some parts were already damaged by the Israeli troops but there are some parts that has such beauty that it can’t be taken away. High ceilings which are designed all differently with such detail that no ceiling is the same, the tall marble pillars and traditional chandeliers.

dsc03789View of Dome of the Rock, taken from the door of Masjid AL-AQSA

dsc03771One of the doors of Masjid Al-Aqsa
 dsc03829Part of the ceiling of Masjid Al-Aqsa

dsc04002Dome of the Rock

dsc03997Inside of the Dome of the Rock

dsc04023dsc04031Cloak by MK


Cloak by MK

Miriam, the owner of Cloak by MK, who I’ve from my Uni days is a very sweet soul. She kindly sent me this Cloak and it worked out to be perfect timing as I was searching for something like this for the HOT weather. I couldn’t be more proud of her for setting up this small business of hers, and I’m all about supporting local businesses especially when it’s from someone you know, it means a lot more and adds that finishing touch. From the cut to the stitching and its soft flowy material was just perfect. It has a small tie inside the cloak to keep it secure and also comes with a belt to tie across the cloak (my favorite part) and a black matching hijab. You can find her on Instagram @cloakbymk, and she has recently come out with a new collection so be sure to check her out!

Hebron and Bethlehem

We also visited Hebron, mainly to visit a ceramic plate factory. And BOY! did I go crazy (again future home ideas going through my head). Me being me, I wanted to be a tad nosy to see how they are made and where they are painted so while everyone goes in to the store I end up in the back office and a older man is sat painting the outer black lines and in the next room were two women finishing off the painting using colors. They were kind enough to allow me to take pictures ☺️ and didn’t mind me barging in 😂

On one of the days we visited Bethlehem, Central of the West Bank, mainly because we can sing our carols 😂 ‘Siiiiiilent night, Hoooooly night’. The entry to the Church of Nativity was a small doorway where you have to bend completely to enter. It’s either there way of us bowing down to their Lord 😑 or I read some story online that its was to prevent horses and carriages coming inside. Anyways we walked in and got a special tour from the Chief of something something. A nice man who guided us to a another small doorway that lead us to Isa/Jesus (PBUH) birthplace, where Marriam/ Mary rested and also the spots where many scriptures of the Bible were written. Something I didn’t know about the Church of Nativity is that there were 3 rival christianity groups running 3 separate churches within one church. Greek Orthodox, Armenian Christians (The priest was a tad grumpy and wasn’t too happy to see us and tried to SHUUU us away.. Cheeky) and Roman Catholic Church.

dsc03845 West Bank

Hebron Ceramic Factory

dsc03910 dsc03934Palestine: Bethlehem, West Bank. The Church of Nativity

dsc03945Going down to visit the birthplace of Isa / Jesus (PBUH)
    dsc04067View of the Old city walls around the Al-Aqsa Complex, built by the Ottomans.

Apologies if it was a lengthy one, I always have so much to express and say. I throughly enjoyed writing this post as it took me down memory lane and reminisce my stay in Palestine. Lets continue to remember and pray for the people in Palestine and the rest of the world.

Mansur x