The Holy Land of Jerusalem attracts millions of visitors from all over the world annually, making it one of the world’s most-visited cities. Many seeking solace and fulfilment on their religious pilgrimage to Jerusalem discover the many wonders of the city that remain sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims. Located in the Middle East, on a Judaean Mountain plateau amid the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean, Jerusalem is one of the world’s oldest cities filled with tradition and heritage of eras past. In fact, the old city of Jerusalem has several ancient sites such as the Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Al-Aqsa Mosque. Read on further to find out more about the religious sites in Jerusalem, Israel.
1. The Garden Tomb
Many visitors have stood in awe of The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem whilst others have knelt down and wept as this site is believed by Christians to be the place where Jesus Christ was buried and subsequently resurrected. Dating back to 1867, The Garden Tomb is the sacred worship place for most Anglicans and Protestants. This venue is popular as the tomb is surrounded by lush gardens that offer peace and tranquillity. Miraculously, the tomb has remained intact through the centuries and admission is free for visitors, whilst donations are welcome.
The Garden Tomb
Address: Conrad Schick St, Jerusalem
Website: The Garden Tomb
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 8am - 5:45pm (closed on Sun)
Known as one of the holiest sites in Islam, Al-Aqsa Mosque is a silver-domed mosque sited within a 35-acre (14.2 hectares) compound known as the Noble Sanctuary by Muslims and the Temple Mount by Jews. In fact, this sacred place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it dates back to 705 CE and it is believed that is where Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. Subsequently, various structures such as memorial sites were built on the site during the period of Muslim conquest. Today, guided, narrative tours of the history-filled city of Jerusalem includes an exploration of Al-Aqsa Mosque and its holy grounds.
Jerusalem: Dual Narrative Tour
Duration: 4 hours
3. Western Wall
Jewish culture, history and spirituality come together at the Western Wall, an ancient limestone wall in the old city of Jerusalem. Also known as the Wailing Wall or Kotel or the Buraq Wall by Muslims, it is regarded as a place of prayer and pilgrimage for the Jewish community. Built in 19 BC and founded in 19 BCE, the site forms the remains of the Second Temple of Jerusalem. What’s interesting is that the prayerful write notes of prayer and slot them between the ancient stones of the Wall. Today, Jerusalem city tours provide deep insights to many religious sites, including the Western Wall as one of its most prominent landmarks.
A tribute to archaeological excellence during the late seventh century CE, the Dome of the Rock in an Islamic shrine sited on the Temple of Mount in the old city of Jerusalem. The shrine built over the rock is regarded as sacred to Muslims and Jews as it is believed that Islam’s founder, Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven from this site. Even more significant is the Dome’s superb structure and ornamentation with influences of Byzantine architectural tradition. Greater insights on the Dome of the Rock are revealed in the many guided day tours of old Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Day Tour of Jerusalem and Bethlehem
Duration: 9 hours
The splendour of archaeology, history and religion comes to light at King David’s Tomb, regarded as one of the Jewish holiest sites in Jerusalem. Located atop Mount Zion, it is believed to be the burial place of David, King of Israel during the 12th century. This tomb is the final resting place of Israel’s warrior King who is credited for composing the Psalms in part, in the holy bible. History also indicates that later kings of his dynasty were also buried at this sacred place. Further, walking tours of the City of David are popular as they reveal in-depth secrets of this religious site.
City of David and Underground Jerusalem Day Tour
Duration: 8 hours
6. Mount Zion
For religious and history buffs, Mount Zion holds aeons of sacred significance and iconic sights that are located close to one another. Situated just beyond the walls of the old city of Jerusalem, Mount Zion is the name of ancient Jerusalem’s Western Hill. On Mount Zion are famous religious sites such as the Zion Gate, Dormition Abbey, The Cenacle - Room of the Last Supper, King David’s Tomb, Church of Dormition, Chamber of the Holocaust and the Protestant Cemetery. Most visitors also make their way along the old city wall to further explore the ruins of the City of David and iconic landmarks at the Mount of Olives.
Address: Old City of Jerusalem, Israel
Opening hours: 12am - 12pm (daily)
7. Via Dolorosa
The road most travelled by Christian pilgrims must be Via Dolorosa or the Road of Sorrow which is believed to be the route Jesus Christ took on his way to crucifixion. The 600-metre (1969 feet) winding path from Antonia Fortress to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the route for pilgrims who walk the Way of the Cross annually. Along the path are many churches of various denominations and secular attractions such as cafes, souvenir shops and restaurants. Undoubtedly, Via Dolorosa remains one of the most profound experiences for Christians who complete this walk of faith from start to finish.
Address: St. Stephen’s (Lions’) Gate, Old City of Jerusalem
Opening hours: 8am - 6pm (daily)
8. Mount of Olives
Named after the olive groves that once covered its slopes, the Mount of Olives is located on the east and is adjacent to the old city of Jerusalem. This sacred place was where Jews would sleep during their pilgrimage. Reaching 800 metres (2625 feet) into the sky with the Church of St. Mary Magdalene at one end and Church of Dominus Flevit on the other, the Mount of Olives offers breathtaking views of the old city and surroundings. Near the attraction is the tomb of Mary, revered as the mother of Christ, and the site of numerous churches, convents and monasteries.
Mount of Olives
Address: Old City of Jerusalem
9. Chapel of the Ascension
Located on the Mount of Olives, Chapel of the Ascension was built in early 390 and subsequently rebuilt in the 12th century. This religious site plays a historic role as early Christians honoured the ascension of Christ in a cave atop the Mount of Olives and the Chapel of the Ascension was built to mark its importance. Today, visitors explore the chapel that has detailed motifs on its walls decorated with arches and marble columns, surrounded by panoramic countryside views. Nearby is a small mosque built in 1620, making this site a revered place by Christians and Muslims.
Chapel of the Ascension
Address: Mount of Olives, Old City of Jerusalem
Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)
Known to be a sacred site for all Christians, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is believed to be where the crucifixion, burial and the resurrection of Jesus Christ took place. In fact, the name Holy Sepulchre means burial chamber and the church resembles the place of reverence where millions come to pray for blessings. Built in 326AD, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a spiritual landmark thanks to the shrine that had held the body of Christ, according to history. Today, walking tours that explore the wonders of Jerusalem bring visitors on a journey through this historic religious site.
Jerusalem: Three Religions Holy City Walking Tour
Duration: 4 hour
Embark on a meaningful religious pilgrimage in Jerusalem
The Holy Land of Jerusalem holds much magnificence and mystery as the deeply religious as well as secular world find a greater meaning to life with a visit to every religious site in Jerusalem, Israel. From ancient memorials to historical landmarks to cosmopolitan city excitement, this destination has attracted millions from all over the world. Make your trip memorable when you visit Jerusalem, a city rich in culture, tradition and heritage.
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