10 Must-see Sites in Jerusalem
The top three must-see sites in Jerusalem are associated with the 3 monotheistic religions that make up Jerusalem's religious fabric: 1) the Western Wall (Judaism), 2) the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Christianity) and 3) the Haram el Sharif, with the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque (Islam).
Here are 7 other sites not to be missed.
4) For a unique view of Jerusalem, take the Ramparts Walk starting at Jaffa Gate where you actually walk on the stone walls built in 1537 by the Ottoman Turkish sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, for a bird’s eye view of the city. Check out the 8 gates in the city walls.
5) Visit the Church of Santa Anna in the White Father's compound, the ruins of a Byzantine church and a Crusader chapel resting on a dike between two pools (there's no water in them today). This is where Jesus performed one of the two miracles he did in Jerusalem, curing the cripple of 38 years. The Crusader church has incredible acoustics (try it out by singing Amazing Grace or other liturgical melody).
6) Visit the archaeological park at the Davidson Center and see the massive stones that were hurled down onto the Herodian street by the Romans, and the steps to the Temple Mount where Jesus would have walked, the Ummayad palaces from the Early Arab period, and Byzantine and Crusader ruins.
7) Reserve a Western Wall Tunnel tour and see a model of King Herod's Second Temple and walk 488 meters under the city along the Western Wall on the Herodian street to the spot closest to the Holy of Holies, the holiest site to Judaism.
8) Tour the ancient City of David to understand the importance of water in the history of Jerusalem. Bring “water” shoes and a flashlight and walk 45 minutes through Hezekiah’s Tunnel, a manmade canyon cut in the limestone with water up to your knees - quite an experience. The tunnel brought the water of the Gihon Spring to the Siloam Pool, where Jesus performed the miracle of the blind man, inside the walls of the city.
9) The new Israel Museum is open after extensive renovations – the Archaeology wing has been completely redone, the Ethnography section has been expanded and the Art gallery includes a new section on Israeli art. The museum includes the Shrine of the Book, where the Dead Sea Scrolls and other artefacts from Qumran are on display. Walk around and enjoy the Billy Rose sculpture garden designed by the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi.
10) Take a guided tour of the Mahane Yehuda Market; more than an outdoor vegetable market, this is a great place to walk around to get a feel for the characters and local cuisines of Jerusalem.
And a few ideas specifically for Easter tourists: One of the hills that makes up Jerusalem is Mount Zion, which is the location of the Coenaculum or Room of the Last Supper; east of the city, in the Kidron Valley, is the Garden of Gethsemane; and of course, the Via Dolorosa winds its way through Jerusalem city to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Thank you, Schmuel, for all the work you put into creating this thoughtful and engaging list for our readers. If anyone would like to learn more about Schmuel and his Archaeology, Art and Architecture, Religion, History and Culture, Nature, and Hiking tours around Jerusalem, please contact him here: Private Israeli Guide.