Jerusalem, a city with a rich history, which has managed for centuries to attract both believers and tourists alike, despite the security restrictions and the conflict situation at the diplomatic level. In addition to its religious side, Jerusalem is a real archaeological treasure but also a city with a rich art, the one that managed to be reborn from the ashes dozens of times throughout history.
The name of the city, “Jerusalem”, has its origins in the Hebrew language, ir – city and salom – peace; what else but peace could reconcile the pride of the believers coming from the three great monotheistic religions of the world? Thus, Jerusalem is a landmark for Christians, as it houses the Holy Sepulcher of Jesus Christ, a landmark for Muslims as well, as here is the rock from which Muhammad ascended to heaven , but also for Jews, as here is the Wailing Wall – a place of prayer and pilgrimage.
That is why, loaded with history and religious meanings, a city break in Jerusalem will actually be a pilgrimage to one of the most sacred places in the world, a place with a charge of fantastic energy, revered by millions of people and energetically charged by the same millions of people. At the same time, a city break in Jerusalem can be an opportunity to visit the many tourist attractions here, of which we have made a selection of the most important and grouped them into the Top 05 tourist attractions in Jerusalem.
1. Temple Mount – Har HaBayit (for Jews) or Haram Al-Sharif (for Muslims)
Worshiped by Christians, Jews and Muslims alike, Haram Al-Sharif or the Temple Mount attracts like a magnet millions of tourists who revere it as a true sacred place.
Known to Muslims as Haram Al-Sharif and to Jews as Har HaBayit , the Temple Mount is an iconic place both for the faithful and for those who come here to admire it in peace, as tourists, not religiously involved.
This is the place where it is said that Abraham offered God his only son, as a sacrifice, the place where Solomon built the First Temple of the Ark of the Covenant, the one that would have contained the first ten commandments received by Moses on Mount Sinai, but also the place in where it is believed that the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.
The Temple Mount is perhaps the most representative place in Jerusalem, both due to its religious importance and the views it offers over the Old City. Under the golden dome you will find the sacred stone, an important element for both Muslims and Jews. This would indicate the exact place where Abraham would have offered his only son to God, but also the place from where the Prophet Muhammad began his journey to heaven. The southern part of the Haram Al-Sharif hosts the Al-Aqsa Mosque , which is said to be one of the oldest mosques in the world.
2. The Wailing Wall and the Jewish Quarter
The Wailing Wall is another place revered by Jews from all over the world, its significance is due to the fact that this is the only remaining part of Solomon’s Temple and receiving this name precisely because of the people’s lamentation for the loss of the temple in the year 70.
Solomon’s temple was built in the 10th century BC and destroyed in 586 BC by the Babylonians. After 70 years from the first destruction, the temple was rebuilt (year 516 BC) and after that, in the time of Herod the Great, an extensive work was initiated to expand the second Temple by setting up a huge plateau, four walls being erected around the building to support the edifice.
Today, the Wailing Wall is actually the western wall of that building, which had a supporting role for the original temple.
This part of the Old City, where the Western Wall is located, was destroyed during the Arab-Israeli fighting in 1948, but was rebuilt starting in 1967.
An important point of attraction for history lovers is the Archaeological Park in Jerusalem; at the southern end of the plateau, archaeologists have discovered fascinating remains of ancient Jerusalem. The Wailing Wall is only 60 meters long, the rest of the wall of about 500 meters continues in the West Tunnels, which introduce you to the world of the underground city
For a truly unique experience, we recommend you to visit the Wall of Pangeria during the Sabbath, from Friday evening to Saturday morning, when the Jews gather on the huge plateau and celebrate as they should, reading, dancing to the music of traditional Jewish songs.
Also at the Wailing Wall, various traditional events take place every day; on monday and thursday the religious coming of age takes place – boys who have reached the age of 13 or first graders receive their first bible, a real moment for Jewish families.
If you arrive here, you will notice the tickets from the Wailing Wall – it is a practice of the pilgrims who arrive here. They write their wishes on a note and place them between the stone blocks. These tickets are collected twice a year, before Easter and before the Jewish New Year, and are buried on the Mount of Olives .
3. Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Church of the Resurrection)
For Christian pilgrims, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is perhaps the most sacred place in Jerusalem, being built on the place where Jesus Christ was crucified and buried. It is said that the place to build the church was chosen by Empress Elena – the mother of Constantine the Great, during a visit to the Holy Land. Here, every year, on Easter, the ceremony of lighting the Holy Light takes place, which is then sent to the whole world for the Christian faithful.
The original church, which was built in 335 AD, was destroyed in 1009, and the large church, the one you can still see today, built on the site of the old church, dates from the 11th century.
If you arrive here, you will discover the most precious places of the Christians, among which Mount Golgotha, the Holy Sepulcher , and below, in the stone rock, is the place where Empress Elena discovered the Cross of the Lord.
4. The Armenian Quarter
The Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem is one of the four quarters of the city. It is located in the southwest of the old city and you can visit it by entering through both the Zion Gate and the Jaffa Gate . The presence of Armenians in Jerusalem dates back to the 5th century, when Armenia adopted Christianity as its national religion. Many people arrived here during the Ottoman Empire and after the Armenian massacres that have taken place in Turkey since the beginning of the 20th century. It is said to be the oldest Armenian community in the diaspora today.
Armenian Patriarch Road is the main street that will lead you inside the neighborhood. Following the narrow paths you will discover the Cathedral of St. James – the one that hosts the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Chapel of St. Mark .
5. Via Dolorosa
The Via Dolorosa or the Way of the Cross as it is also called is for many Christian pilgrims the highlight of a visit to Jerusalem. This road covers the route of Jesus Christ with the cross behind him towards his execution on Mount Golgotha. The route starts from the Porta Sfantului Archdeacon Stefan , in the Muslim quarter, and continues to climb gently for about one kilometer to Mount Golgotha , where the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is also located.
The Church in Jerusalem divided the Way of the Cross into 14 stops , each of which has an important meaning. The first 9 stops take place along the route, in the city, while the last 5 are inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Each of these 14 stops is marked along the route with an iron plate that includes the number of the stop and from place to place the road is marked in three languages: English, Hebrew and Arabic. A major interest from a tourist point of view is the Flagellarii Chapel , which you will find at the second station, built on the place where it is believed that Jesus was scourged.