Jerusalem sights: what to see, where and when to see it
The Garden of Gethsemane is just one part of the area that is located under the western slope of the Mount of Olives, near the Old City, and is called Gethsemane. Gethsemane is home to several extremely important landmarks in Jerusalem, including the Church of All Nations.
Mount Zion – today more like a hill – has become a symbol of the Promised Land for all the Jews of the world. After the Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jewish people were dispersed all over the world, no longer having a country of their own, the name of this mountain became a household name.
City of David in Jerusalem
David’s Castle is one of the most monumental landmarks of the Golden City. This is where Jerusalem began. The old city was inhabited later, and the first state of the Jews founded by the second Jewish King David.
The Way of Mourning
Another important Christian shrine in Jerusalem is the Via Dolorosa (aka the Way of the Cross and the Road of Sorrow). It is believed that this is the way Jesus walked from the place where the sentence was pronounced to the place of execution.
The Golden Gate in Jerusalem
The center of old Jerusalim is surrounded by a fortress wall with a gate. Once they really ensured the safety of the citizens, carefully guarded, but now they have become a tourist attraction of the ancient city.
Tours to Israel – immersion in human history.
Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock mosque.
Crowds of people who want to touch the Wailing Wall constantly intersect with pilgrims rushing to the main Muslim shrines of Jerusalem. These are the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock Mosque.
The Wailing Wall
Wailing Wall in Jerusalem – the main holy place in Judaism and one of the most famous religious sites in Israel, which can be seen not only by believers but by anyone. The main thing is not to forget that the Wailing Wall is a place of prayer.
Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem
Today the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is located in the heart of the Christian Quarter and includes, in addition to the place of Christ’s crucifixion, also the tomb where the Son of God was buried and later resurrected. The tomb is the main altar of the temple and a place of pilgrimage for Christians.
The second name of Akeldama is “Land of Blood.” According to the Gospel legend, this plot of land was bought with blood money – the same 30 pieces of silver received by Judas for his betrayal. As we know, Iscariot did not use his reward, and the pieces of silver were used to purchase a piece of land.
Rockefeller Museum of Archaeology in Jerusalem
The Rockefeller Museum, formerly known as the Palestinian Archaeological Museum, is located on the east side of Jerusalem. It contains a large collection of artifacts discovered during excavations at the Palestinian Mandar in the 1920s and 1930s.
Davidson Center Archaeological Park
Many peoples have left their mark on the land of Israel: Jews, Romans, Arabs, Byzantines, and descendants of Medieval Europe. The capital of the state is an important religious center, preserving the shrines of the three world religions. This city can be considered as one big architectural monument.
Tower of David in Jerusalem
The Citadel, also known as the Tower of David in Jerusalem, is a mighty fortress at the Jaffa Gate, built, according to legend, by the great king of Israel and his son Solomon about 3,000 years ago. Archaeologists have indeed found items from that era during excavations, but nothing remains of the walls.
The Great Synagogue of Jerusalem
In spite of its resounding name, this synagogue is not one of the city’s ancient sites. It was built by the Wolfson family in the second half of the 20th century.
In the 16th century the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem were renovated by order of Sultan Suleiman I, a small gate was left in one of the towers and later bricked up. Three centuries later the city grew, and the inhabitants of the Muslim Quarter needed a passage to the new streets behind the wall.
Geichal (or Heikal) Shlomo is the name of the Jewish heritage center located near the Great Choral Synagogue in Jerusalem. More precisely, the name of the building. It used to be the seat of the Supreme Rabbinical Court and of the Chief Rabbinate itself (they vacated the building in 1992).
The Ghorna Convent in Ein Karem
The Gornyi or Gornyi Convent is a convent in Ein Karem, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, which means “spring in the grapes” in Arabic. It is believed that this is where Our Lady came to visit one of her relatives.
Damascus Gate in Jerusalem
The Damascus Gate is considered the main landmark of Jerusalem’s western city wall. It is a mighty and monumental structure richly decorated with ornaments and is the main entrance to the Arab quarter of Jerusalem.
The Valley of Fire
In all Abrahamic religions there is a special place where sinners end up after death and pay for their sins with eternal suffering: roasting on red-hot pans, burning in flames, suffocating from acrid and poisonous fumes, in short, undergoing unbelievable torments.
The House of Tycho
The tranquil and peaceful Ticho House is a great place to experience the atmosphere of Old Jerusalem as you explore the work of Israel’s favorite artist, Anna Ticho. The museum occupies the former home of the artist and her husband, Dr. Abraham Ticho.
Mount of Olives
Even in Jerusalem, which is overflowing with historical sites, the Mount of Olives, aka the Mount of Olives, stands out for the abundance of biblical lore associated with it. Thousands of years old olive trees on its slopes have heard the people who determined the path of modern civilization.
Jerusalem is not just the historical center of ancient Judea. Having long lost its administrative significance (the capital of modern Israel is known to be in Tel Aviv), Jerusalem has nevertheless retained its status as a spiritual center, both for Jews and for Christians and Muslims. It is clear that pilgrims from all over the world do not go to “Jerusalem in general,” but to visit specific sites associated with a particular faith. As a rule, special religious tours with a dense program of excursions are organized for this purpose. Those who come to Jerusalem for educational purposes, however, often choose just a leisurely stroll through the Old City.
Not only the Old City is an open-air monument: by law all buildings in Jerusalem must be at least partially lined with Jerusalem stone. This creates a distinctive architectural character of the city and an inexplicable but attractive atmosphere.
What to see in Jerusalem: 10 highlights
Jerusalem has an incredibly complex history, and what is particularly remarkable is that this city is an important crossroads of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the three major world religions. It is therefore quite natural that most of its main attractions are in one way or another related to religious themes.
Western Wall (Wailing Wall)
The Western Wall is the remains of the stone wall built for the Second Temple around the Temple Mount. The Western Wall is also called the Wailing Wall. It is believed to be as close as possible to the site of Solomon’s Temple, which was completely destroyed in 586 BC. The Western Wall is a stronghold of the Jewish religion, here day and night you can see Jews praying, who believe that near the Western Wall is the gate of heaven. In Islam, the wall is known as Al Buraq, named after the winged creature with the head of a horse on which the prophet Muhammad traveled from Mecca to Jerusalem.
Address: Western Wall Plaza
Stop: City Hall
Yad Vashem (Hill of Remembrance)
Yad Vashem is Israel’s main monument dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust. In the main building, in the Hall of Remembrance, the names of those who died in the Nazi camps are engraved on the floor, and an eternal flame is maintained in memory of the deceased. The building also houses a children’s memorial, an art museum with works created by concentration camp inmates and a photo exhibition.
Opening hours: Sunday to Wednesday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Address: Yad Vashem
Stop: Mount Herzl
Israel Museum, which was opened in 1965, is the only exhibition hall in the country that displays both archaeological finds and works of art. In the Jewish Art Wing, you can view an impressive collection of art and ethnographic exhibits that tell the story of Jewish diaspora life in different countries. Equally interesting is the exhibit in the Archaeology Wing, which provides an overview of the first settlements in the Land of Israel. The Fine Arts Wing houses an interesting collection of works by Israeli artists, as well as works by Gauguin, Renoir and Van Gogh. It is worth checking out the Temple of the Book which displays some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest manuscripts of the Bible that were found in the 1940s.
Tickets cost 54 NIS for adults and 27 NIS for children. Free admission every Tuesday and Saturday.
Opening hours: Saturday to Monday and Wednesday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Address: 11 Ruppin Boulevard
Stop: Israel Museum
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is a place of worship for all Christians, according to Biblical accounts, this is where Jesus was crucified. Helena the Equal Apostle, the mother of Constantine the Great, chose the site for the construction of the temple during her travels in the Holy Land. A temple originally built here, has been destroyed in 1009, and that building which we can see today, has been constructed in 11 century. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is one of the best examples of religious architecture. It is noteworthy that the temple belongs to several Christian denominations, each of which owns a certain part of the temple and has its own hours of prayer.
Hours of operation: daily, 4.30 – 20.00
Address: 1 Helena Str.
Stop: City Hall
Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock
The Temple Mount is considered the main Jewish pilgrimage site: here Abraham was to sacrifice his son Isaac at the command of God. The Temple Mount is the third most important holy place for Muslims, after Mecca and Medina, the place from where the prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. In the seventh century, when Muslims conquered Jerusalem, they erected the Dome of the Rock, an Islamic sanctuary adorned with gold, on the Temple Mount. Today on the Temple Mount there are about 100 sites – places of prayer, arches, fountains, etc., symbolizing different historical eras.
If you are planning to visit the Temple Mount it is necessary to consider several factors: the entrance to the Temple Mount is possible only through the Maghreb Gate, although the entrance is free, it is available only at certain hours, which often results in long lines, clothing must be closed and modest – this applies to both men and women. Also note that the entrance to the Dome of the Rock is only open to Muslims, all other visitors can only admire the structure from the outside.
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 7.30am to 10.30pm and 12.30pm to 1.30pm (winter), 8.30am to 11.30pm and 1.30pm to 2.30pm (summer)
Address: Temple Mount
Stop: City Hall
The Mount of Olives
The Mount of Olives and the scenery it offers are admired not only by religious pilgrims but also by ordinary tourists. For believers the Mount of Olives has a special significance: in Judaism, as the place where King David prayed to God, and in Christianity – as the place of ascension of Jesus Christ. On the Mount of Olives there are several temples: the Temple of the Ascension, where you can see all of Jerusalem; the Church of Our Father, the place where Jesus gave his disciples the prayer that gave the church its name; the Church of the Lord’s Tears, built where Jesus mourned the fate of Jerusalem; and the Russian Church of Saint Mary Magdalene, built in memory of Empress Maria Alexandrovna. At the foot of the Mount of Olives is the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus spent the last night before being crucified.
Address: Mount of Olives
Subway stop: Mount of Olives
Machane Yehuda Market (Shuk)
Mahane Yehuda Market should be visited if only for a taste of the character of Jerusalem! Here you can taste traditional dishes not only of Middle Eastern cuisine, but also of other peoples for whom Jerusalem has become a second home. Get fresh citrus fruit or freshly squeezed juice, because grapefruits and oranges grow right here in Israel, try the fresh pita with hummus, and for dessert, the famous Turkish sweets, which here are no worse than at home. If you’re into cooking, stock up on fragrant olive oil and a variety of spices.
Open Sunday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Address: Jaffa Road
Bus stop: Mahane Yehuda market
The Citadel, also known as David’s Tower, is not in fact directly related to David. It was built by King Herod to protect the palace. The original citadel had three towers: Phasael – named after Herod’s brother, Miriam – after Herod’s wife and Hippicus – after his friend.
The fortress was destroyed in the 13th century by the Mamelukes. The Mamelukes and the Turks later rebuilt the Citadel. After the rebuilding it was called David’s Tower in memory of the founder of Jerusalem. Today the Citadel houses the Tower of David Museum dedicated to the history of Jerusalem.
Ticket price: Adults: 40 NIS, children: 18 NIS
Opening hours: Saturday to Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 16:00 p.m., Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Address: Jaffa Gate
Stop: City Hall
For many Christians, the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrow) is the main destination for a trip to Jerusalem. This road follows the route of Jesus Christ to the place of the crucifixion. On Fridays, those who wish can join an organized procession led by Franciscan monks. There are 14 stops on the Via Dolorosa of the Way of the Cross. The route begins from the Muslim Quarter of the Old City along the Via Dolorosa as far west as the Church of Our Lord.
Address: Via Dolorosa Street
Stop: City Hall
Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo is a comfortable and enjoyable experience that appeals to visitors of all ages. It is rightly considered one of the most beautiful attractions in the city. In addition to the vast zoo, which has 170 animal species, most of which are mentioned in the Bible, there is also an artificial lake with waterfalls and picturesque meadows for recreation. There are special areas for children: a live corner where they can play with harmless animals, an entertainment area, a sculpture garden created by the French artist Nicky de Saint-Fal based on Noah’s Ark, and a cafeteria.
Ticket price: 55 NIS for adults, 42 NIS for children.
Hours of operation: Sunday – Thursday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.