Markar Esayan’s Jerusalem

MARKAR ESAYAN PUBLISHED HIS THIRD NOVEL, JERUSALEM, IN THE LAST FEW MONTHS. WE TALKED WITH HIM ABOUT THE CITY THAT FORMS THE SETTING FOR HIS BOOK.

What does Jerusalem mean to you?
Jerusalem is a city that mocks the truth of the world. If New York is a city that stands for a humanism that puts the mind at the center of everything, then Jerusalem is its diametric opposite.

What should one do before going to Jerusalem?
Read up a little on the history of religion first. If you don’t study in advance, you won’t be able to see Jerusalem with that eye.

What should a person going to Jerusalem have in his suitcase?
He should have a canteen because it’s very hot.

What would you recommend to people who are traveling to Jerusalem?
Israel is full of places to see, but Jerusalem itself is more than enough in any case. One should definitely stroll through the old city step by step. There are many holy places there representing the three Abrahamic religions. It’s a magical city.

What are the itineraries to follow and the must-see spots?
Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dead Sea, Jericho. The Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross) down which Jesus trod on his way to be crucified, Jacob’s Well.

How would you describe the impression Jerusalem left on you?
A person goes back thousands of years ago. But he also goes to what came later.

1   The Mosque of Omar, one of the symbols of Jerusalem.
2   The Chapel of the Ascension, where Jesus is believed to have ascended to heaven.
3    The Wailing Wall, sacred to Jews.
4    The Church of the Dormition, a Roman Catholic place of worship.