Jerusalem Then and Now: A Photographic Journey

Tags: Nationalism, Bible, Land and Nature, History, Jerusalem, Religion

By Noam Chen

Israel is about to mark what I believe is one of the country’s most important national days: Jerusalem Day.

Jerusalem Day commemorates the unification of the city in 1967 under Israeli sovereignty, when IDF soldiers liberated the Old City from Jordanian occupation. Only then were Israelis able to return to the holiest place on earth for the Jewish people, the Western Wall, after 20 years during which they had been denied access to the site.

I decided to celebrate 48 years of the unification in a special way, by inviting you to join me on a journey through time in Jerusalem - a journey in photos.

Recently, a rare collection of photographs was unveiled by the U.S. Library of Congress, uncovering some stunning scenes from Jerusalem during the 19th and early 20th centuries. I selected 25 of these amazing early photographs of the city, and compared them with photos from my own collection. Some were taken from the very same angle, others from a similar point of view, but all of them show remarkable differences and similarities alike. Witness what these 100+ years have done to Jerusalem and how, while becoming more advanced and developed, the historical character of the Holy City remains intact just as it has for thousands of years.

Damascus Gate, 1890

One of Jerusalem’s most beautiful gates, built in 1537 under the rule of the Ottoman Empire.

Damascus Gate, today

The Western Wall, 1898

Notice that some stones contained writings in Hebrew, believed to be the work of visitors who wanted to commemorate their names upon the wall.

The Western Wall, today.

With time, the writings had faded and were replaced by a new tradition of placing notes in between the stones. Nowadays, there are separate praying spaces for men and women.

David Citadel, 1898 

The citadel dates back to the Mamluk era and was built on the site of an earlier fortification erected by King Herod.

David Citadel, today

The Tower of David, c. 1930s

Entrance to the Tower of David Museum, today

The Tower of David Museum was opened in 1989 and contains archeological ruins dating back some 2,700 years.

The Garden Tomb, 1898

Discovered only in 1867, the Garden Tomb is considered by some Christians to be the site of burial and resurrection of Jesus.

The Garden Tomb, today

Click HERE for the rest of the collection.

Born in 1982 in Northern Israel, Noam Chen lives and works today in Tel Aviv. Noam specializes in Landscape and Portraits. Noam’s work has been published in newspapers and magazines in Israel, the UK, Canada and the USA, among which is The National Geographic. For more of Israel’s amazing landscapes visit Noam's website, or join him on Facebook.

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Tags: Nationalism, Bible, Land and Nature, History, Jerusalem, Religion