One of the most beautiful and unique features of Jerusalem is the stones from which it is built. Nowhere else in the world, including Israel, will you find its unique building style.
The houses are built of carved Jerusalem stones that add to the city’s unforgettable character and color.
In my opinion, the inspiration for this style comes from the Western Wall – the only wall left standing from the Second Temple – a wall built of breathtaking, huge stones, wonderful in their texture, and in the sense of holiness they convey. Today, the crevices between its stones overflow with prayers on little paper notes, which people place there to create a conversation with God – to thank Him, and ask for a blessing from Him.
The inspiration for covering Jerusalem’s buildings with stone comes also from the Old City wall built entirely of Jerusalem stones. Jerusalem, although today a sprawling metropolis, is first and foremost the Old City and its walls.
In the mid 1800s when they first began to build outside the protective perimeter wall of the Old City – the “western” neighborhoods – it was customary not to build houses above the height of the Old City wall. Indeed, on a trip to Jerusalem you can still find the charming low buildings that characterize the “new” city and make it what it is.
The buildings are all built of “Jerusalem stone” in its various shades. There are creamy, reddish and grey stones – all from the surrounding areas. As one born and raised in Jerusalem, I have become spoiled by these stones and fallen in love with their appearance. Jerusalem is an integral part of my essence.
When I started traveling to other countries, I noticed that wherever I met stone buildings that reminded me of Jerusalem, I got a sense of home.
Unfortunately, today things have changed. In Jerusalem, contractors are already building tall buildings, and the authorities have become less strict about the unique Jerusalem stone facades. Those who know Jerusalem can feel how the “color” of the city is gradually changing. It is painful to me personally.
There are quite a few Israeli poems and songs that mention Jerusalem stone, which is the most ancient visual memory of the spiritual history of the city – connecting us without us even noticing, to something of the atmosphere of “Shekinah” and sanctity that exists in the city. One of them says of the Western Wall:
“Some people have a heart of stone;
“Some stones have a human heart.”
Have a happy and meaningful Jerusalem Day.
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