Jerusalem Travel Overview
Christianity, Judaism and Islam all consider Jerusalem to be the central to their respective faiths. Jerusalem is the home of numerous holy sites, that are the focal point to three different religions. For generations, followers of these religions have descended on the city in order to explore their roots and deepen their faith. A beautiful panoramic view of the city can be seen from the Mount of Olives. Many pilgrims will walk the Palm Sunday route from the Mount of Olives down to the Garden of Gethsemene and the Church of the Agony. Other sites in the area include the Church of the Ascension. The mosques of Islam including the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque lie on the plaza that once contained the Jewish Temples and which Jews and Christians refer to as the Temple Mount. The Mount is also known as Mount Moriah, and is the traditional site of where Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac. Jesus’s footsteps are walked by millions of pilgrims who visit the Stations of the Cross situated along the Via Dolorosa, Jesus’s final path leading up to his crucifixion and adjacent and/or surrounding which are numerous churches including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, St. Anne’s, St. James, Ecco Homo, and numerous others serving each of Christianity’s affiliations. Other important Christian holy sites include the many sites situated on Mount Zion including the Cenacle or Upper Room or Room of the Last Supper and Dormition Church,. A very important site for believers visit the Garden Tomb which lies outside the walls of the Old City but near to the Via Maris. This site is considered by believers to be the final resting place of Jesus before he rose and many tour groups will partake in a communion service at this site.
Jerusalem’s old city consists of four major quarters,the Jewish Quarter (entered through the Dung Gate), Moslem Quarter (entered through the Damascus Gate and Herod’s Gate), the Christian Quarter (primarily entered through the New Gate or the Jaffa Gate) and the Armenian Quarter (primarily entered through the Jaffa Gate). There is also a very small Indian Quarter as well.
The Old City of Jerusalem and the surrounding area is home to many Old Testament sites including the Western Wall, the City of David, Tower of David along with others including the Southern Walls of the Temple which can be visited inside the Jerusalem Archaeological Park along with the Davidson Center Museum.
Exciting attractions that should be reserved in advance include the Western Wall tunnels, the Hezekiah’s Tunnel, City of David archaeological sifting, Sound and Light show at the David Tower as well as the new light show at the City of David, among others. For those seeking an active visit to Jerusalem, the city also offers many segway, bike and walking tours. Families can enjoy a Jerusalem Old city of New city scavenger hunt. The Friends of Zion Museum, situated in downtown Jerusalem is an inspiring audiovisual exploration of Christian personalities that have had a tremendous impact on the Jewish people in Israel.
Important museum sites of interest include Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Rememberance Museum, the Islamic Museum as well as Israel Museum which is home to the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Holy Land Model of Jerusalem during the Second Temple Period.
Famous markets include the Old city shuk as well as the Machene Yehuda market.
The approach to Jerusalem from any direction one must ascend, and the city’s limestone glow is always awe-inspiring.
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I do not set Jerusalem above my chiefest joy.” (Psalms 137:5-6)
The Arab Souk– Wandering around the Old City you are almost certain to pass the Arab market. The heart of the market is the area on David Street which is easily accessed from the Jaffa Gate. Many souvenir shops offering Christian, Jewish and Moslem souvenirs as well as clothing and household goods are situated here. Definitely worth a look! Other areas within the market include the Meat market, the spice market and the many bakeries and humus shops. Abu Shukri and Lina’s are two known humus restaurants that are extremely popular and Zabatimo is a famous bakery situated near the Church of the Holy Seplulchre that sells Arabic specialty pastries..
Machane Yehudah Market-Machene Yehuda is one of Jerusalem’s more colorful venues attracting 10’s of thousands of tourists and locals weekly. Known locally as, The Shuk, because it’s the largest shuk in Jerusalem it is a partically covered outdoor market that encompasses a small neighborhood situated between Yafo and Aggripas. And don’t miss Marzipan’s world famous rugelach or Rachmans Kurdish kibbe!
For more information about booking a tour to the Holy Land please contact us!