While many of us cannot even think about setting foot in Israel, a Pakistani-American woman has realised her dream of visiting Jerusalem’s holy sites.

Washington-based journalist Madeeha Anwar Chaudhry harboured a longstanding desire to visit the city because of her father. “My dad was an avid traveler who was extremely keen on visiting Jerusalem. He couldn’t because he had a Pakistani passport,” she told The Express Tribune.

Soon after her visit, Chaudhry posted over 70 pictures on Facebook featuring a number of sacred sites. Her travel photo album A visit to the ‘Forbidden Land’ (Israel & Palestine) has garnered over 19,000 likes from people the world over. Talking about her father, who passed away in 2014, she said he would have been ecstatic had he lived “to see this day”.

Upon emigrating to the United States, Chaudhry said, she had vowed to visit the fabled city as soon as she obtained an American passport. “A few months after becoming a US citizen, I visited Israel and prayed at Masjid-e-Aqsa, Dome of the Rock and explored the old streets of Jerusalem,” she said.

Chaudhry said she had come to realise that Jerusalem residents — Jews, Christians and Muslims associated distinct stories with the  city. This, she said, was emblematic of the “unique and sacred” connection they had with the promised land.

“I felt the force of history in Bethlehem, Hebron, the Dead Sea area and Jericho — places steeped in antiquity. I got to interact with locals of all Abrahamic faiths,” Chaudhry said.

“It was amazing to be somewhere so far removed from most Pakistanis,” she said. A former Express Newsstaffer, Chaudhry is currently associated with Voice of America Urdu. She is penning a travelogue documenting her visit to the promised land.

Here is a pictorial glimpse to her tour to the “forbidden land”:

Chaudhry at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

An inside view of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

A pulpit in Al-Aqsa Mosque. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

An inside view of Al-Aqsa Mosque. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Chaudhry inside Al-Aqsa Mosque. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

An interior shot of the dome of Al-Aqsa Mosque. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

An exterior shot of Al-Aqsa Mosque. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

View of Dome of the Rock from Al-Aqsa Mosque. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Women entering Dome of the Rock for Friday prayers. PHOTO: FACEBOOK

The foundation stone in Dome of the Rock from where, it is believed, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) ascended to the heavens on Shab-e-Mairaj. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

The bottom of the foundation stone opens into a small room where Muslims pray. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Chaudhry sits in the room under the foundation stone in Dome of the Rock. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

An inside view of Dome of the Rock. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

An outside view of Dome of the Rock. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Chaudhry outside Dome of the Rock. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Chaudhry at the Israeli West Bank Barrier in Bethlehem. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Chaudhry outside Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Chaudhry inside Church of the Nativity. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

At the Milk Grotto Chapel in Bethlehem. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

A view of a street in Bethlehem. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

A Christmas tree outside Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Falafel, traditional Middle Eastern food, being prepared in Bethlehem. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Falafel, a traditional Middle Eastern food. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

$100 conversion to 370 Israeli Shekels. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

An outside view of the Mosque of Prophet Yunus (AS) located in Halhul, 5 kilometres north of Hebron (al-Khalil). PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Symbolic tomb of Prophet Yunus (AS) in Hebron. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Tomb of Sara (Prophet Ibrahim’s wife) at Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Tomb of Prophet Ishaq (AS) in Hebron, Palestine. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Tomb of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) in Hebron, Palestine. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Cenotaph of Prophet Ibrahim (AS). PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Kunafa, a Middle Eastern cheese pastry soaked in sweet, sugar-based syrup, at Hebron. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Madeeha Anwar Chaudhry at Yardenit, Jesus Baptism Site, along the Jordan River in the Galilee region of northern Israel. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Yardenit Baptismal Site along the Jordan River in Galilee region of northern Israel. Christians believe Jesus was baptised here. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

An outside view of Prophet Musa (AS) Mosque. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

An inside view of Prophet Musa’s (AS) tomb. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Chaudhry at the border region between Israel and Palestine in Almog. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Chaudhry at Jericho. Located near the Jordan River in the West Bank, Jericho is believed to be one of the oldest inhabited cities of the world. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Chaudhry at the Dead Sea, Israel. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Dead Sea, Israel. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

A roadside vendor sells Jerusalem Bagels outside Al-Aqsa Mosque after Friday prayers in Jerusalem. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

A view of Dome of the Rock and Dome of Al-Aqsa Mosque from Mount of the Olives in Jerusalem. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

An outside view of Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Old Jerusalem. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

The Stone of Anointing, inside Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which tradition believes to be the spot where Jesus’ body was prepared for burial by Joseph of Arimathea. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

An inside view of Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Old Jerusalem, Israel. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Chaudhry inside Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Old Jerusalem. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

An inside view of Church of Virgin Mary in Old Jerusalem. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Entrance of the WesternWall (Wailing Wall) in Old Jerusalem. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

A view of Western Wall in Old Jerusalem. The Western Wall is considered holy due to its connection to the Temple Mount. Because of the status quo policy, the Wall is the holiest place where Jews are permitted to pray, though it is not the holiest site in the Jewish faith, which lies behind it. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Jewish men pray at the Western Wall on Sabbath, a day of religious observance and abstinence from work, kept by Jews from Friday evening to Saturday evening. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Jewish men pray at the Western Wall on Sabbath, a day of religious observance and abstinence from work, kept by Jews from Friday evening to Saturday evening. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar

Chaudhry stands outside the Western Wall. Dome of Al-Aqsa Mosque can be seen in the background. PHOTO COURTESY: facebook.com/MadeehaAnwar