Jerusalem is one of the most beautiful and holiest cities in the world. The city is an amalgamation of Jewish, Islam and Christianity. The city has iconic places like the sacred temple of Jews, the place where Jesus was crucified and the place where Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven. The city is filled with numerous fun and interesting things to do that can keep you occupied for weeks. Jerusalem is charming, historic, enchanting, spectacular and vibrant. We have curated a list of some of the most fun and exciting places to visit and engaging things to do. So, let’s explore this magical city together.
1) The Holy Temple Mount: This is the first place you should visit in Jerusalem and you can find it packed up with tourists. This is the “holiest sanctuaries” in the world, where Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son to God and where the Ark of Covenant’s first temple was built by Solomon. It is a sacred shrine for people of all faith. The temple is situated in the Old City of Jerusalem, there are several prayer locations, beautiful fountains and architecturally stunning arches. The entry to the temple is free for public visits but it is closed on Friday and Saturday. The most stunning point in the city is the Dome of the Rock. This spot holds great religious importance to both Jews and Muslims as the Dome has a precious stone which has significance for Jews as it is the place where Abraham sacrificed his son and for Muslims it is the same place where Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven. You can also visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is one of the oldest mosques in Jerusalem. The sanctity of the site is of utmost importance so there is a proper security check at the entrance of the temple and make sure to carry your passports along with you, you might need to show them at the checking point.
2) The Iconic Western Wall: The wall is the most religious site for Jewish across the world. It is the tall standing retaining wall of Temple Mount. The wall is a sacred place for Jewish people where they come to pray and feel the holy presence. Another great place to explore near the Western Wall is the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, where you can witness the historical remnants of ancient Jerusalem. You can also go underneath the ground and visit the old city remains through the Western Wall Tunnels.
3) The Historic Old City: This part of the city is the hot spot for cultural, religious and historical activities for the past 2000 years. This is one of the major tourists’ attractions in Jerusalem and has many significant sites of great historical importance. The old city has three main quarters that gives you the essence of Jerusalem and is vibrant and fun. The Muslim Quarters are always bustling with energy and is the best place to shop and collect some souvenir. Your bargaining skills will come on real handy when you visit the shops in these quarters. Do not forget to try the tempting street food to enjoy the authentic taste of Israeli cuisine. The quarters are lined with amazing artwork dating back to the 14th Century. The Christian Quarters in the Old City are lined with spectacular churches and monasteries and surely worth the visit. The most calm and serene part of the city are the Armenian Quarters. They are away from the crowd and gives you time to imbibe and learn about the history of Armenian art and culture.
4) The Stunning Mount of Olives: This place is located on the outskirts of the Old City of Jerusalem. After a short ascend you can catch a breathtaking view of the old city with brick-lined buildings and the glistening Dome of the Rock in the heart of the city. The Mount is believed to have religious significance and it is also a very enormous Jewish cemetery. According to the legendary tales, at the end of the world, when Messiah will descend the Earth Jews buried here will be resurrected first.
5) Learn About Jerusalem’s History At The Israel Museum: The museum displays ancient archaeological artifacts and findings and it is the only museum in the country. One of the most discussed finds is the Shrine of the Book building which displays Israel’s part of the Dead Sea scrolls that came into light in the year 1940. The museum is divided into different wings that showcase various arts and ancient ruins. The three distinct wings are the Judaica wing, archaeological wing and art wing.
6) Explore Mount Zion: Mount Zion is King David’s abode, the very place where Jesus had the Last Supper and Virgin Mary lived her last days. The top part of the tomb is dedicated to the Last Supper Room. The room has served both as a church and a mosque for the people and it is adorned with intricate and exquisite architecture on its walls. Nearby to Mount Zion is the Church of Dormition which is supposed to be the place where the Virgin Mary let out her last breath.
7) The Church of Holy Sepulchre: It is one of the holiest sites in the world for Christians. The church has Jesus’s tomb and is therefore always packed with tourists standing in long queues. There are several stunning holy and pristine antiques that are decorated inside the walls of the church making it an opulent and breathtaking site. There is no entry fee and you can also click memorable pictures around the church.
8) Obey The Path of Via Dolorosa: Via Dolorosa is the highlight of visiting Jerusalem. The walk depicts the path that Jesus took bearing his cross to the point of his execution. You can walk down the path with a procession every Friday and have a once in a lifetime experience. The path is a collection of 14 points, known as the Stations of The Cross and the total distance covered is around 600 meters. This path has been followed by the people of the Christian faith since the 18th Century.
9) Visit The Tower of David: The Citadel is also known as the Tower of David and was built around the 14th Century. Inside the Tower is the David Museum that exhibits the historically rich story of Jerusalem through artifacts and relics that are carefully restored. The roof of the citadel provides you with a stunning view of the Old City. In the evening visitors can enjoy a sound and light show that takes you through the transformation and history of Jerusalem. The show is a great learning experience for people who are not well aware of the city’s past.
10) Take A Leap Into Time At Yad Vashem: This place is situated close to the Old City and is the largest center in the world to have information about Holocaust. This facility is stretched far and wide and has Holocaust History Museum. The museum vividly paints a real picture of people and their lives during the holocaust. Yad Vashem has articulately displayed all the necessary information to give visitors a complete look into the bygone era.
11) Visit the Garden Tomb: If you are tired of standing in long queues and waiting under the sun, then you can relax and enjoy the serenity of the Garden Tomb. The garden has some of the most exquisite sculptures and exotic varieties of flowers. The Tomb is the place where Jesus was believed to be buried and then resurrected. The place is free of cost for the public to visit, you can take a breather and soak in the beauty of this spectacular place.
12) Explore The City of David National Park: This is an interesting place for all the curious buffs and people who have an interest in history. This is the very place where Jerusalem was originated and the first Jewish temple was built by King David. It lies to the South of the Old City and has been attracting many tourists because of its historical and religious importance. The park can be explored through two tunnels, Warren Tunnel and Hezekiah’s Tunnel.
13) Taste The Authentic Cuisine of Israel: Jerusalem offers some of the best culinary experiences in the world. The food in the city is influenced by different cultures and the variety in the art of cooking. Falafel is the most delicious comfort food which is made with chickpeas, herbs and is served with hummus and a generous serving of salad. You can taste the most delectable falafels at Shalom Falafel. Hummus is easily available in every food stall and is the most favorite side dish of the people of Israel. Boureka is the most delicious baked cheese pastries that came along with Turkish migrants in the early 19th Century and it was very well received by the people of Jerusalem. This amazing dish is served with spicy pickles. For all those who have a sweet tooth, you must try out Knafeh, a delectable dessert made from pastry noodles, goat cheese, sugar syrup and dry fruits. You can find the best Knafeh in the Old City at Jaffar and Sons Pastry Shop. No trip to Israel is complete if you have not tried the tempting Shakshuka. It is a perfect breakfast meal made from tomato puree, spice, herbs and poached eggs served hot with masala tea and you are ready to conquer the day. The food in Jerusalem is flavorful and keeps your stomach and heart full.
Visiting Jerusalem is undoubtedly a once in a lifetime experience. The city tells you the birth story of Judaism, Christianity and Islam in a beautiful way. The historical monuments are well restored and are decorated with ancient antiques and relics having great religious and historical importance. We hope that the above-mentioned options help you in planning a perfect and memorable trip to Jerusalem and experience the magic of this beautiful city.