Sights & Landmarks
Jerusalem has an amazing array of attractions for the traveler to see. The following are some of the must-sees. For more attractions see individual district articles.
The Old City is the atmospheric historical core of Jerusalem, surrounded by Ottoman period walls, filled with sites of massive religious significance and a bustling approach to life. (Please note that some sites, particularly Islamic ones, may bar members of other religions from entry or praying on the grounds.)
The most iconic site in Jerusalem is the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary, which is holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam. It is crowned by the magnificent gold-and-blue Dome of the Rock, which stands on the site of the ancient Jewish Temples. It also includes the Al-Aqsa Mosque (The Far Mosque), from where the Muslim prophet Muhammad is believed to have ascended to heaven.
- The Western Wall (Jewish) is a retaining wall of the Temple Mount, built 2000 years ago. It is the closest place Jews can go to the site of the Temple, so for hundreds of years it has been a destination for prayer, and for placing notes with prayers in the cracks between the wall's stones.
- Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Christian). At the end of the Via Dolorosa (Way of the sorrows) in the Christian quarter of the Old City. It is the most holy Christian spot in the world. The first church on the site was built by Queen Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine, the Holy Sepulchre is Jerusalem's number 1 site for Christian pilgrims and is consequently horribly crowded. Expect to queue for an hour or more to enter the tiny tomb chamber.
- The Jewish Quarter was completely re-built in 1969 after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It still holds many ancient masterpieces such as the Hezekiah's wall (700 BCE), Burnt House (70 CE), Cardo (550 CE), and Western Wall. At the Western Wall plaza you will find The Western Wall Tunnel and the Chain of Generations center. The nearby archaeological park Davidson Centre (the Ophel) is also interesting. Inside the quarter are The Hurba Synagogue, the largest synagogue in the old city, and The Herodian Quarter museum.
- Via Dolorosa - passing through Bethesda (crusader church and Roman excavations), Franciscan Archaeological Museum and Les Seurs de SionMonastery with its underground Roman Street
- Damascus Gate is the most elaborate gate. The vegetable market borders it. It is also near Jaafar—Jerusalem most renowned sweets store. Just outside Damascus Gate you can visit the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum as well as The Garden Tomb and The Tomb of the Kings
- Murestan Square with the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer
- The Armenian Cathedral and Museum
Outside the Old City
Jerusalem's exact boundaries have varied over the ages. Some of the most historic important sites are located just outside the current city walls, including all sites from the time of King David and earlier.
- City of David, . On the south-east corner of the old city, is an archeological site from the time of King David. Hezekiah's Tunnel, the water tunnel built by the Biblical King Hezekiah which you can now walk through, is accessed from here. 50 NIS.
- The Garden Tomb on Nablus Road, East Jerusalem marks what many believe is the location of Calvary and the tomb of Jesus. The tomb is located in a lush big garden which is a good break away from the hustle and bustle of East Jerusalem. Must do, but only open in the afternoons.
- Syriac Church, Maronite Church
- Mount of Olives with numerous monuments including: Kidron Valley Monuments, Maria's Tomb, The Ascension Chapel, Domini Flevit Church,Church of All Nations, Tombs of the Prophets, Jewish Cemetery, Pater Noster Church, The Muscoviya. The Mount of Olives also has probably the best view of the Old City from the outside.
- Mount Zion with several monuments including: Hagia Maria Sion Abbey (Dormition Church), Schindler's Tomb, Chamber of the Holocaust (Martef HaShoah), David's Tomb and Room of the Last Supper
The following sites of cultural and national importance to Israel are located in West Jerusalem.
- Mount Herzl, the burial place of Theodor Herzl and four of Israel's prime ministers, with a museum about Herzl's life; national ceremonies are held here.
- The Biblical Zoo
- Visit the Belzer Rebbe's tish on Friday night in Charedi Jerusalem (men only!) or just wander around Ultra Orthodox neighbourhood of Mea Shearim in decent attires
- Mishkenot Sha'ananim the first modern neighbourhood outside the Old City, a beautiful cluster of small cobbled streets
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