The Holy Land in pictures:
Nowhere on earth is more sanctified than the segment of the Middle East known as the Holy Land. In this sacred land, the main monotheistic faiths (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) believe, God entered into a relationship with the human race.
In this land lie the ruins of the world’s oldest civilizations. Its strategic location, at the junction of Africa, Asia and Europe, made it a corridor between East and West — and a much-trampled prize for conquering armies. Much blood has been spilt on its holy ground.
For Christians, the Holy Land is where Jesus lived, proclaimed his Gospel, performed miracles, was crucified and rose from the dead. From early times, the followers of Jesus venerated places associated with him, foremost among them the cave at Bethlehem and the Holy Sepulcher.
For Muslims, veneration of Jerusalem as a holy place goes back to Prophet Muhammad, who prayed facing Jerusalem before he was inspired to turn toward Mecca. He called Jerusalem “the Holy City”. Muslims believe Muhammad visited the rock of the Al Aqsa Mosque during his night journey on the winged steed al-Burak in 620.