Jerusalem
Israel
By Lauren Kmec

Jerusalem, Israel, is one of the oldest cities on Earth; in fact, it appears at the center of the world in some ancient maps. Jerusalem is a very sacred place in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, so every year, millions of devoted pilgrims flock to this city to visit its most holy sites. Despite the fact that Israel declared Jerusalem as its capital in 1950, it is not internationally recognized as such. Nevertheless, all branches of the Israeli government are located here.

For you next vacation, WhatsCheaper.com recommends a trip to Jerusalem. Flights will arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV), located outside the city of Tel Aviv, ~50 minutes from Jerusalem (by car). Israel Railways offers train service to and from the airport. Let WhatsCheaper.com assist in booking your flight today (http://www.whatscheaper.com/flight.php). WhatsCheaper.com can also recommend a number of hotels to suit any budget; follow this link (http://www.whatscheaper.com/hotel.php) to review our favorites.

Once you have arrived, WhatsCheaper.com encourages you to explore the Old City, a walled compound that comprised the entire city of Jerusalem until the 1860s. The Old City is made up of four quarters: Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and Armenian sections—distinctions that exist to this day. WhatsCheaper.com suggests starting in the Muslim Quarter, where you will find the strikingly beautiful Dome of the Rock, the third holiest site in the Islamic tradition. The sacred black rock under the dome is the place where the prophet Mohammed is said to have ascended to heaven. The Dome of the Rock is perched atop Mount Moriah (sometimes referred to as the Temple Mount), the site where King Solomon’s famous temple once stood.

Next, stroll into the Jewish Quarter, wherein lies the Western Wall (or Wailing Wall), the most sacred site to followers of Judaism. This wall is all that remains of the once-majestic Second Temple of Jerusalem. It is divided into two sections for prayer; one for men and one for women. Both sides of the Western Wall are almost constantly surrounded by devout worshipers, who often follow the tradition of leaving notes and prayers tucked into the wall’s crevices.

The Christian Quarter’s most popular feature is the route taken by Jesus leading up to his crucifixion. This route (aka the “Via Dolorosa,” meaning “road of sorrow”) begins at the Lion’s Gate and proceeds through the Muslim and Christian Quarters; leading up to what is now the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Located on Calvary Hill, this church was built on the very spot where Jesus was killed, buried, and resurrected.

Although the Armenian Quarter is the smallest of the Old City’s four quadrants, it is not without character and an appeal all its own. This quarter is home to the Armenian Museum, which honors the culture of the Armenian people, the Church and Monastery of St. James, and the many colorful markets and local shops.

The Old City is overflowing with historic sites, but there is plenty to see outside its walls too. WhatsCheaper.com recommends Yad Vashem, the world’s most famous holocaust museum, which sits on Jerusalem’s western edge. Yad Vashem’s exhibits are quite poignant, with indoor and outdoor memorials, museum-style displays, and a research center. We also encourage tourists to visit the Israel Museum, which boasts remarkable displays of art, archaeology, and anthropology. Highlights include the Shrine of the Book (where the Dead Sea Scrolls are preserved), the Ethnography and Judaica wing, and the Art Garden.

Finally, WhatsCheaper.com suggests a visit to the City of David, located south of the Old City in walking distance from the Western Wall. This is the place where King David officially founded the kingdom of Jerusalem in 1004 B.C.E. Today, the City of David is one of the most popular attractions in Jerusalem, as it is the true birthplace of the city. Wander among the ruins to the Tunnel of Shiloh, a 533-meter-long water channel extending from the City of David to the well at Shiloh. Today, visitors can walk through the tunnel, which is still partially filled with water.

There is so much to see and do in the holy city of Jerusalem; a short article simply does not do it justice. Let WhatsCheaper.com help you plan a trip to this ancient city so that you too can walk along the hallowed ground.

MUST SEE IN Jerusalem LIST:

  • 1. Dome of the Rock
  • 2. Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum
  • 3. Western Wall
  • 4. City of David Visitors Center
  • 5. Garden Tomb
  • 6. Hezekiah's Tunnels
  • 7. Mar Saba
  • 8. Old City
  • 9. Art Garden at the Israel Museum
  • 10. Hecht Synagogue

Jerusalem EVENT CALENDAR:

  • 1. Orthodox Christmas - January
  • 2. Jerusalem International Book Fair - February
  • 3. Holocaust Martyrs' & Heroes' Rememberance Day - April
  • 4. Jerusalem Day - May
  • 5. Israeli Festival - June
  • 6. Jerusalem Film Festival - July
  • 7. Rosh Hashana - September
  • 8. Feast of Tabernacles - October
  • 9. Ramadan - November
  • 10. Chanukah - December

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