Welcome to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital city. Jerusalem is totally unique and is a holy city for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. For over three thousand years many nations have taken to arms and tried to conquer Jerusalem. The journey to this holy city is seen by many as a pilgrimage rather than just a visit where one can discover their spiritual ancestry. The best way to see this city is by foot. A wide range of accommodation is available however please book early if you will be visiting during public holidays or other special events.
There are many hotels in Jerusalem
to suits each and everyone’s taste and budget. Fhowever, it is important to book your hotel in Jerusalem early if you intend to visit the city during public holidays or other special events. Jerusalem hotels are varied and range from budget to luxury 5 star hotels. Most of the hotels in Jerusalem can be found close to the Old City, in the Jerusalem city centre or close to the entrance to Jerusalem.
The Old City of Jerusalem:
Many unique attractions are located within the city walls. Everywhere you turn you will find magnificent edifices and intriguing archaeological sites. Take in the Western Wall, the last remaining wall of Solomon’s Temple which was razed in 587 BC by the Babylonians. You will be able to enjoy seeing the daily prayer ceremonies and on Mondays and Thursday many Bar Mitzvah celebrations are held there. See thousands of heartfelt requests written on small pieces of paper and concealed within the cracks of the imposing Wall. Leave your own message there too.
In the midst of the Old City of Jerusalem
you will find the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site of Christ’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Within the confines of the Church are also the Chapel of Golgotha and three of the fourteen Stations of the Cross which commemorate the location of his entombment and subsequent resurrection.
Wander along the Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross, Jesus’ route through these alleyways while bearing the cross before the crucifixion. Each of the 14 Stations marks the various events of that day. Through the bustling Old City market you will hear the Muezzin calling the faithful of Islam to prayer together with the songs of praise heard from the various churches and the exuberant merchants asking you to buy their wares.
The Dome of the Rock located on the Temple Mount is a tour de force of Islamic design and is visible from almost every vista of Jerusalem. All three of the monotheistic religions believe that this is the spot where Abraham made ready to sacrifice his son Isaac to God. The Muslims also believe that Mohammed soared to Heaven from this place in a dream.
David’s Citadel also known as the Tower of David
was built as a stronghold for King Herod in the 1st century BC. Climb to the top of the highest tower and you will be able to enjoy a wonderful panorama of the Old City. Within the Citadel itself take time out to visit the Museum of the History of Jerusalem with its diverse exhibits of Jerusalem’s colourful history with its stories of the nations who have vanquished and controlled Jerusalem throughout its existence.
The New City of Jerusalem
You will also find many significant attractions in the New City. The renowned Holocaust Memorial – Yad Vashem offers a comprehensive monument to the millions of Jews who were slaughtered during the Second World War. The Museum’s aim is to record and memorialize the Holocaust as well as being a center for continual research and education.
Visit the outstanding Israel Museum with its magnificent exhibitions covering diverse fields from archaeology and modern day art. You will not want to miss the celebrated Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in caves in the Judean desert in 1947 dating from the 3rd century AD and up to the 1st century BC.
Additional fascinating sites are the new Supreme Court building and Mount Herzl where you will find the grave of Yitzchak Rabin, the Israeli Prime Minister who was assassinated in Tel Aviv in 1995.
Attractions for Children
You will not be short of places to visit with children. The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo is to be found in the southwest of Jerusalem. Set in the scenery of the Jerusalem Hills it includes unusual animals as well as those noted in the Bible.
Visit the Bloomfield Science Museum with its scientific hands-on displays.
At Latrun, located close to Jerusalem, you will find the Mini Israel Park with its numerous models which are precise replicas of sites and scenes throughout Israel.
Shopping in Jerusalem:
The shopping in Jerusalem is exceptional - from the bustling markets in the Old City to the boutique stores in the city center and close to the hotels offering Judaica, arts and crafts and mementos to remind you of your vacation. Visit the vibrant Mahaneh Yehuda fruit and vegetable market.
Nightlife in Jerusalem
Jerusalem has an abundance of nocturnal activities. Visit the Nahalat Shiva neighbourhood which is full of funky shops as well as restaurants and coffee shops serving anything from snacks to delicious dinners. There is something for everyone. Take a wander around the area and marvel at the stunning residences constructed of stones.
Not far away is Ben Yehuda Street, a busy pedestrian mall during the day and a vibrant area at night with a profusion of restaurants and bars.
Culture in Jerusalem:
Enthusiasts of classical music will enjoy the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra offering excellent recitals.
The Israel Festival for music and performing arts takes place every year and showcases Israeli and international performers. There is also an annual jazz festival.
Jerusalem is constantly changing and it is one of the most mesmerizing cities worldwide and a center for tourism in Israel.