Jerusalem has had inhabitants since the 4th millennium BCE. This makes it one of the oldest cities in the world.
It is also unique for being a holy site for Christians, Muslims, and Jews. But, even secular people will have an amazing time visiting the ancient city.
If you’re off to Jerusalem, you might want a head’s up to some of the city’s highlights. Although there is something for everyone in Jerusalem, will give you some of our favorites.
Read on for some Jerusalem attractions you won’t want to miss!
1. The Old City
You can’t go to Jerusalem and miss the Old City. You’ll feel like you stepped into the city’s ancient past as you wander along its alleyways.
This area is unique because it contains major holy sites for all three Abrahamic religions. You can see The Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Even if you’re not religious, the sites are still well worth a visit for their history and architecture alone.
2. Tower of David Museum
If you’re a history fiend, you’ll absolutely love the Tower of David Museum. During your visit, you’ll get swept away with interactive media exhibits that detail the city’s expansive history. The museum includes models and illustrations to bring history to life. You can even climb the tower to observe how the city is merging the old ways with modernity.
3. Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem is a must-visit for anyone who wishes to pay their respects to the 6 million Jews that perished in the Shoah. Although the Holocaust occurred in Europe, Yad Vashem remains the biggest repository of information on the genocide today. It stands as a testament to the ability of the Jews to rebuild and prosper after this brutal time in history.
In addition to daily tours, Yad Vashem also offers a multitude of classes and lectures on the topic. Depending on when you stop in, you may be able to hear a Holocaust survivor speak.
4. Mount of Olives
Mount of Olives is a holy site for all three major Abrahamic religions. Once again, it showcases the fact that all three religions to coexist side-by-side in Jerusalem.
History buffs, theologians and religious people alike will enjoy this stop, as well as the breathtaking view from the mountain.
Mount of Olives is home to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus was famously found wrestling with God before his crucifixion. It is also home to a Russian Orthodox Church.
Jesus also is said to have ascended from heaven on the Mount of Olives. He also conducted several prayer sessions with his disciples on the mountain.
The Mount of Olives has been home to the burial sites of many Jews throughout the years, including Menachem Begin and Gerrer Rebbe.
If history isn’t your thing, you can enjoy the walk to the top of Mount Olives and the breathtaking view of Jerusalem below.
Jesus is said to have wept over Jerusalem from this very spot.
5. City of David National Park
Relieve the days of the prophets and the heroic men and women of the Bible with a City of David tour. You’ll go through underground tunnels, see ancient artifacts and can even play in an ancient water fountain.
The tour lasts two hours, or three hours if you want to wade into Hezekiah’s Tunnel where the water reaches up to 28 inches.
The City of David now also offers a light show in the evenings, telling the city’s story in bold colors.
6. Mahane Yehuda
If you’ve seen anything about Israel in the media, you’ve probably seen footage of this lively market. Locals say it’s best visited when everyone is getting ready for Shabbat on a Friday afternoon. You’ll be treated to the true authentic nature of the market as you see the Jewish population come and go purchasing their items for the weekend.
Traditionally, Jews do not do any labor between sundown on Friday night and sundown on Saturday night. Because of this rule, one that many Jews all over the world observe, they must prepare the meals and everything necessary for the day in advance.
You can find not only delicious street food and produce, but can also listen to some of the nightly street music. There are also several eateries nearby if you’re feeling peckish after seeing all the delicious fruits and veggies.
7. The Western Wall
The Western Wall has many names. But you’ll know it by the sheer number of people praying in front of it.
Also known as Kotel or The Wailing Wall, it inhabits part of the Old City of Jerusalem. It is considered to be the holiest site in which Jews can pray.
The Western Wall is near the Temple Mount, one of the holiest sites in both Judaism and Islam. However, due to its sacredness and proximity to the dead, Jews are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount itself also has very limited restrictions on who can enter.
As a result, the Western Wall is where Jews from all over the world congregate to pray. According to Rabbinic teaching was built on the ruins of King Soloman’s First Temple.
Individuals can also place prayers in the wall. The Western Wall has more than a million notes placed inside of it each year.
Both men and married women are asked to cover their heads when in the vicinity of the Western Wall. This is because the Western Wall must be treated like a synagogue, where this is mandatory.
Those are our top seven picks for must-see Jerusalem attractions. In this ancient city, you’ll find something for everyone. If history isn’t your thing, you’ll definitely have a great time eating at the famous cafes or even enjoying some of Jerusalem’s nightlife.
Jerusalem also offers more modern and family-friendly activities such as the Biblical Zoo, showcasing many near-extinct animals.
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