Jerusalem Travel Guide

Jerusalem Summary

Pros

  • Some of the most important holy sights in the word, for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
  • The Temple Mount, an important Jewish and Islamic sight that's home to the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock
  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where many believe Jesus was crucified (the location is debated)
  • The Old City, with Ottoman-era stone walls; Christian, Jewish, and Muslim quarters; and numerous markets
  • Excellent Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and kosher cuisine
  • Mount of the Olives, where Jesus is believed to have ascended to heaven

Cons

  • Long history of religious and territorial conflict that continues today
  • Generally safe city in terms of crime, but there have been past terrorist attacks
  • Some holy sights only open to a specific religion
  • Dress codes for certain sights and areas of the city

What It's Like

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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Facts

Language: Hebrew, Arabic
Airport: Ben Gurion Airport
Peak: July - August
Off-Peak: November - February
Currency: Israeli new shekel
Electricity: 220 V, 50 Hz
Tipping: 10-12% in restaurants
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