Jerusalem is a city that evokes strong emotions from representatives of all the major faiths that view the city as an important, if not pivotal, parts of their many faiths. For Jews, Christians, and Muslims the events that occurred many millennia ago in Jerusalem shaped their faiths, as well as the ancient world, and today we still feel the reverberations of that history.
But what of the modern Jerusalem? Exploring this ancient city which has now been transformed into a modern metropolis is nothing short of fascinating. The fusion between the old and the new attracts visitors from all over the world. Many are interested in the origins of religion, while others want to immerse themselves in ancient history—but all are captivated by the city and its walls made from the iconic Jerusalem Stone.
Navigating the Streets of the Ancient City
Individuals are exposed to a sometimes confusing hubbub of noise and activity as they navigate the narrow streets of the Old City and explore the chic restaurants where locals and visitors alike gather to socialize. The sandstone buildings share ground with modern dwellings and delights from antiquities to street food beckon from almost every corner.
However, navigating the ancient streets and the modern thoroughfares provides an experience that simply cannot be matched by any city in the world, an experience which is further highlighted by the smells of the city. This is a city that is filled with history and the markets that are such a large part of life in the city mesmerize with their many smells that seem to bring ancient days alive.
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Imagine the porters who carry freshly baked bread in the Jewish Quarter and the smell of Za’atar in the market with aromatic ingredients including thyme, marjoram, and oregano, all mixed with sesame seeds and salt to create the perfect spread for those freshly baked loaves.
Exploring deeper into the marketplaces offers spice stalls, as well as luxuries and necessities from all over the Middle East. This is the melting pot of cultures that makes Jerusalem one of the most important trading posts in the world. And the smell of this fusion captures the varied tastes and cultures of the Middle East exquisitely.
Even one of the newer markets, Mahane Yehuda Market, known locally as “The Shuk” is an absolute delight to the olfactory senses. The dried and powdered fruits of the Sumac plant take up many of the market’s stalls, filling the air with the scent of the spice central to Middle Eastern cuisine.
Jerusalem and Frankincense Essential Oil
However, even when traveling from market to market, or upon leaving the city, there is one scent that immediately takes me back to dusty, aromatic streets of this ancient city: frankincense and its essential oil. This essential oil boosts immune system function, holds anti-aging properties, and maintains oral health.
For those who yearn to see the setting sun reflected off the stone walls of the ancient city or for those who long to return, frankincense essential oil has the power to take you back to those busy, beautiful, and ancient streets.