Holiness is perhaps an under-rated quality in a hotel. What with the worldly trappings of room service, valet parking and chocolates on pillows – not to mention the Satanic temptation of mini-bars – they are normally unabashed temples of fleshly delights.

The Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem, however, is different. Don’t get me wrong: as a cornucopia of indulgence, with a spa, pool, sundeck, exquisite restaurants and winery, it is hardly a sackcloth-and-ashes sort of dive.

But the Mamilla is just a stone’s throw from the Old City. Step out of the expansive, air-conditioned foyer into the bright sunshine, nod to the attentive doormen, wander for five minutes through ancient, butter-coloured stone walkways, and you will find yourself standing at what millions believe is the holiest site on earth.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Western Wall, the hotel seems to say (you can see the Old City from the roof terrace). As the last remaining wall of the Second Temple, this is the most sacred location for Jews.

The Dome of the Rock, just behind the wall, is the third-holiest place for Muslims, on account of Mohammad using it as a starting point for his ascent to heaven.

The Old City is also home to the cavernous Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is said to lie on the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and to contain the tomb from which he resurrected.

A day’s sightseeing is easily swallowed up in the ancient alleyways. Tourists can visit the Western Wall and Dome of the Rock compound most days, but check that there aren’t any demonstrations or festivals going on.

Original Source

 

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