It’s one of the rare years that Ramadan, Passover, and Easter coincide, so it feels appropriate to take a look at the city where the three big faiths collide. Often, and unfortunately this year, somewhat literally. And who better to calmly and thoroughly guide us through the Old City of Jerusalem than the PNW’s own Rick Steves.

For those that have never visited the Holy Land (including this correspondent), ancient Jerusalem is TINY. The fortified campus that includes the West Wall, the Dome of the Rock, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is less than 300 acres, or just the size of Green Lake. So when Steves says it’s a ten minute walk across, he’s not kidding.

The Old City currently has about 35,000 residents, with Jerusalem city proper housing 900,000 and a metro area of 1.2 million. Estimates of Jerusalem’s first century population vary quite a bit, from Romans saying there were a million people down to minimalist scholars finding evidence for 20,000. For comparison, Seattle proper is less populated at 737,000 people (and twice the area). But our sprawling metro is 4.0 million, about the same population as the Tel Aviv metro area, on ten times the land.

A couple other interesting distances from biblical times. It’s about 65 miles from Nazareth to Jerusalem, or three days on foot for a rabbi heading downtown for the high holy days. It’s just under 300 miles, or about an 11 day walk from Egypt to Canaan. But that can grow to 40 years should the population need to be punished for unbelief, or also to shake the badges and incidents of slavery before entering the promised land.

All that’s to say that this is a pretty small space for the convergence of significant world history and a lot of heartbreak. Our American sense of space is upended when we realistically perceive the tight quarters of history. Regardless, the Old City would make for a pretty intense egg hunt. We’d only look for Whoppers Robin Eggs, which are demonstrably and objectively the best. Enjoy the holidays, all.

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Ray Dubicki is a stay-at-home dad and parent-on-call for taking care of general school and neighborhood tasks around Ballard. This lets him see how urbanism works (or doesn’t) during the hours most people are locked in their office. He is an attorney and urbanist by training, with soup-to-nuts planning experience from code enforcement to university development to writing zoning ordinances. He enjoys using PowerPoint, but only because it’s no longer a weekly obligation.