Jerusalem is one of the strangest cities that I’ve seen. I like to look around me, and when I was walking in the town sometimes I felt like I was in another age.
The first eye when I arrived in Jerusalem it was for young women with a Kalashnikov in the shoulder and army clothes. In Israel there is compulsory military service for both sexes and when I saw those girls, it was a really strange feeling because it’s a distant reality from my imagination.
If you visit Jerusalem and Tel Aviv you’ll realize that there are entirely different cities. Now I want to tell you something about Jerusalem but I promise to write also something about Tel Aviv.
Jerusalem is one of the most famous cities in the world for his history and also for the religions, indeed there are three main faiths, Christians, Jews and Muslims. As a result of this diversity of religious, is one of the most fought cities in history, every faith wants the control on it, think that it was destroyed twice, attacked 52 times, captured and recaptured 44 times… the history of this city is so intricate that you can study about it for a lifetime.
There is a lot to see inside the city, you can find the old city and the new one, and also outside there is plenty of things to do!
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1. The old city
The old city of Jerusalem is always crowded with people, especially during the Shabbat. It’s an area of about 1 Km square, so it is quite convenient to explore by foot and to understand all around you, my advice is to book a guided tour because there is so much to see and you will realize that is complicated without a guide.
When you enter at the Jaffa Gate, there is a Tourist Information Point, just to the left of the entrance. In the old city, you have a lot to visit from the Western Wall, called Kotel to Hurva Synagogue, Tower of David…
2. Outside the Zion Gate: Church of the Dormition, the Room of the Last Supper and the Tomb of David
A little bit outside the Walls of the old Jerusalem, near Zion’s gate, you can find the Church of the Dormition (a Church built on a site thought to be the place where Virgin Maria died), the Room of the Last Supper, and also the Tomb of David, as believed by religious Jews.
3. Outside the Dung Gate: City of David
A few minutes away from Dung’s gate there’s the City of David. When you enter you’ll feel this peace and beauty all around you that you can’t imagine. It’s beautiful to go there just to relax or read a book. In the City of David there is also the Ezechia Tunnel, you must go it’s very cool!
4.Mount of Olives
Mount of Olives is a hill in front of the old Jerusalem with important churches and stunning viewpoints over the old city. It’s effortless to reach the hill (but it depends on how much you’re trained on walking on uphills, for some people it could be really tough) you can exit the old city via the Lions Gate and begin to walk on the top.
When you arrive on the top of the Mount you can visit:
- The Church of all Nations (church of the Agony). Believed to be the place where Jesus prayed before his arrest. A very nice facade. Gethsemane gardens.
- The Russian Orthodox Church of Maria Magdalene.
- A big Jewish cemetery
- More churches and excellent panoramic views over the old city
- Tomb of Zechariah – Located down the hill
5. Ben Yehuda walking street
Ben Yehuda street is an area of Jerusalem for pedestrian only, where you can find a lot of shops and it’s famous for Jerusalem’s nightlife. Also if it isn’t in your program I’m sure you arrive there like me, and if it happens you can take a coffee break and relax before continuing your tour around the city.
6. Mamilla Mall
Mamilla mall is an open-air shopping center with modern shops, restaurants & cafés located near Jaffa’s gate. I haven’t been there because of time but it was in my schedule. If you’re interested in shopping, in Mamilla you can do it.
7. Mahane Yehuda Market
Mahane Yehuda Market is one of my favorite places in Jerusalem! It’s a market in the city center of Jerusalem where you can go shopping (there is all fruits, dry and fresh ones, species, chocolate, local products…) eat or drink something. There are plenty of bars and coffees where you can take fantastic tea with cinnamon. There is also a Mahane Yehuda Market guided tour for sweet tooth peoples.
8. Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial (Shoah Memorial)
Yad Vashem is a museum about the Holocaust, if you decide to visit it remember that you need a few hours to see it entirely, because there are also some exhibitions that take time.
The museum is very touching, it is quite unpleasant to visit, you already imagine why. Inside you can read recorded personal testimonies of survivors, see objects from that period, see the Jewish communities that existed in Europe before the Holocaust, the ghettos, concentration camps, death camps and forced labor camps… If you want more info visit the Yad Vashem website, the entrance to the museum is free.
9. Israel Museum
Israel Museum is the most important museum of Israel where you can find Human History of Israel, and Art, i.e. you’ll see huge collections, including full-scale models of synagogues, art from Asia, Africa and much more.
When you go out of the museum you have the Israeli parliament, Knesset.
You can visit inside the Knesset, for more info visit the website, and after that is it lovely the Rose Garden behind the building, if you have some time, stop there, it’s worth a visit.
10. Harmon Anatziv Promenade
The weather in Jerusalem is always good, if you like the landscape you must go to Harmon Anatziv Promenade. This place offers one of the best views over the city, if you will arrive around sundown the view is amazing.
Jerusalem is a unique city with huge energy where you can find what you want from history, to have fun. For more info you can read my article “14 Things That No One Knows About Israel”, it’s fascinating!
When you arrive in Israel remember that you have another currency from yours and if you want to know where to change money with a reasonable price read my article here!
I hope you’ll have a gorgeous trip! I hope to read you soon if you want to share your journey with me!