- Jerusalem is a city located between the Mediterranean and Dead Sea, on a plateau in the Judaean Mountains. Claimed as their capital by both Palestinians and Israelis, Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world. With such a rich standing history, Jerusalem has many sights and experiences to offer all generations of traveler. One of the most well known and discussed sites to visit in Jerusalem is The Old City of Jerusalem. A walled area of only 0.35 square miles, the Old City was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 1981. The walls surrounding the Old City took four years to build, spanning from 1537 to 1541, when Jerusalem was part of the Ottoman Empire. Their purpose upon completion was to protect the city, though now they are one of the more popularly visited sites by visitors. The Old City contains many important religious sites, making the Old city even more of a place to visit on a trip to Jerusalem. One of the most well-known of these in Christianity is The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, nestled in the Christian quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. According to traditions dating back centuries, the church contains the two holiest sites in Christianity: the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, and Jesus’s empty tomb.
- The Old City isn’t just filled with sites pertaining to the significance of the Christian religion, but others as well. For example, The Temple Mount is a hill located within the Old City and is considered one of the holiest sites in the world in the Jewish, Islam, and Christian religions. Currently the site of Temple Mount contains three structures, including the Dome of the Rock, a well-known Islamic shrine. With mosaics modeled after churches and palaces in the area from the Byzantine era, the Dome of the Rock is a monument worth marveling at in person as it is sometimes referred to as Jerusalem’s most recognizable landmark. The Western Wall is also located in the Old City, and another popular landmark to see when in Jerusalem. Although only a small segment of what was once a much larger wall, it is considered holy due to its proximity and association with Temple Mount. Spending a day strolling through the Old City of Jerusalem would be both historical and cultural to visitors and residents from near and far. The Tower of David, also known as the Jerusalem Citadel, is another one of the most popular monuments in the Old City and in present day Jerusalem. Built on the site of an earlier ancient fortification the Tower of David dates back to the Ottoman period. Inside its walls are archeological finds dating back hundreds of years. The Citadel is often used as an event space for concerts, craft fairs, and light shows.
- The Citadel is also home to the Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem. Opened in 1989 the museum spans through multiple corridors of the Citadel, and focuses on the history of Jerusalem both past and present. The museum stages temporary exhibitions that highlight the unique and incredible location of the museum. It uses interactive technology, including games and apps for children to better enrich the visitor experience along with their traditional activities. The Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem also hosts a light and sound show, and is the only one of its kind in the world. This museum should definitely be on your list of activities when taking a trip to Jerusalem. Another educational and important experience that should not be missed in Jerusalem is Yad Vashem, a holocaust remembrance museum. Its main purpose is being dedicated to preserving the dead and honoring the Jewish who fought against their oppressors. It also highlights research on the phenomenon of the Holocaust, and genocide, with the aim to prevent further events similar from happening again. Yad Vashem, located on the western slope of Mount Herzl, is the second most visited Israeli tourist site.
- For fun for the whole family, the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, also known as the Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem, is a great way to spend an afternoon on your trip. Located in the Malha neighborhood of Jerusalem, it is famously known for its collection of zoo animals featured in the Hebrew Bible. It is also renowned for its successful breeding of endangered species. The park itself is landscaped with many native plant life to Israel, much of which are mentioned in the bible. A beautiful lake sits in the center of the zoo, and an artificial waterfall titled Moses’ Rock is one of the water features that feeds into the lake. A visitor and information center shaped like a boat, alluding to Noah’s Ark, also contains a gift shop as well as an auditorium, art gallery, snack bar, and computers for research and information on the animals located in the zoo. The zoo is home to over 200 different species of animals, including birds, reptiles, and fish as well as mammals. For an in-depth look at the lives and cultures of the peoples mentioned in the Bible, the Bible Lands Museum should be your next stop in Jerusalem. The museum puts the various peoples of the bible, including ancient Egyptians, Arameans, Persians, and Philistines among others, in a historical context. The main gallery contains hundreds of artifacts, ranging from idols and coins, to documents and weapons. Spend the day learning about the histories of others through art, artifacts, and verse.
- A landmark of Jerusalem, the Montefiore Windmill should also be on your list of historical sites to visit in Jerusalem. Built in 1857 and originally designed as a flour mill, the Montefiore Windmill serves today as a museum dedicated to the achievements of Moses Montefiore, who was influential in the building of both the windmill and the Jewish neighborhood of Mishkenot Sha’ananim. The windmill itself has undergone extensive renovation, and is a popularly visited museum for its smaller size. To get some of the hustle and bustle of Jerusalem, make sure to check out the Mahane Yehuda Market. Often referred to as “The Shuk,” this market is a staple of Jerusalem to both residents and visitors. With other 250 vendors and stalls selling fruits, vegetables, fish, housewares, spices, and wines to name a few, the Mahane Yehuda Market is an exciting place. One of the qualities that makes it so boisterous is that the vendors call out their prices as you pass, making the market roar! It is here that you can eat many different foods, like falafel, shawarma, baklava, and even kibbeh which are staples in the food and religious culture of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is a place that every traveler should have the opportunity to visit, and thanks to Educational Travel Services your Jerusalem vacation dreams can come true.