Jerusalem is best-known as a holy city for Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and this status has resulted in a fascinating mix (and clash) of cultures. Jews, Christians, and Muslims have all left their mark on this city, and all three populations still live in Jerusalem today.
The Old City, Jerusalem’s main tourist destination, is surrounded by Ottoman-era stone walls and divided into three historic quarters: The Christian Quarter, the Jewish Quarter, and the Muslim Quarter. The stone corridors are home to numerous markets and colorful displays; some sections are open to the sky and some are covered by vaulted stone ceilings. Jerusalem’s two most important sights are located within the Old City: The Temple Mount (home to the Dome of the Rock); and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where many believe Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected (though this is debated). Another important religious site, the Mount of the Olives – where Jesus is believed to have ascended to heaven, and later, a Jewish cemetery – is located just to the east of the Old City.
The Old City offers excellent shopping for jewelry, spices, clothing, and souvenirs. For major retail stores, the open-air Alrov Mamila Avenue is a major shopping arcade with views of the Old City. Visitors will find plenty of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine in Jerusalem, and there is no shortage of kosher options or falafel stands.
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