The holidays mean bells are ringing in Christendom's holiest places, which means it’s the perfect time to check out Jerusalem and more of the world's great religious cities on the Explorer.
JERUSALEM: Our first stop is one that is important to many of the world's religions. Considered a holy place to Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike, Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world, dating back to about 4000 BC.
According to the Hebrew Bible, King David first established it as the capital of Israel in 1000 BC. Christians believe Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem. Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammed visited Jerusalem. It's also culturally rich. The Israel Museum attracts about a million visitors a year with ancient artifacts including the Dead Sea Scrolls.
MECCA: Mecca in Saudi Arabia is awash in history and architectural splendor, Mecca is the holiest city in Islam and the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad. More than 15 million Muslims make an annual pilgrimage there and it can be traced back to 2,000 BC when Abraham and his son Ishmael built the Kaaba, which is now the most sacred of all sites in Islam.
LHASA: Located in Tibet, Lhasa translates to "place of the gods," and with its above-the-clouds location, the nickname fits. At an altitude of 11,450 feet, it's one of the highest cities in the world. Tibet's leaders including the Dalai Lamas breathed its air from the 1600s until the Chinese invaded and the current Dalai Lama fled into exile in 1959. Lhasa has many shrines, temples and places of worship, including the Jokang.
Peace on earth and blessings to all on The Explorer.