The holy city of Jerusalem was blanketed in snow today as a winter storm battered the eastern Mediterranean.
The golden Dome of the Rock was dusted in white, with the streets below seeing as much as 8in of snow overnight.
Schools and businesses closed for the day as snow ploughs cleared streets. The hazardous conditions forced police shut the main roads into Jerusalem and major highways in the mountainous West Bank.
Heavy snowfall has caused major disruptions across the region this week, halting flights, blocking highways and causing power outages.
The Greek army and municipal crews struggled to remove hundreds of vehicles that had been stranded in snow for three days along a road linking Athens to its international airport.
During a cabinet meeting Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the prime minister of Greece, offered a “personal and sincere apology” to the stranded drivers, many of whom had been forced to spend the night in their cars.
In Istanbul, road and air traffic was returning to normal today but snow still covered swathes of the city of 16 million people.
Countless drivers had been stranded for several hours on highways around Istanbul and flights in and out of the city’s airport, one of Europe’s busiest travel hubs, had been suspended.
The snowstorm led to recriminations in Turkey, with members of President Erdogan’s government and the opposition-run municipality trading blame for the chaos while praising their own disaster management efforts.
It also rekindled debate over the location of the airport — one of Erdogan’s megaprojects — which replaced Ataturk international airport as the city’s main airport when it opened in 2019.
Critics say that its location near the Black Sea is not suitable. The new airport also has no metro service, making access difficult, and no hotels near by to accommodate stranded passengers, hundreds of whom staged a protest on Tuesday chanting: “We need a hotel!”
The airport is slowly resuming operations with hundreds of flights scheduled today.