Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world located between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. The holy place in the Judaean Mountains is home to numerous landmarks and structures with great historical and religious significance. One of the most important religious cities in the world Jerusalem’s history spans across millennia. There are building thousands of years old, shopping streets that become galleries at night, great restaurants serving authentic Israeli dishes and much more. On this list, we are mentioning the 10 Things To Do In Jerusalem that you can not miss out on.
1. Explore The Old City of Jerusalem & its Walls & Ramparts Walk:
You simply can’t leave Jerusalem without exploring the Old City. Most of the most important attractions of Jerusalem are within the Old City. Surrounded by the ancient walls, the Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage site. From Western Wall to Dome of the Rock Islamic shrine to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Old City Market, with great food stalls and shops, you will find pretty much everything within the walls of the Old City. See the seven main open gates including the Jaffa Gate and find the Ramparts Walk for some spectacular views of the old city. It’s one of the greatest historical sites in the world and a must-visit.
2. Church of the Holy Sepulchre – Christian Quarter & Armenian Quarter:
There are four quarters within the walls of the Old City. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter is believed to be the site of Jesus’s tomb. The church contains Romanesque, Baroque and Byzantine architecture and two holiest sites. The Christian Quarter is situated north of the Jaffa Gate centred around the church.
In the quarter, you will find beautiful architecture, bustling markets, and cafes and attractions including the Ethiopian Monastery, the Church of St. John the Baptist and the Protestant Christ Church. The Armenian Quarter is packed with charming ancient architecture and historical buildings. You will also find shops selling souvenir and the churches of St. James and St. Mark.
3. The Western Wall or Kotel & The Western Wall Tunnels:
The Western Wall or the Wailing Wall or Kotel within the Old City is one of the top attractions in Jerusalem. It is one of the oldest places to visit in Jerusalem which was first constructed around 19BCE. On Friday evening, you can see tens of thousands of people visiting the wall to welcome the Sabbath. A tour of the Western Wall Tunnels is a popular thing to do in Jerusalem. The tunnel from the open-air prayer site ends and up to the Wall’s northern end located under buildings of the Muslim Quarter. It’s a walk back into history.
4. The Temple Mount – Dome of the Rock – Via Dolorosa
Located on a hill, Al Aqsa Compound, the Temple Mount or the Haram esh-Sharif has been venerated as a holy site for thousands of years. One of the holiest sites in Jerusalem for multiple reasons, The Temple Mount is reserved more for prayer than anything else. The central dome of this church glitters with gold along with the colourful tiled exterior walls, called the Dome of the Rock.
The gold-topped Islamic shrine built around 690AD is a UNESCO World Heritage site and must-visit. You can also participate in the Temple Mount Sifting Project which allows tourists to sift through generations of history. Another religiously significant place is the Via Dolorosa. It is believed to be the path which Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion.
5. The Tower of David – The Night Spectacular – King David’s Tomb:
The Jerusalem Citadel or the Tower of David is located at the Jaffa Gate entrance. The citadel dating back to the Mamluk and Ottoman periods has a museum of Jerusalem’s history, Tower of David Museum. One climb to the rooftop of the citadel for fantastic views. After exploring everything in the Tower of David wait for the Night Spectacular. Although the Tower of David has no connection to King David, King David’s Tomb has. It is believed to be the burial site of David, King of Israel. The Cenacle in David’s Tomb was the first Christian church. Also, explore the City of David National Park, Jerusalem Walls National Park and Hezekiah’s Tunnel.
6. Muslim Quarter & Jewish Quarter:
The Old City of Jerusalem is home to 220 historic monuments, so it is best to take as much time as you can. It has four quarters and the Muslim Quarter & Jewish Quarter are two of them. The Muslim quarter is one of the best and busiest places full of shops, restaurants and refreshing juice spots. The Damascus Gate, the historic Pool of Bethesda and its market are the top attractions. The Jewish Quarter is home to some of the most important structures, from the Western Wall to the Cardo. The Hurva Synagogue or Hurvat Rabbi Yehudah he-Hasid features a huge Torah ark & offers views from its dome. The Burnt House is a museum below the current street level in the Jewish Quarter.
7. The Cardo – Israel Museum – Yad Vashem
There are many museums and galleries in Jerusalem showing historical movements and religious importance. The Cardo, the Israel Museum, Yad Vashem and Monastery of the Cross are few of them. Cardo is an archaeological museum dating to Roman & Byzantine eras. Walking on the long walkway with Roman columns and a market bustling all around is one of the best things to do in the city.
The Israel Museum is regarded as one of the world’s leading encyclopaedic museums. With prehistoric to modern collections, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, it’s the largest cultural institution in the State of Israel. Yad Vashem is a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust. Also, visit the Monastery of the Cross and The Knesset along with the Bird Observatory nearby.
8. Mount of Olives & Kidron Valley:
The Kidron Valley along with the Mount of Olives has a number of important sites to explore. The mountain range named for the olive groves has been referred to in the Bible. The Kidron Valley is located between Mount Zion and Mount of Olives. It is one of the most ancient parts of Jerusalem. It is believed that the Last Judgment will take place here. Warren’s Shaft, Hezekiah’s Tunnel and the Pool of Siloam are some of its top attractions. The Garden of Gethsemane, Dominus Flevit Church, Church of All Nations and Tomb of the Virgin Mary are few of the most important sites in Mount of Olives.
9. Machane Yehuda:
Mahane Yehuda Market or Machane Yehuda is the best market to explore in Jerusalem. There are more than 250 vendors sell fresh fruits and vegetables, spices, goods, liquors clothing, shoes and much more. Juice bars, cafes, and restaurants dot the colourful market. You can also find bars and live music here. It’s one of the best places to visit in Jerusalem.
10. Mount Zion:
Mount Zion is another historically and religiously significant place in Jerusalem. It is believed that it was the place where Christ held the Last Supper and where the Virgin Mary lived during the later years of her life as well as the place of King David’s Tomb.
Some other places one should also explore in Jerusalem are- The Biblical Zoo, The Garden Tomb, Nahalat Shiva, Ticho House, Ein Kerem and Abu Ghosh, Herzl Museum and Hutzot Hayotzer, Ayalon Valley and Gazelle Valley. Also, explore the Arazim Valley Park, the Jerusalem Archeological Park and take day trips to The Dead Sea and Masada.