Jerusalem is primarily a sanctuary city for religious pilgrims from all over the world, the cradle of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. And admirers of cultural and artistic values are attracted here by numerous museums, archaeological and national parks.
Who and why should come to Jerusalem
Those who want to touch one of the most famous and revered religious sites in the world should visit the Old City. Its territory is divided into 4 parts according to historical and national identity.
- The Christian quarter is the place of burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. More than 40 monasteries and churches are located here, the Road of Sorrow passes, and the Garden of Gethsemane is spread out.
- The Muslim quarter will be remembered for its local color, market trade and Arab mosques.
- You can pray and share your innermost desires at the Wailing Wall. This famous shrine of Judaism is located in the Jewish Quarter.
- It is most difficult to look into the places of residence of the Armenian community due to their closeness and isolation from tourists. But whoever succeeds will be able to enjoy the architecture of religious buildings, some of which date back to the 4th century AD.
A large number of museums of various kinds are concentrated in Jerusalem. They contain artistic, literary, scientific, archaeological, historical and other values. Most of the exhibits are related to religion, much attention is also paid to war times and the losses associated with them.
Visitors who love nature and science, as well as families with children, will also find something to do. The Biblical Zoo has collected more than 250 species of animals, and the Jerusalem Forest has rich flora and fauna. The Museum of Nature often holds interesting exhibitions on anthropology, geology and biology. And the interactive exhibits of the Bloomfield Museum, which can be viewed and touched, will appeal to connoisseurs of science and technology.
In Jerusalem, you can just have a good time and have fun. The city has many restaurants and cafes with traditional local cuisine or original culinary dishes. It is recommended to have a bite to the sound of music in the Artel jazz cafe, and to dance in the Haoman 17 nightclub. Jerusalem markets are also worth noting, where you will find everything from religious souvenirs to painted ceramics and world-famous clothing.
Major religious monuments
Church of the Holy Sepulcher
According to the Holy Scriptures, here is the place of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The temple is a whole architectural complex with several monasteries, galleries and a number of important Christian shrines. Among the latter are the Holy Sepulcher, Golgotha, the Stone of Anointing, the Prison of Christ, etc. On the eve of the celebration of Easter, the convergence of the Holy Fire takes place here every year.
Via Dolorosa (Sorrowful Way)
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is the end point of an important shrine for all Christians — the Road of Sorrow. Jesus made his last procession along it to the place of execution. The entire Way of the Cross (another name for this road) consists of 14 canonized stops, 9 of which are on Via Dolorosa. Along the street and next to it are Muslim educational institutions, chapels, churches and monasteries.
Mount of Olives (Olive)
Along the eastern wall of the Old City lies a hill that has religious significance for the Jews. Here King David and Solomon worshiped God. Also, the Mount of Olives is revered by Christians, because Jesus prayed for the last time on it, and his Ascension took place from it. On the territory there is the Tomb of the Prophets, Gethsemane with the most important Christian churches and the tomb of the Virgin Mary.
This is a rectangular area at an altitude of 774 meters above sea level with significant buildings of Islamic culture. Along the perimeter, the territory is surrounded by a wall, the height of which sometimes reaches 45 meters. Here are the Muslim mosques of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa, as well as the monument of Kubbat al-Miraj, from where the prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. The Wailing Wall surrounding the Temple Mount is a place for prayers and posting notes with cherished desires.
Through the Zion Gate in the wall surrounding the Old City, you can get to a hill that rises to 765 meters. It has been a famous place of pilgrimage for several centuries. In Zion there is the tomb of King David, the Church of St. Peter, the chamber of the Last Supper, the Assumption Benedictine Monastery. For all the Jews of the world, this is a symbol of gaining the Promised Land.
The national museum complex of the country was founded in 1965. Archaeological and anthropological artifacts, the property of foreign and Israeli sculpture, painting, scientific expositions on Jewish studies and ethnography, and other cultural and historical values are exhibited here. There is also a youth wing where training and educational activities are held. The Art Garden with abstract works by modern sculptors deserves attention.
In the center of Jerusalem, outside the walls of the Old City, there is a house-museum where Anna Tikho and her husband, ophthalmologist Avraham Albert Tikho, lived and worked. The museum displays the artist’s paintings, the doctor’s medical instruments, household items, a collection of golden lamps and other family items. The area around the house is ennobled and is perfect for quiet walks and recreation. In addition to the exhibition, the couple’s house hosts lectures, concerts by classical and jazz performers, and even has its own dairy restaurant.
Museum of Nature
If you are interested in biology, anatomy and nature in general, you should visit this place. A large number of exhibits of mammals, birds and reptiles of Israel are exhibited here. There is an exhibition dedicated to dinosaurs, an exposition of the structure of the human body, as well as a mini-zoo. Around the two-storey building of the museum there is a landscaped garden with plants growing on the territory of the country.
This is a place of collection of a large number of archaeological monuments, obtained during excavations in Mandatory Palestine in the 20-30s of the last century. The museum was built with donations from philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and bears his name. All artifacts are arranged in chronological order. The oldest exhibits are already about 2,000,000 years old.
Bible Lands Museum
A place where hundreds of archaeological objects related to the culture of the peoples that are mentioned in the Jewish Scriptures are collected. The main gallery is divided into 21 sections, in chronological order. It presents precious jewelry, ceramics, samples of early writing, figurines, sarcophagi, models of ancient settlements and other artifacts. The museum also exhibits fascinating temporary exhibitions, seminars, lectures, concerts.
For children and fans of interactive exhibitions, a tour of the halls of this scientific museum will leave a lot of positive emotions. Here you can touch everything, examine it up close, experiment. The expositions are devoted to technologies, the laws of physics, the elements, electricity, construction and much more. There are swimming pools, sandboxes, computer exhibits, space and machine exhibits.
Museum of Jewish Heritage «Heykhal Shlomo»
The former building of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel today houses a rich collection dedicated to the life of the Jewish community. Here are collected exhibits of culture, life, religion, history of the people, there are paintings and sculptures. The main themes of the expositions are the times of the development of national self-consciousness, the Jerusalem milestone and the Holocaust.
Monastery of the Holy Cross
The temple is located in the central part of the city and is active. It is surrounded by high impregnable walls, and inside courtyards, a basilica, and household premises are available for visiting. There is a small museum on the territory. Of religious interest are icons and frescoes, a medallion depicting the Mother of God.
Church of All Nations
The construction of this Roman Catholic church was carried out at the beginning of the 20th century. But at the same time, the remains of more ancient religious buildings of the 4th and 12th centuries were found on its territory. The church has a breathtaking monumental dome, wall paintings with scenes from the Bible, an open altar and a mosaic depicting Jesus. Inside there is also a sacred stone, on which Christ prayed before the execution.
Many tourists consider this gate in the western part of the city wall to be one of the most attractive and majestic. They are decorated with towers with loopholes and beautifully decorated with ornaments. At the gate there is a museum, which stores artifacts found during excavations. Archaeologists have also discovered a number of underground galleries nearby. Several tourist routes around the city originate from the Damascus Gate, one of which allows you to climb the city wall.
On the outskirts of Jerusalem in Ein Karem, there is a monumental building of the last century. Once upon a time, about 200 nuns lived in this monastery, but today the house is designed for about 50 women. Of the well-known shrines, the stone from which John the Baptist preached is kept here. Many come to pray in front of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God.
Archaeological and historical sites
Western Wall Tunnel
The surviving Western Wall is open for viewing only for a length of 60 meters, and the rest of it (485 meters) is hidden underground. But you can get to know it during an underground tour under the quarters of the Old City. In the tunnel there is a cave synagogue, the remains of a canal and a reservoir for an ancient water supply system, a huge stone weighing more than 500 tons.
Memorial «Yad Vashem»
On the Mount of Memory there is a memorial complex dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust. Tourists will visit several separate buildings and halls. In the center of the structure is the Hall of Memory with the Eternal Flame and the burial of the remains of the victims. An obelisk was erected in honor of the soldiers who fought against fascism. The memorial dedicated to the millions of dead children evokes especially strong emotions. There is a thematic exhibition in the central House of Commons.
tower of david
Once it was a majestic citadel, but now only one of the towers has survived. Also, during the excavations, many artifacts from the era of King Solomon (about 3000 years ago) were recovered. The Museum of History functions on the territory of the fortress, and its courtyard has been turned into an archaeological park. In the evening, a fascinating laser show is held here, telling about the reign of King David and the historical milestones of Israel.
Davidson Center Archaeological Park
During excavations in the vicinity of the Temple Mount, many artifacts have been found, and some of them are more than 2,000 years old. You can see the finds at the Davidson Center. In order for visitors to fully immerse themselves in the historical atmosphere, the park is well equipped technically. The guide will give you a virtual tour, after which you can watch interesting thematic films.
City of David
The hill in the eastern part of the Old City, where the first Jewish state was founded, has now been elevated to the status of an archaeological park. Excavations are still ongoing. During a 2-3 hour tour, you can get acquainted with the ruins of buildings of the 13th century BC, the palace of David, the ancient water supply system, as well as climb the watchtower and go down into underground tunnels.
Ben Yehuda Street
One of the most popular secular and religious places in Jerusalem. Walking along this street, you can see many historical buildings and colorful courtyards. A lot of restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops and expensive boutiques are also concentrated here. In the evening and at night, passers-by are entertained by musicians and singers, small shows and performances are held.
An important cultural center of the city, where the Jerusalem International Film Festival takes place every summer. More than 1,200 films are shown annually in the cinema building, and about 33,000 foreign and national films are stored in its archive. Cinematica often hosts lectures, seminars, meetings with cultural figures and other educational events.
Mahane Yehuda Market
You can really get acquainted with the local flavor only here. Today it is not only one of the largest market squares in the city, where everything a tourist needs is sold. Visitors come here to see the street spray art on the walls, breathe in the surrounding atmosphere, and in the evening watch the performances of dancers, singers, musicians and actors.
Hebrew University Botanical Garden
It is located on Mount Scopus, and was founded in 1931. This is an ecological reserve, where different groups of flora representatives are collected. In the garden, collections of local plants are grown and preserved, species that were mentioned in the Bible, there are water and desert expositions. On the territory of the garden there is an ancient cave of Nicanor with the burial place of the builder of doors for the First Temple of Jerusalem.
In terms of attendance, this is one of the most popular attractions of the city and the country. About 250 species of animals live on the territory of 25 hectares. They are collected according to the principle of mention in the Holy Scriptures. For waterfowl and to create natural watering places, artificial ponds are organized.
Much attention is paid to the restoration of populations of endangered animal species. Here you can go hiking or take a ride on the train, which runs in a circle between the 2 levels of the zoo.
Promenade Haas Tayelet
On the ridge of Armona Khanetsive, a park has been ennobled, which is also an observation deck with amazing views of the city. From here you can clearly see the panorama of the Old City, the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives, and other religious revered places in Jerusalem. The landscape with green vegetation is complemented by benches, paths and places for a relaxing holiday.