Jerusalem Travel Guide

Welcome to our Jerusalem travel guide, a guide to one of the most unique cities in the world!

Jerusalem - A Unique City

Why is this city unique? Well, besides all the amazing religious sites (which I will describe in more detail below), Jerusalem just has a very strong “feel” to it. You definitely can’t ignore this while touring the city streets.

Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world! It dates back over 5,000 years. The city is the capital of Israel and the largest city. It has religious significance to Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Click here for a map of the city…

Due to the importance of the city and the many sites with religious and historical significance, it is a very popular destination for both religious and non-religious travelers. Personally, I believe it is an unmatched destination compared to other world cities. Now as an Israeli I may be biased, but when you get there I think you will agree with me.

You could probably spend weeks touring the sites in the city. However - realizing that you will probably spend only a few days there - I tried to narrow it down for you in this Jerusalem travel guide.

A good place to start your adventure is the Mount of Olives, which offers a perfect view of the Old City. While on the Mount of Olives you can check out one or more of the beautiful churches there, such as the Dominus Flevit and Basilica of Agony (also known as The Church of all Nations), and you can visit the nearby Gethsemane Garden.

Before I continue with Jerusalem's main tourist attractions, a quick tip for visiting the city: I do recommend that you take a guided tour. For the reasons explained on that page, a guided tour, which usually means a group, a guide and a bus, is a much better way to go, especially if this is your first time in Israel.

Major Religious Sites

The Western Wall

This is one Jewish holy site you wouldn’t want to miss. Also known as the Wailing Wall or the Kotel - a Hebrew word meaning simply "the wall." It is believed to be the only remains of the temple originally built by King Solomon. The wall is widely regarded as the holiest place in Judaism. In my Western Wall page you can find more information and pictures.

A religious Jew praying at the Western WallA religious Jew praying at the Western Wall. You can see the many notes between the cracks on the right.

Over the years a custom has formed in which visitors to the Western Wall place notes between the cracks in the wall. The notes are very personal and usually consist of prayers/wishes/requests of the person writing them. You too can do this when you visit. 

While you are visiting the Kotel, I would strongly recommend visiting the Western Wall Tunnel – you will be amazed at what you will see underground.

The Jewish Quarter has a few other interesting sites such as the Cardo and the Burnt House.

The Tomb of King David on Mount Zion is another major Jewish attraction.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

If you are looking for beautiful and important churches, Jerusalem has plenty to offer.

By far the most important is this church. Sepulchre means a burial vault, or simply put, it is a room with a grave. It is believed by most Christians and researchers that Jesus was buried in this place.

This church is without doubt the holiest Christian site in the world. If, while in Jerusalem, you plan to visit only one church – I recommend you visit this one.

5 of the 14 stations along the Via Dolorosa are inside this church. Each of these stations is important in Christianity as their location is along the last route Jesus walked.

Click here for more information about the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and to view more pictures.

The Garden Tomb is an alternative burial place for Jesus - but most Christians and researchers disagree and stick to the above-mentioned Holy Sepulchre as the authentic and true burial place.

Another major Christian site is the Room of the Last Supper.

The Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosques

These are two mosques (Muslim prayer houses) that stand in proximity to one another. The Dome of the Rock is the oldest Islamic building in the world - completed in 691.

The Al-aqsa mosque is believed by Muslims to be the place from which the prophet Muhammad rode to heaven on a flying horse.

The Dome of the Rock is a spectacular building, and its dome is covered with some 80 kilograms (approximately 150 pounds) of gold.

Dome of the Rock, Old City of Jerusalem
Dome of the Rock, Old City of Jerusalem
Hanan Isachar
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If you are not a Muslim you won’t be able to visit the inside of the mosques. However, you can still visit the temple mount - the compound which hosts those two mosques.

The Old City in Jerusalem

A store in Jerusalem's old cityA narrow store in the old city selling jewelry, silverware and other knick knacks

And finally, our Jerusalem travel guide would not be complete without the old city... The old city is an amazing experience, especially if you are coming from a western country. The sights, smells, the narrow streets and the market make you feel like you are visiting the “old world.”

The old city has 7 active gates. It is divided into 4 quarters - Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Armenian.

Take a walk along the Via Dolorosa, which is the path Jesus walked carrying the cross.

Visit the flea market and don’t be shy to negotiate prices for items you like. And generally just try to absorb the unique atmosphere. I hope you will enjoy your experience as much as I did.

By the way, Jerusalem is just as beautiful at dusk and in the evening as it is in the day:

Moon over the Dome of the Rock and Mount Olives in Jerusalem, Israel
Moon over the Dome of the Rock and Mount Olives in Jerusalem, Israel
Richard Nowitz
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Hope you are enjoying and learning a lot from our Jerusalem travel guide... here's to an amazing trip to this unique and ancient city!

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