WHAT ARE THE BEST PLACES TO SEE IN JERUSALEM?
Jerusalem is a big and ancient city. I love that feeling of stepping into a city and just getting swept to another time and another culture.
Israel is the perfect place for travelers looking for a history bath, and Jerusalem in particular. Although everyone knows a bit about the Jewish heritage of this city, you really need to be there to understand how religions and history are intertwined here, and to realize how much these things still matter today!
The Old City District is, by itself, enough to spend a week wandering and wondering about those old walls and buildings. To make sure you don’t miss the most beautiful and breathtaking places in Jerusalem, follow this quick guide!
1 |Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock is the most iconic place in Jerusalem, and maybe even in the whole of Israel. You can see the big shiny golden roof from many places in the city (a great tool when you get lost).
Standing at the top of Temple Mount, this Muslim building is surrounded by a whole plaza of incredible religious significance. The Dome of the Rock is truly the heart of the Old City, you just can’t go to Jerusalem and miss it!
2 |Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Contrary to popular belief, Jerusalem is not only about Jewish culture. In fact, what makes the city so fascinating is that it’s a crossroad for so many religions. As an example, the Christian Quarter was built around the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The place is often packed with pilgrims, as it’s said that this is where Jesus was crucified.
Whatever your religious beliefs, it makes the place very moving. Plus, the architecture inside is absolutely breathtaking! Light is streaming dome through many arches, creating an out-of-this-world atmosphere under this big dome. Everything around you is decorated with shiny gold that reflects the light … Magical!
3 | The Citadel
The Citadel is sometimes better known as The Tower of David, although it has nothing to do with David himself. This building, standing out among green little gardens, looks good from a distance, but also provides an amazing point of view!
If you have the courage to climb up all the stairs to the top, you’ll get one of the best views over the Old City. At night, there’s often a sound and light show, making the whole area even more dreamy!
4 | Western Wall
The Western Wall is better known as the Wailing Wall and is one of the places everyone wants to see in Jerusalem. What tourists don’t always expect is that people still pray by that wall.
Although it’s hard to define a piece of old wall as beautiful, the presence of all that history and faith is certainly breathtaking. There’s also the possibility of exploring the tunnels of the Western Walls. These will bring you underground back to the level of the old city, a must for any history fan!
5 |Damascus Gate
The Old City is accessible through nine gates that come through the ancient fortifications of the city. As I already said, the whole Old City and its walls deserve a viewing. But if you have only time for one, choose the Damascus Gate. This gate is the most beautiful and the most famous of the nine and is still standing in very good condition.
Another interesting way to explore the fortifications is to walk on top of them, giving you an impressive view of the city. From these crenelated walls, you’ll get a full understanding of the organization of the districts and of the Old City of Jerusalem!
6 | Mount of Olives
Mount of Olives looks like it just landed from ancient Greece. Traditionally, it’s believed to be the place where God will rise from on Judgment Day. The Church of the Ascension stands on top of that sacred hill and is a great reward after the climb to get up there.
The view from the top is, indeed, pretty incredible, as you can see the whole of Jerusalem lying in front of you! Aside from this breathtaking view, Mount of Olives is one of Jerusalem’s best spot, a green and fresh place that seems to stand completely outside of time and city life.
7 | Kidron Valley
A bit further from the heart of the city is Kidron Valley. This very ancient place lies between Mount of Olives and Mount Zion and is well worth the trip. Basically, the Kidron Valley is the oldest part of the city and the most historical and mystical place in Jerusalem. In fact, archeologists are still trying to understand its secrets right now, even after years of working on this unbelievable area.
When you get to the Kidron Valley, you might forget that you’re in a city at all, and feel more like an adventurer looking for long buried treasures in the desert. Nearby, the Pool of Siloam is another highly significant place. Jesus healed a blind man there, so who knows what it could do to you if you try and take a dip?
That’s our seven, and it was very hard to choose so few in a city so full of history and incredible architecture. If you want to really understand the stories behind these old stones, the best option might be to take a tour focusing on the Jewish heritage of the city.
Jerusalem is not only the capital of the country but also its beating heart, the crossroad of so many cultures and the birthplace of so much history. Clearly, trips to Israel can not be complete without a thorough exploration of Jerusalem, and that’s just the truth!