Jerusalem's iconic Old City appears deserted amid coronavirus pandemic

In the Jewish quarter, children ran in the streets and religious men and women walked briskly along the alleys.

Jerusalem's iconic Old City seems deserted amidst the coronavirus pandemic. (photo credit: SETH J. FRANTZMAN)
Jerusalem's iconic Old City seems deserted amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
(photo credit: SETH J. FRANTZMAN)
Jerusalem’s Old City was largely deserted Saturday due to coronavirus fears and lockdowns.
The Christian Quarter was the worst hit, with shops closed throughout the usually-bustling tourist markets. Restaurants were also closed and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre saw only a handful of religious visitors. The usual tourist groups were absent.
Several armed police units patrolled the shuk (market) that leads to the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa mosque but there was no visible heightened presence of security or attempts to prevent the few people who were in the city from walking around.
In the Jewish quarter, children ran in the streets and religious men and women walked briskly along the alleys. Outside the Hurva synagogue, only a few people walked back and forth with no one stopping to talk. At the Kotel, a handful of religious men and women came to pray but the usual Shabbat atmosphere was nowhere to be found.
Church bells struck the hour and birds chirped as alleys were entirely deserted. Only one tourism shop was opened and several small convenience stores. Outside the city, a tourist kiosk was abandoned. A lone police car watched people leaving New Gate by Notre Dame. Once among the largest buildings in the Holy Land, the Notre Dame and its hundreds of rooms looked over an abandoned Old City and a quiet Route One. Not since the 1950s, when an armistice like ran along the road, was this area so quiet and deserted.
Unlike the 1950s, there were no snipers staring down from the walls as this reporter made his way back in the rain from the Old City to the new one.


Tags Jerusalem