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10 Best Attractions In Jerusalem

Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world and certainly one of the most sacred places in the world to the three major religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The old city of Jerusalem is protected by city walls that date back to the 16th century, when Jerusalem was under the regime of the Ottoman empire. These walls were built over previous walls that protected the city since ancient times. Within the old city you’ll find holy places like the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and more. Jerusalem is a place of political controversy: it is Israel’s capital city and the seat of the Israeli parliament, but it’s also claimed to be the capital of the state of Palestine

1. The Western Wall – The Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall is a famous Jewish religious site. The wall dates from the end of the Second Temple period, being constructed around 19 BC by Herod the Great. The wall was the western wall of the temple. In Judaism, the Western Wall is venerated as the sole remnant of the Holy Temple, making it the holiest place for Jewish people and one of the most visited attraction in Israel

Best Attractions In Jerusalem: The Western Wall

Best Attractions In Jerusalem: The Western Wall (source: Golasso)

 

2. Church of the Holy Sepulchre – Also called the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, or the Church of the Resurrection, this world famous church within the Christian Quarter of the old city of Jerusalem. The site is located on the Hill of Calvary (Golgotha) where Jesus was believed to be crucified, and is said also to contain the place where Jesus was buried (the Sepulchre). For many Christians the site is the most important pilgrimage destination since even before the 4th century

Best Attractions In Jerusalem: Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Best Attractions In Jerusalem: Church of the Holy Sepulchre (source: Berthold Werner)

 

3. Temple Mount and Dome Of The Rock – The Dome of the Rock is one of the first and most familiar achievements of Islamic architecture, as it was completed in 691 AD. The Dome of the Rock is not a mosque, but rather a shrine which protects beneath its high ceiling, a sacred rock. The Dome is probably the most spectacular building in the Old City and one of the most famous domes in the world. It is topped with a dazzling golden dome visible from afar, the interior layered with glittering ceramics, mosaics and Arabic calligraphy. The Dome Of The Rock is located on Temple Mount, one of the most contested religious sites in the world (see in the previous photo of the western wall how close the different attractions are). The Israeli government does not allow Jews to access Temple Mount without special authorization due to the explosive nature any minor provocation might have

Best Attractions In Jerusalem: Temple Mount and Dome Of The Rock

Best Attractions In Jerusalem: Temple Mount and Dome Of The Rock (source: Idobi)

4. City of David and Hezekiah’s Tunnel – The city of David is within the old city, and is the city that King David made the capital of his kingdom. You can take a guided tour in the site and walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel (Siloam tunnel) – dark water tunnels cut in limestone that brought water to the city. These tunnels still have running water today, so be ready to walk about 45 minutes in water up to your knees. The tunnel brought the water of the Gihon Spring to the Siloam Pool inside the walls of the city

Best Attractions In Jerusalem: Hezekiah’s Tunnel

Best Attractions In Jerusalem: Hezekiah’s Tunnel (source: Tamar Hayardeni)

 

5. Yad Vashem – Yad Vashem is the largest Holocaust museum and memorial in the world. It was established in 1953, with a new part of the museum opened in 2005. There are numerous exhibition halls within its dramatic central triangular structure. No visit to Jerusalem is complete without it

Yad Vashem Hall of Names

Yad Vashem Hall of Names (source: David Shankbone)

 

6. Mahane Yehuda Market – Mahane Yehuda Market is the most popular market in Jerusalem. This is a great place to wonder around, enjoy the people and the special atmosphere, and of course try the local cuisines of the city. The market features over 250 vendors that sell just about everything:  from all kinds of food, spices, and wines to clothing, shoes and even Judaica

Best Attractions In Jerusalem: Mahane Yehuda Market

Best Attractions In Jerusalem: Mahane Yehuda Market

 

7. Tower of David – The Tower of David, or the Jerusalem Citadel, is an ancient citadel located near the Jaffa Gate entrance to the old city. The citadel was built to protect the city from the west, and is located at the highest point of the old city. Despite its name, there’s absolutely no connection between king David and the citadel. The current citadel is from the Mamluk and Ottoman periods, but previous fortification stood on these grounds for more than 2000 years ago. The site contains important archaeological finds that date back even to the First Temple period. Today the citadel holds the Tower of David Museum which depicts the 4,000 years history of Jerusalem

Best Attractions In Jerusalem: Tower of David

Best Attractions In Jerusalem: Tower of David

 

8. Israel Museum – Founded in 1965, the national museum of Israel is the largest cultural institution in the country. The museum holds more than 500,000 objects in its different departments of Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Jewish Art and Life. The museum holds the largest collection of biblical archaeology in the world. Learn more about the city from a 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem in 66 CE – just before the destruction of the second Temple. Be sure to visit the Shrine of the Book which holds the Dead Sea Scrolls and other findings from Masada. The museum is conveniently located near Knesset (Israeli parliament) and the Hebrew University

The scale model of Jerusalem in 66 CE, Israel Museum

The scale model of Jerusalem in 66 CE, Israel Museum (source: 9old9)

The Shrine of the Book in Israel Museum

The Shrine of the Book in Israel Museum

9. Panoramic views of the city – Whenever I’m visiting a new city, I always try to find the best viewing point over the entire city. It could be from a tall tower, or from a hill within or outside the city. The panoramic view of Jerusalem is breathtaking and helps to better understand both the cultural and political debates over the city. Here are a few places with great view over the city:

Tower of David – From the top of the Herodian tower in the Tower of David mentioned before

Austrian Hospice -The Austrian Hospice is a 19th century Via Dolorosa

Church of the Redeemer – Climb up the bell tower of this 19th century church

Armon Hanatziv (East Talpiot) walkway – Located in south – east Jerusalem, in East Talpiot neighborhood, this walkway offers great panoramic view over the city

View of the old city from East Talpiot walkway

View of the old city from East Talpiot walkway

 

10. Enertainment and shopping: Mamilla mall & The First Station – Enjoy some shopping in an historic atmosphere. Mamilla Mall is an open-air mall located near the walls of the old city. The mall contains 140 stores, restaurants, and cafes. The First Station is the first railway station that opened in Jerusalem in 1892. The long neglected station reopened in 2013 as a culture and entertainment center. It features wooden decks, food stalls, some restaurants and pubs, as well as an exhibition of historic photographs of the station

Mamilla mall with the walls of the old city in the background

Mamilla mall with the walls of the old city in the background (source: Navot Miller)

 

You can also visit Montefiore Windmill – a beautiful and restored 19th century windmill with a wonderful view over the city, the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo – a zoo with a wonderful collection of wildlife featured in the bible, and more

      

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