One of the world’s oldest cities, Jerusalem is completely saturated in ancient history, religion and culture. Held in high esteem by Christianity, Islam & Judaism as a “holy city”, Jerusalem has been, for much of its modern existence, a place of worship, pilgrimage, retreat, as well as conflict. But land-claims, historical arguments and occupations aside, the city is one of the world’s most impressive and spirit invoking places in the world to visit. Here is a list of some of our favorite sights that make up the top attractions in Jerusalem!
The Old City and its Main Attractions
The part of Jerusalem that dates back to the 4th millennium BCE, this extremely historic and culturally significant quarter certainly deserves its label as “old.” Historically split into four parts, (the Armenian, Christian, Jewish and Muslim quarters) each section boasts some beautiful, interesting, unique and historically significant attractions. Home to some of the city’s most important sites, the Old City is one of those destinations that absolutely must be on every Jerusalem tourist’s itinerary.
The Western Wall
Judaism’s most important site, this wall is located on the western side of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. Opening to a large square in the Jewish quarter of town, this site has been an important pilgrimage location for Jewish practitioners since the 4th century.
Dome of the Rock
One of the most important destinations for practitioners of Islam, this shrine is considered to be one of the oldest works of Islamic architecture in the world. Certain Islamic scholars argue that the rock on site is the point of departure where the prophet Mohammed ascended into heaven.
Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Completing the three major religious sites of the city, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is one of Christianity’s most important religious destinations in the world. Said to be the spot of Jesus’ crucifixion and tomb, this church dates back to the 4th century and is an important site for all different schools of Christianity.
If you’re looking for the best views of the entire Old City, you can find them not inside the city’s walls, but on top of them. The Ramparts Walk takes one around the perimeter of this ancient city, giving an excellent birds-eye view of the bustling quarters below.
In addition to these main Old City attractions, tourists will also enjoy wandering inside the area’s tight alleys, souvenir shopping in the various quarters, walking the Via Dolorosa (the walk that Jesus made up to his death), or soaking in the area’s best rooftop views from the Austrian Hospice.
Modern Day Jerusalem
In addition to its religion and ancient history there are some excellent modern-day attractions that will keep visitors interested, intrigued and entertained during their stay in the holy city. From the vibrant & bustling Machane Yehuda Market and unique Emek Refaim Street to the city’s beautiful parks (Liberty Bell & Wohl Rose to name a few), nature observatories & historic neighborhoods (Nachlaot, Ein Karem), there are many a thing and place to keep all Jerusalem tourists entertained.
The Museum Scene
Jerusalem is home to some excellent & informative museums, from the Museum of Islamic Art, Israel Museum & Museum of the Seam. Quite possibly the most poignant museum in the city though, must be the Yad Vashem. A Holocaust-victim memorial museum, this site draws in over a million visitors per year, displaying the atrocities, remnants, memorials and footage from the Nazi’s persecution of Jews during World War II. A difficult site to walk through, it is a must visit for any tourist coming to Jerusalem.
Though there are many amazing attractions for a visitor to see, these are only a few of the must-visit destinations for any first-time tourist to explore in this eclectic ancient city. Your Jerusalem tour guide will recommend a visit around April May & October November, when the weather is moderate and the crowds are few, a great time to explore this unforgettable, historic city.
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