‘I feel like I’m walking in a sea of stars’: An Iranian man’s journey to Jerusalem
The journey to the Old City in Iran has been a long one for Mohammad Khomeini.
It began in the late 1960s with the founding of the Islamic Republic of Iran and then came to an end when the country was split into two in 1980.
In the years since, the streets of Tehran have been lined with thousands of tourists, many of whom have come to experience the historic city, and a number of foreign embassies and consulates have sprung up.
But it was not until a few years ago that Khomeinis journey into the Holy Land became a reality.
In the year since, his family, friends and acquaintances have traveled to Jerusalem from across the world, bringing back memories of his time there, as well as his love for the city and its people.
He said he was overwhelmed with the support he has received from strangers, and has even been approached by people from different countries in hopes of meeting him.
“I feel that I am walking in the sea of starry nights, and I can see that the sun is shining,” he said, adding that the people who come to visit him are amazed at the sights that are presented to them.
“We don’t see much of Jerusalem, but we do see it through the eyes of the tourists who come here.”
Khomeini said that when he visited the Old Jerusalem, it was the first time that he had been to the city as a tourist.
He said that it is a city that he enjoys visiting and has been to many places, including the Dome of the Rock and the Haram al-Sharif, the Prophet Mohammed’s Mosque.
The city has many sights to see, including some that he has only glimpsed on TV, such as the ancient Jewish cemetery that he said he could not find anywhere else in the world.
He also had the pleasure of meeting the Jewish Quarter’s famous street hawkers, who, he said with a laugh, were the ones who brought him his first souvenir from his trip to the Middle East.
“When I came to visit, the Jewish quarter was packed with people, and it was very crowded, so I thought that it would be better to take a walk in the neighborhood, so the hawkers could help me,” he added.
Komeini and his wife, Ghazal, have a son and a daughter who are both studying in Saudi Arabia, and he is now going to visit his wife’s parents in Saudi to meet her parents.
“They are very busy, so we are staying with them,” he told The Jerusalem Times.
“I am going to have my son learn to drive, so he will have the opportunity to be a professional driver.”
As a visitor, Khomeim said that he would like to visit the Jewish Temple and the Jewish cemetery, but he also plans to visit some of the historic sites that were built during the Ottoman era.
He is hoping that this visit will also bring him new memories of Jerusalem and the Holy City, and hopefully inspire him to return.
“This is something I am really looking forward to,” he remarked.
“Maybe one day I will return and be able to see Jerusalem for myself.”
Komeim, who was born in Iran, said that his visit to the Holy Place has brought him new love for Iran and a newfound appreciation for his home country.
“My family is very proud of the city, which is what is so unique in the Middle Eastern region,” he commented.
“There are some very beautiful sights, and we have been able to meet many people.
It’s a very special experience for us.”
He said that this time around, the trip will be much more special for him.
“This time, it will be the first trip I have ever made to the Islamic holy city.
We will take pictures and learn about the city,” he joked.”
It will be our first time seeing the city’s landmarks, and the feeling of the atmosphere will be different,” he concluded.
“It is going to be an amazing experience.”
Follow Miriam Kramer on Twitter: @mikael_kramer