The 13 best places to visit in Jerusalem

 

Established in 1953 in the west of the city on the slopes of Mount Herzi, referred to as the Mount Of Remembrance, is the Yad Vashem, Israel's official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. With free admission to all visitors the Yad Vashem is the second most visited tourist site in Israel.

Pictured is the Hall Of Names.

13. Yad Vashem

 

Completed in 1888 on the Mount Of Olives is the Russian Orthodox Church Of Mary Magdalene. This beautifully constructed traditional 17th century Russian church building with it's seven gilded domes is one of the cities most unexpected religious constructions.  

12. Church Of Mary Magdalene

 

Discovered in 1854 underneath the Muslim Quarter in the old city is an underground limestone quarry that runs the length of five city blocks. Carved by slaves and stonemasons over several thousand years, visitors can enter for a small fee and follow the man made paths through every inch of this most revered Freemason site.

11. Zedekiah's Cave

 

Extending from the Dead Sea, through the Judaean Desert into the heart of Jerusalem, separating the Temple Mount from the Mount Of Olives is a natural recess known as the Kidron Valley. It is nearest the city where visitors will find the most important part of the valley, dotted with an array of historically important rock hewn tombs.

Pictured is the Benei Hazir Tomb and Tomb of Zechariah.

10. Kidron Valley

 

Built in the 11th century to the west of the old city in the Valley Of The Cross is the Monastery Of The Cross, the supposed burial site of Adam's head, from which grew a tree that gave the wood for the cross on which Jesus was crucified. Beyond all the legend lies an actual church, it's interior adorned with colourfully detailed artworks and mosaics among the most beautiful in the city along with the nearby St. James Cathedral.

9. Monastery Of The Cross

 

To the east of the city centre, adjacent to the old city of Jerusalem is an 826 metre (2,710 ft) mountain ridge known as the Mount Of Olives, named from the olive groves that once covered it. In pre-history it was the site of the Silwan Necropolis, an ancient Judean Kingdom from the 9th century BC, the remnants of it's ancient monoliths are considered an archaeological site of incredible importance. In Biblical terms the Mount Of Olives was mentioned numerous times, described as the location from which Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, as such the site has been a place of Christian worship for around two thousand years.

8. Mount Of Olives

 

When entering the walled old city of Jerusalem visitors will have to pass through one of it's eight gates, the ninth having been blocked up waiting for the arrival of the Messiah. In order of age the gates are named as follows: the 6th century Golden Gate, the 12th century Tanner's Gate, the 16th century Jaffa Gate, Lion's Gate, Zion's Gate, Damascus Gate, Dung Gate, the 19th century Herod's Gate and the aptly named New Gate. Everything within the old walls of Jerusalem including the walls and gates themselves have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pictured is the sealed Golden Gate, otherwise known as the Gate Of Mercy or the Eastern Gate.

7. The Gates Of Jerusalem

 

Within the old walled city of Jerusalem, located on the Temple Mount is the Al Aqsa Mosque, the third most holy site in Islam. Known by Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif or The 'Noble Sanctuary' it was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 736 AD, what stands there today having been completely rebuilt in 1035 AD. Though the surrounding area is under Israeli control, this huge mosque of incredible historical and religious importance is under the jurisdiction of Jordan and Palestine.

6. Al Aqsa Mosque

 

South of the walled old city is the 765 metre (2,510 ft) infamous Mount Zion, a notable ancient landmark covered in structures of historic importance. Among the most important sites on Mount Zion include the 5th century Benedictine Dormition Abbey, the Room Of The Last Supper and King David's Tomb, considered by many to be the last resting place of the second king of Israel, one of the holiest sites in the Jewish faith.

5. Mount Zion

 

Consecrated in 335 AD is the Church Of The Resurrection, more commonly known as the Church Of The Holy Sepulchre. According to historical traditions the church contains two of the holiest sites in Christianity; Golgotha, the site where Jesus Christ was crucified, and his empty tomb where he is said to have been buried before his resurrection. Another interesting sight on the church is a small wooden ladder that has remained in place under the main window since the 18th century, known as the 'Immovable Ladder'. Symbolically it is there to remain in place until the different divisions of the Christian Church develop closer understanding, and until that time the ladder must never be moved.

4. Church Of The Holy Sepulchre

 

Built by Herod The Great around 19 BC as part of the Second Jewish Temple, the Western Wall is the last remaining part of the ancient Temple Mount walls and one of the holiest sites in the Jewish faith. Though considered Muslim property as it falls within the Muslim Quarter of the city the right of Jewish prayer exists as part of the Status Quo ruling over religious significant sites within Jerusalem. The Western Wall is the most visited site in the city, as well as the entirety of Israel and Palestine.

3. Western Wall

 

Within the old city walls in the Armenian Quarter is one of the most prominent sites in the city, the Jerusalem Citadel, otherwise known as the Tower of David. Built in the 5th century by Byzantine Christians who believed the site to be the location of the original palace of King David, this medieval fortress that has been expanded over the centuries has remained a symbol of the city. From the height of the tall towers the Citadel offers visitors breathtaking views over the four quarters of the old city, the new city, the Mount of Olives, Mount Scopus and the Judean Desert.

2. Tower Of David

 

On the eastern side within the old walled city lies 'The Mount Of The House Of God', known to Muslims as the Haram Esh-Sharif and to the world as the Temple Mount, one of the most important religious sites on Earth. It has been a holy site for thousands of years, with temples built and destroyed throughout the centuries. At present the site is dominated by three monumental structures, The Al Aqsa Mosque, The Dome Of The Chain and the Dome Of The Rock. With dual claims from both Islam and Judaism, it is one of the most contested religious sites in the world and a major focal point of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

The Dome of The Rock was built in 691 AD and is undoubtedly the most recognisable structure within Jerusalem. One of the oldest works of Islamic architecture, in the middle of the Temple Mount within the Muslim Quarter it has at it's centre the Foundation Stone above the Well Of Souls, the holiest of holies within the Jewish faith.

1. Temple Mount & Dome Of The Rock

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