Israel is a country full of controversy, history, and symbolism. If you are curious to learn more about why certain things are the way they are, you must visit, to better understand. Jerusalem may well be the perfect base for your research on the country and it may provide answers to your questions with a minimum effort and a lot of charm.
1. Wailing Wall
The Wailing Wall is legendary and needs no introductions. It is the holiest place where Jews are permitted to pray.
Trivia: Regarded as a potent symbol, notes containing prayers are placed in the cracks of the wall. They are collected twice a year and buried on the Mount of Olives.
Website: Wailing Wall
2. Temple Mount & Dome of the Rock
The Temple Mount is a hill and one of the most important religious sites in the world, venerated by Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, alike. The Dome of the Rock is an Islamic shrine located on the Temple Mount. It was initially built in 691 AD, but, after collapsing in 1016, it underwent reconstruction in 1021.
Trivia: Except for the 88 years of rule by the Crusaders, the Temple Mount has been in Muslim hands for almost 1300 years.
Website: Temple Mount
3. Mount of Olives
A lot of events and discoveries are centred around this place. The Mount of Olives is a Judean necropolis, an extended Jewish cemetery and the place where Jesus is said to have ascended to Heaven.
Local’s Tip: The panorama from its top is Jerusalem’s most iconic view.
Mount of Olives
Address: Judean Mountains, east of and adjacent to Jerusalem’s Old City
4. Garden of Gethsemane
Found at the foot of the Mount of Olives, this garden is most famous as the place where it is said Jesus prayed and spent the night with the apostles before his crucifixion.
Trivia: The olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane have been dated to be at least 900 years old.
Garden of Gethsemane
Website: Garden of Gethsemane
5. King David's Tomb
David was – according to the Hebrew Bible – the second king of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah. This place, located on Mount Zion, is regarded as his tomb, according to a burial tradition, which began in the 12th century.
Trivia: With the absence of scientific research, the authenticity of the tomb still gives way to many questions.
King David's Tomb
Website: King David’s Tomb
6. Mahane Yehuda Market
Mahane Yehuda Market, also known as the ‘Shuk’, is a pulsating centre, in the centre of it all.
Local’s Tip: On weekdays, the market should be visited between 9am and 5pm – you will find it less crowded, full of fresh produce, and with all its stalls open.
Mahane Yehuda Market
Website: Mahane Yehuda Market
7. Basher Fromagerie
Of course, there are also attractions inside the attraction! Basher Fromagerie is not only that but the best place in town to find European and Israeli cheeses, in a friendly atmosphere.
Local’s Tip: If you’re looking for great souvenirs, you are in the right place! And no, I am not referring only to cheese.
Website: Basher Fromagerie (in Hebrew)
8. The Old City - three markets: Butchers, Perfume and Goldsmiths
We’ve got the Butchers Market, the Perfume Market, and the Goldsmiths Market. The alleys crossing them are narrow and covered.
Local’s Tip: Walk through all three and note the differences and connections between them. The markets will merge into Oil Press Street, where on Fridays, women from nearby villages still come to sell their greens and vegetables.
9. Armenian Quarter
Located in the southwestern part of the Old City of Jerusalem, the Armenian Quarter is one of the four main quarters of the Holy City’s core.
Trivia: The Armenian dialect spoken here is highly distinctive, as Arabic has had and still has a large influence on it.
Website: Armenian Quarter
10. Christian Quarter
Situated in the northwestern corner, the Christian Quarter was built around the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is actually the heart of the quarter.
Trivia: The upper part of Via Dolorosa is found in the Christian Quarter.
Website: Christian Quarter
11. Jewish Quarter
Lying in the southeastern part of Jerusalem’s Old City, the Jewish Quarter is home to numerous synagogues and yeshivas.
Local’s Tip: You can now navigate the Jewish Quarter through an engaging treasure hunt-style game, available for your smartphones in English and Hebrew.
Website: Jewish Quarter
12. Muslim Quarter
The Muslim Qurter is in the northeastern quarter of Old Jerusalem and is the largest and most populated of all quarters and a true cultural shock, as many travellers exploring it have stated.
Trivia: Currently, there are about 60 Jewish families living here.
Website: Muslim Quarter
13. Puzzle Quest
What’s Puzzle Quest? It’s an escape room - one of those places that keep you locked in until you find the clues to get out.
Local’s Tip: Bring friends. As this is not an escape room in the classical meaning of the phrase, you will encounter an extra person in the room [in the case of Nazir games], which will make the experience more of a quest, allowing 6 to 12 people to take part. Other sessions are for teams of 2 to 6. The more, the merrier and the price per person decreases when the team is larger.
Website: Puzzle Quest
With the mix of culinary traditions in the city, this may well be one of the highlights of your time in Jerusalem.
Local’s Tip: Although not apparent, a cooking class in Jerusalem is an experience that will open your eyes to the culture and lifestyle of the local people. Choose wisely.
15. Soreq Cave
A small, but beautiful natural attraction, just outside Jerusalem, Soreq Cave is also known as the ‘Stalactite Cave’. It is thought to date back some 300,000 years.
Trivia: The bizarre patterns inside the cave, combined with the ghostly lighting, create an eerie vibe.
PDF Brochure: Soreq Cave
Or a new beginning. If you like Jerusalem - you will be back, no doubt about it.
“I don’t think the area of Jerusalem should be part of a Jewish state; it belongs to all people, to Christians and Muslims and the Jewish people” -Patti Smith.
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