Jerusalem is the capital and the holiest city in Israel, with over 3.5 million tourist ever year.
Despite being an ancient city, it is a vibrant and full of life. Here, old meets new and ancient meets modern, every where you turn.
While the Old City is filled with religious and ancient sites, the new city is captivating with eateries, shops, and street fairs.
Jerusalem is my favorite city in the world and is a unique experience.
- Old City
- Modern City
- Things to Do in Jerusalem
The Old City of Jerusalem is the original ancient city which is encompasses by protective walls.
It’s most notable attraction is the Western Wall, also known as the Kotel HaMaaravi. This is the closest Jews can pray to where Holy Temple that once stood on the Temple Mount.
However, the Old City holds many historical gems including the Cardo and Herodian Quarter.
Not to mention centuries old synagogues like the Hurva Synagogue and the Four Sphardic Synagogues.
It also has some great restaurants and hosts wonderful events throughout the year.
The rest of Jerusalem is located outside the walls and is easily connected to by walking down the open-air Mamilla mall.
Sir Moses Montefiore, a British banker and philanthropist, built the first Jewish residential settlement outside the Old City walls, Mishkenot Sha’ananim.
His goal was to create a settlement that was independent so he also built a windmill to help residents grind wheat.
Montefiore’s Windmill, is no longer active but still stands and can be seen from outside Jaffa Gate and Ramparts Walk.
Today, Jerusalem is the largest city in Israel with many neighborhoods.
While mostly residential, the majority of what there is to see and do, including Mahane Yehuda Market and The First Station, is close to one another.
Jerusalem is a major cultural center filled with great restaurants and cafes, museums, and so much more.
Of course, it also has many religious and historical sites as well. In fact, it is hard to walk most any where in Jerusalem without passing a blue historical sign.
History of Jerusalem
The history of Jerusalem spans 3000 years beginning with King David and continuing until today.
Jerusalem was once a strong and powerful city but through the ages has been and ruled by many different empires, each taking it from the one before them.
In the early as the Bronze Age King David built his capital city, The City of David, on Mount Zion. This was the beginning of Jerusalem.
Then, King Solomon expanded the city to include neighboring Mount Moriah where he built the Temple, today known as the Temple Mount.
During the First Temple period the city walls were extended to include the northwest hill as well, where today’s Jewish Quarter and Armenian Quarter are located.
The walls of Jerusalem were breached Babylonia in 587 BCE after a 30 months siege, and the Solomon’s Temple as well most of the city were pillaged and destroyed.
Then, in 539 BCE, Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered the Babylonian Empire gaining control of Israel and Jerusalem as well and the Jews were invited to rebuild the Temple.
Construction of the Second Temple was completed in 516 BCE, during the reign of Darius the Great, 70 years after the destruction of the First Temple.
When Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire and Jerusalem and Judea came under Macedonian control. However, when he died it fell to the Ptolemaic dynasty until it was lost to the Seleucids.
The Seleucid attempt to recast Jerusalem as a Hellenized city-state came to a head in 168 BCE but Maccabean Revolt was successful and led to the Hasmonean Kingdom in 152 BCE with Jerusalem as its capital.
Hasmonean period, Jerusalem grew and the city walls were expanded.
In 63 BCE, Pompey captured Jerusalem for Julius Caesar, extending the influence of the Roman Republic.
Caesar permitted the reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem, restored to the port of Jaffa, and confirmed Hasmonean rule.
His respect toward the high priest and his tolerant attitude toward the Diaspora Jews increased won him favor from the Jewish masses.
When Caesar was assassinated, he was mourned by the Jews more than by any other nation.
Then 40 BCE the Roman Senate declared Herod client king and Mark Antony ordered him to capture Jerusalem.
After his conquest, Herod beautifying the Temple and expanded the Temple Mount.
After Herod’s death, tension began to grow between the Jews and Rome.
As a result the Jews revolted and the Romans besiege Jerusalem in 70 CE.
At this time Jerusalem’s popular was at it’s peak. In addition, it was a few days before Passover and the city was filled with pilgrims.
After five months the Roman legions eventually conquered Jerusalem, plundered and destroyed Temple, and razed everything.
This was just a hard won battle that Arch of Titus was built to commemorate the victory.
Fifty years later, Hadrian vowed to rebuild Jerusalem as a gift to the Jewish people, was discouraged from doing so by a Samaritan, during a trip to Jerusalem.
Instead, he built the pagan city of Aelia Capitolina over the ruins of Jerusalem, which would be inhabited by his legionaries, and the erection of a temple to Jupiter on the Temple Mount.
This led to Bar Kokhba revolt, which took the Romans three years to suppress. In retaliation, circumcision was forbidden and Israel combined with neighboring provinces and renamed “Syria Palaestina”.
Also, Jews were expelled from the Jerusalem and were prohibited from entering the city on pain of death, except for one day each year, Tisha B’Av.
The Roman Empire became the Byzantine Empire, and Israel became known as Palaestina Prima, but not much else changed for centuries until Jerusalem was conquered by the Arab armies of Umar in 638 CE.
The Islam began giving some prominence to Jerusalem in 623 CE, when Muslims were instructed to face the city while performing their daily prostrations. However, after 13 years, the direction of prayer was changed to Mecca.
With the Arab conquest, Jews were allowed back into the city.
When the Arab armies under Umar reached the Temple Mount site was full of rubbish, and that Arabs and Jews cleaned it.
When Jerusalem and Israel were inherited by the Umayyad Dynasty. In the late 7th century a shrine on the Temple Mount was commissioned, later to become known as the Dome of the Rock.
Over the next four hundred years, Jerusalem’s prominence diminished as Arab powers in the region jockeyed for control.
Then the soldiers of the First Crusade came and massacred most of Jerusalem’s Jewish and Muslim inhabitants, exiled the rest, and made it the capital of their Kingdom of Jerusalem.
The Crusaders recolonized Jerusalem, which had been virtually emptied, with Greeks, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Georgians, Armenians, Syrians, Egyptians, Nestorians, Maronites, Jacobite Miaphysites, Copts and others, to block the return of the surviving Muslims and Jews.
In 1187, the city was wrested from the Crusaders by Saladin who permitted Jews and Muslims to return and settle in the city. However, from 1229 to 1244, Jerusalem peacefully reverted to Christian control as a result of a 1229 treaty that ended the Sixth Crusade.
In 1244, Jerusalem was sacked by the Khwarezmian Tatars, who decimated the city’s Christian population and drove out the Jews. Seven years later were in turn driven out by the Ayyubids.
From 1260 to 1517, Jerusalem was ruled by the Mamluks during which time the area also suffered from many earthquakes and black plague.
In 1517, Jerusalem fell to the Ottoman Turks, who generally remained in control until 1917.
Jerusalem enjoyed a prosperous period of renewal and peace under Suleiman the Magnificent.
This including the rebuilding of magnificent walls around the Old City which mistakenly left out Mount Zion. It is said, the architects paid for this mistake with their lives.
The Ottomans brought many innovations: a modern postal system and regular stagecoach and carriage services were among the first signs of modernization in the city.
In the mid 19th century, the Ottomans constructed the first paved road from Jaffa to Jerusalem, and by 1892 the railroad (today the First Station) had reached the city.
According to the Prussian consul, the population in 1845 was 16,410, with 7,120 Jews, 5,000 Muslims, 3,390 Christians, 800 Turkish soldiers and 100 Europeans.
In the 1860s, new neighborhoods, including Mishkenot Sha’ananim, began to develop outside the Old City walls to house pilgrims and relieve the intense overcrowding and poor sanitation inside the city.
In 1917 after the Battle of Jerusalem during World War I, the British Army, led by General Edmund Allenby, captured the city.
That same year the British Government issued the Balfour Declaration which declared British support for the creation in Palestine of a “national home for the Jewish people“.
In 1922, the League of Nations at the Conference of Lausanne entrusted the United Kingdom to administer Palestine, neighboring Transjordan, and Iraq beyond it.
From 1922 to 1948 the total population of Jerusalem rose from 52,000 to 165,000, comprised two-thirds of Jews and one-third of Arabs (Muslims and Christians).
Relations of the Muslim population towards the Jewish population in Jerusalem deteriorated, resulting in recurring unrest.
In Jerusalem, in particular, Arab riots occurred in 1920 and in 1929 leading to the massacre of dozens of Jews.
Under the British, new garden suburbs were built in the western and northern parts of the city and institutions of higher learning such as the Hebrew University were founded.
State of Israel
Six months after the United Nations voted to approve Israel as an independent country, Israel declared it’s independence on May 14, 1948.
However, the next few days after the declaration, armies of Egypt, Trans-Jordan, Iraq, and Syria attacked Israeli troops inside the area of what had just ceased to be Mandatory Palestine, thereby starting the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.
As a result of the war, Israel took control of the area which later would become West Jerusalem and Jordan took control of East Jerusalem.
The 1,500 residents of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City were expelled and a few hundred taken prisoner when the Arab Legion captured the quarter on 28 May.
After the establishment of the state of Israel, Jerusalem was declared its capital city.
Jordan formally annexed East Jerusalem in 1950. However only the United Kingdom and Pakistan formally recognized such annexation, and some scholars argue that the view that Pakistan recognized Jordan’s annexation is dubious.
Contrary to the terms of the armistice agreement, Jews were denied access to Jewish holy sites, many of which were destroyed or desecrated.
Jordan allowed only very limited access to Christian holy sites, and restrictions were imposed on the Christian population that led many to leave the city.
Of the 58 synagogues in the Old City, half were either razed or converted to stables and hen-houses over the course of the next 19 years, including the Hurva and the Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue.
The 3,000-year-old Mount of Olives Jewish Cemetery was desecrated, with gravestones used to build roads, latrines and Jordanian army fortifications. 38,000 graves in the Jewish Cemetery were destroyed, and Jews were forbidden from being buried there
The Western Wall was transformed into an exclusively Muslim holy site associated with al-Buraq.
While many other historic and religiously significant buildings were demolished and replaced by modern structures during the Jordanian occupation.
In addition, Jordan razed the ancient Jewish Quarter as part of plans to turn it into a public park.
In 1967, despite Israeli pleas that Jordan remain neutral during the Six-Day War, Jordan attacked Israeli-held West Jerusalem on the war’s second day.
After hand-to-hand fighting between Israeli and Jordanian soldiers on the Temple Mount, the Israel Defense Forces captured East Jerusalem, along with the entire West Bank.
Three weeks after the war ended, in the reunification of Jerusalem, Israel extended its law and jurisdiction to East Jerusalem incorporating it into the Jerusalem Municipality.
Jewish and Christian access to the holy sites was restored and the Western Wall was given access to all.
Israel conducted a census of Arab residents in the areas annexed. Residents were given permanent residency status and the option of applying for Israeli citizenship.
Is Jerusalem Safe?
Absolutely! Jerusalem is a very safe city with a low crime rate.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your regular precautions.
Is Jerusalem Safe for Women?
Speaking as a woman, I feel completely safe in Jerusalem. Still, I do take precautions I learned while living in New York City.
What Religion is Jerusalem?
Jerusalem itself doesn’t have a religion and is multicultural though its population has a Jewish majority.
However, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all consider Jerusalem a holy city.
Why is Jerusalem Holy?
Jerusalem is the holiest city in the world to Jews and has been since ancient times. It is where the holy Temple stood on the Temple Mount and where we can be closest to God.
Christians consider Jerusalem holy because it’s place Jesus’ life gives it great importance, in addition to its place in the Jewish bible.
Starting in medieval times Islam has considered Jerusalem a sacred site in Islamic tradition, after Mecca and Medina, since previous prophets were associated with the city.
Also, because Muhammad visited the city and it is believed that it is where Muhammad rose to heaven oh his winged horse.
Is Jerusalem near the airport?
The airport is located in Tel Aviv. However, there is a direct train from Ben Gurion Airport to the Jerusalem Central Bus Station.
From the Central Bus Station you can easily access almost anywhere in the city by bus or light rail.
The Temple Mount
The Temple Mount refers to the elevated plaza above the Western Wall that was the site of both the First and Second Jewish Temples. It is and always has been the holiest site in the world to Jews.
in the 7th century Muslims began viewing Jerusalem and the Temple Mount as a holy site. Today it is considered the third holiest sites to Muslims, after Mecca and Madina.
At the end of that century the shrine known as the Dome of the Rock was built on the Jewish holy site shortly and Al Aqsa mosque was as well shortly there after.
Non-Muslims are permitted to visit the plaza during set days hours. However they are not allowed to enter the Dome of the Rock.
Western Wall (Kotel)
The Western Wall or the Kotel, is the last remaining wall of the Second Temple. It is revered as a holy site because it is the closest to the Temple Mount Jews are legally allowed to pray.
In addition to Jews, many Christian tourists also come pray at at the wall.
Prayers there include regular Jewish prayers that are said three times a day, saying Psalms, and personal heartfelt prayers.
It is also tradition to leave a note asking G-d for things. These can be anything your heart desires, big or small.
Chamber of the Holocaust
The Chamber of the Holocaust was the the world’s first Holocaust memorial and is a powerful yet little known museum by Israelis and tourists alike.
It was built as a symbolic cemetery, as a place for Holocaust survivors to cry and mourn for their families, especially if they didn’t know where their loved ones were buried.
The memorial was established in 1949, four years after the end of World War II and a year after Israel was founded, as Holocaust survivors who came as refugees to the country sought a place to grieve.
Built in a Crusader dungeon, the chamber was a place for Holocaust survivors and victims’ descendants to light memorial candles, recite the Kaddish, remember, and mourn.
Today, it is a museum and the objects, on display were donated by Holocaust survivors and victims’ families as a memorial to those who perished.
Yad Vashem is the Holocaust History Museum and Israel’s memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.
Established in Jerusalem in 1953, Yad Vashem has become the most visited site after the Western Wall.
It is dedicated to preserving the memory of the dead, honoring Jews who fought against their Nazi oppressors, and Gentiles who selflessly aided Jews in need.
The focus of this museum is remembrance, education, documentation, and research related to the Holocaust.
I think, together with the Chamber of the Holocaust, it tells a very important part of Jewish History.
Western Wall Tunnels
The Western Wall Tunnels offer a tours that follow tunnels under ground, between the houses of the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall Plaza, and extends to the end of the wall under the Muslim Quarter.
The site contains unique archaeological findings from many periods of Jerusalem’s 3,000 years of existence.
This includes evidence of Jewish settlement and government from the First Temple, 2,700 years ago.
This guided tour will bring your through archaeological sites, give historical information and context of discoveries found there.
The Jerusalem Archaeological Park
The Jerusalem Archaeological Park and Davidson Center are located nearby the Western Wall in the Old City.
The park contains artifacts from different periods: the First and Second Temple periods, the Byzantine period, Muslim period, the ancient Crusades period, as well as others.
The most exciting findings are: the walls of the city from the First Temple period, the steps leading up to the Temple, the original street from the time of the Second Temple period, shops, ritual baths, and more.
However, you can also walk the streets and climb the stairs pilgrims to the Temple Mount did 2,000 years ago.
The Davidson Center is a museum within the archaeological park, with presentations and exhibitions related to findings from the site.
In addition, a virtual model with local guidance will take you back in time to the days of the Second Temple.
With it, you can and walk with pilgrims on the street, buy a sacrifice, immerse yourself in the mikveh, and ascend to Temple Mount.
Ramparts Walk offers a unique view of the city of Jerusalem from atop of the Old City walls.
For centuries soldiers walking along the walls’ ramparts, patrolling between the gates and guard towers.
However, in recent years, the path has been renovated and turned into a promenade offering a unique view of Jerusalem inside and outside the walls.
The Tower of David
The Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem is located in the medieval citadel known as the Tower of David.
The Museum presents Jerusalem’s story. It details the major events in its history beginning with the first evidence of a city in Jerusalem in the second millennium BCE, until the city became the capital of the State of Israel.
In addition, the Citadel itself is a fascinating archaeological site and offers a virtual reality tour.
The Herodian Quarter
The Herodian Quarter is a museum that exists under the Jewish Quarter. Here you can see ancient houses, ritual baths, and housewares which belonged to priests who worked in the Temple.
The City of David
The City of David is the most ancient part of Jerusalem and is only a short walk from the Western Wall.
It was created by King David began over 3,000 years ago.
Today, this ancient city is a national park and the most important archaeological site in Israel. It has some of the most exciting archaeological finds of the ancient world.
The main area that has been arranged for visitors is on the south side of the Old City near the Dung Gate.
Rockefeller Archaeological Museum
The Rockefeller Archaeological Museum houses antiquities unearthed in excavations conducted mainly during the time of the British Mandate.
The museum contains thousands of artifacts ranging from prehistoric times, dating back back one million years, to the Ottoman period.
The most charming part about this museum is the fact that it hasn’t changed much since opened in 1938.
It is frozen in time and looks very much the way museums were when British archaeologist excavated throughout the Middle East.
The Israel Museum is Israel’s largest cultural institution and one of the world’s leading museums in art and archaeology.
The focus of the museum is on the art, Judaica and ancient artifacts of the Land of Israel and beyond.
It features the most extensive holdings of Biblical and Holy Land archaeology in the world.
The Museum houses works dating from prehistory to the present day in its Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Jewish Art wings.
Mahane Yehuda Market
Mahane Yehuda Market more often referred to as “The Shuk” is a favorite of locals and tourists alike.
The main street is lined with stands selling fruits, vegetables, and nuts with clothing and gift shops sprinkled in between.
However, if you go down the opens in the main path you'll find a whole other world with restaurants, cafe's, bakeries, jewelry shops, and so much more!
Museum of Italian Jewish Art
The Umberto Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art is the only museum that collects objects and documentation from all the Jewish communities in Italy.
It has a collection of unique and rare objects from one of the oldest Jewish communities.
The galleries exhibit Italian Jewish art and heritage artifacts including including tapestries, chanukkiot, furniture, silver and art work.
Among them, the second oldest Torah ark in the whole world, the oldest Parochet in the world, and remnants of a synagogue built in the 15th century.
In addition, there is a synagogue built in 1701 in the Rococo style and the beautifully painted Fresco Hall.
The First Station Jerusalem
Today, First Station – known in Hebrew as HaTachana HaRishona – was once a busy railway station filled with hustle and bustle.
Today it’s a chic lively place filled with restaurants, shops, and events locals love.
Hebrew Music Museum
The Hebrew Music Museum exhibits of rare and ancient musical instruments from different historical periods.
There are seven galleries, each with it’s own cultural musical styles decorated according to the style of the culture it represents.
Displayed are musical instruments and manuscripts from different musical culture behind Jewish Music and which have shaped Hebrew music.
The Knesset is the Israeli parliament located in the Givat Ram neighborhood of Jerusalem.
Tour are given on Sunday and Thursday, no reservation require. Visitors are also welcome to sit in on debates.
Supreme Court of Israel
The Supreme Court of Israel is the highest court of Justice in Israel and the final court of appeals.
When sitting as an appellate court, the Supreme Court hears appeals mainly on judgments and decisions pronounced in the District Courts.
As the High Court of Justice (Bagatz) the Supreme Court hears petitions by any person (not only citizens or residents) against public bodies and governmental authorities.
Daily tours in Hebrew and in English and the first floor of the Supreme Court Library is open to the general public.
Wohl Rose Garden
The Wohl Rose Garden, or Wohl Rose Park, is one of the few rose parks of its kind in the Middle East, and has been proclaimed one of the most beautiful rose gardens in the world.
It features around 450 varieties of roses are grown there, many of them gifts from countries around the world.
Also displayed there are wild roses from the Land of Israel (the Dog Rose and Phoenician Rose), ancient varieties, and rare or endangered roses designated for conservation.
The Wohl Rose Park’s Garden of Nations is made up of sections donated by other countries. Each section has rose varieties characteristic of, or grown in, the respective country as well as trellises, sculptures and fountains.
In addition to some 15,000 rose bushes, the park has expansive lawns, there about 200 species of ornamental trees, bushes, and plants, an ornamental pond with aquatic plants and fish, a waterfall, rockeries, and sculptures.
Also, a sixth-century mosaic floor unearthed at Kibbutz Sde Nahum is on display in the park.
The main flowering period of the park’s roses is in the spring, from the end of April through mid May. The modern roses in the park continue to blossom through the summer and autumn seasons, until the start of winter.
Montefiore’s Windmill was one of the first Jerusalem landmarks to be built outside the Old City walls.
It was built in 1857 by Sir Moses Montefiore where he would later build Mishkenot Sha’ananim which became first neighborhood in Jerusalem outside Old City.
Today, the windmill houses the Jerusalem Vineyard Wineries Visitor Center.
Near by in a glassed-in room is a replica Montefiore’s carriage which he used in his travels.
The Burnt House
The Burnt House, also known as Katros House, is a museum presenting an excavated house from the Second Temple period.
The house, was found under a layer of ashes and destruction, indicating that the house had been burned down. It was the first evidence found of the total destruction of the city by the Romans.
In the museum, you can walk through rooms that are virtually intact with artifacts from the time of the Second Temple.
Roman Plaza Museum
Old Yishuv Court Museum
The Isaak Kaplan Old Yishuv Court Museum tells the story of the inhabitants of the Old Yishuv, displayed through their original belongings, objects, and tools.
It also tells of the struggles they had to face; stories of birth and marriage, happiness and sadness, and faith in God.
The museum depicts the period decor and aspects of daily life in the Jewish Quarter from the mid-19th century to the end of the Ottoman rule just after World War I.
Plugat Hakotel Museum
The Plugat HaKotel Museum tells the seldom mentioned story of the Western Wall Platoon, a group of 24 young men and women who risked their lives to keep a Jewish spark alive at the Western Wall.
Through the museum, located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter, together with other Zionist museums in Jerusalem, you can learn of historical Zionism beginning.
Museum visitors will begin the tour with the story of the shofar and will continue to stories of the heroism of the Irgun members who were brought up on the same values instilled by the platoon.
Museum of Underground Prisoners
The Museum of Underground Prisoners is located in the central prison during the British Mandate.
Alongside criminals, hundreds of underground warriors were imprisoned: Haganah, Etzel, and Lehi.
These were people who had been captured by the British on various actions, while fighting against foreign rule.
Guided museum tours explore the prison cells, an introduction to the story of the underground prisoners and the story of their struggle for the benefit of the Jewish population of the Land of Israel during the British Mandate.
The Hurva Synagogue
The Hurva synagogue was constructed in 1864 in what was known as the courtyard of the Ashkenazim.
It became the most important synagogue for Ashkenazi Jews living in the old city. However, it was destroyed by the Jordanian Legion forces during the fall of the Quarter Israel’s War of Independence.
The Hurva Synagogue was re-inaugurated 62 years after its destruction in March of 2010.
Little Western Wall (HaKotel HaKatan)
The Little Western Wall, also known as HaKotel HaKatan, is a Jewish religious site located in the Muslim Quarter,
While the famous section of the Western Wall is close to the south-west corner, it is actually 488-metre, or 1,601-feet long.
This smaller section is located more in the center of the wall, located approximately 170 meters north of the Prayer Plaza. However, the houses of the Muslim Quarter conceal most if of leaving only a small part exposed.
It is located near the Iron Gate to the Temple Mount and almost exactly faces where the Holy of Holies was giving it religious importance.
Four Sephardic Synagogues
The Four Sephardic Synagogues are interconnected and served as the center of the Old City’s Sephardic Community.
Yochanan ben-Zakai and ELiyahu Ha-Navi Synagogues were established first. Later the Kahal Zion and the Istambuli Synagogue, build by Turkish Jews.
During the war of independence, many of the Quarter’s residents sheltered here. After the Six Day War, the Four Synagogues were renovated and prayer was established.
The Ramban Synagogue, is the second oldest active synagogue in the Old City.
It was founded by the scholar and rabbi Nachmanides, otherwise known as Ramban, in 1267.
Jewish Quarter Defender's Memorial
Jewish Quarter Defender’s Memorial features rare images which capture the last days before the fall of the Jewish Quarter in 1948.
It also has short video where residents and fighters recall their experiences from those dramatic moments.
Thirty-nine fighters and thirty residents of the Jewish Quarter fell in the War of Independence.
Forty eight of them were buried in a mass grave where the Gal-Ed memorial monument now marks, Batei Machseh Square.
The Herzl Museum gives visitors insight into the life and activities of Theodor Herzl, the founder of the modern Zionist movement.
The museum details his life and many contributions to the Zionist cause.
It also provides a glimpse into Herzl’s analysis of the Jewish condition, a portrayal of his ambitions, vision, disappointments and achievements, and the challenge of his legacy.
The museum is split into four exhibition spaces, three of them showing different eras of Herzl’s life. From the beginning of his life in Vienna and the Dreyfus trial, through the Zionist Congresses in Basel until his early death at the age of 44.
The highlight of the tour is the fourth room where visitors are given a view of the accomplishments of the Jewish state, despite the many difficulties and hardships.
Mount Herzl is the site of Israel’s national cemetery where Israel’s fallen soldiers are put to rest.
Many of the Jewish state’s leaders are also buried here including Herzl himself.
This site of major national importance. It is where the families of the fallen file in crowds through the gates of Mount Herzl to attend the state Remembrance Day ceremony.
The Begin Museum tells the life story of 6th Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin.
The exhibits explore Begin’s childhood in Poland, his years as the commander of the Irgun, the leader of the Opposition and finally, as Prime Minister of the State of Israel.
Using Begin’s life story one also learns the story of one of the most fascinating episodes of Israel’s history: the Zionist struggle for the establishment of the State of Israel and it’s early years.
Worldwide North Africa Jewish Heritage Center
The Worldwide North Africa Jewish Heritage Center is museum of the Mughrabi neighborhood in Jerusalem and its North African residents.
The Heritage Center is the only cultural and heritage center in Israel dedicated to North African Jewry.
The building houses exhibition halls with both permanent and temporary exhibitions, photographs and unique items of Jewish life in North Africa, particularly Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
There is also a research library with original manuscripts, studies and monographs.
Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo is a wonderful way to spend a relaxing day in Jerusalem.
The zoo is home to 2,200 animals representing over 270 different species across 62 acres.
In addition to being a zoo, it also it a conservator of endangered species which they breed in captivity and, in some cases, reintroduce in to the wild.
Jerusalem Botanical Gardens
The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens is the largest plant collection in Israel and the Middle East, spanning 45 acres.
The Gardens has plants from around the world, and display more than 6,000 species.
Their collection features 2,700 native species in Israel, including 400 or so are in danger of extinction.
National Botanic Garden of Israel
The National Botanic Garden of Israel, also known as the Botanical Garden of the Hebrew University, is the first botanical garden in Israel.
It covers over 6 acres and houses more than 950 plant species, representing over 40% of the wild plant species of Israel, approximately 240 are considered rare or endangered.
The Garden is an natural hideaway within an urban landscape, a sanctuary for many animals and endangered plant species.
Many of the species are very rare or non-existent in the wild.
The Jerusalem Forest is a favorite by locals and has many playgrounds and picnic areas in it, along with a hiking trail.
It is filled with pine and cypress trees, as well as Palestine oak, terebinth, carob, olive, fig, pomegranate, and other species that used to cover the slopes of the Judean Hills.
On many of the slopes there are agricultural terraces, burial caves, wine-presses, and cisterns from ancient times.
Gazelles often run in the area and and you can hear the sounds of the the many songbirds who live in the trees.
Zedekiah’s Cave, or Solomon’s Quarries, is a vast cave that runs under the Old City of Jerusalem.
This cave is said to be where King Zedekiah the escape from the Chaldeans and where King Solomon got the Jerusalem stone to construction of the First Temple.
Herod also used it for building blocks in the renovation of the Temple and its retaining walls, while Suleiman used it to build present walls around the Old City.
It was once the largest quarry in ancient Jerusalem and runs under the Jewish and Muslim Quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem, stretching from Jeremiah’s Grotto to the walls of the Old City.
Jerusalem Bird Observatory
The Jerusalem Bird Observatory is Israel’s first urban wildlife site and attracts thousands of migrating songbirds to its pond and fruit trees.
This makes it the perfect for quality birdwatching at the bird hide.
In fact, this is one of the few traditional birdwatching areas in Jerusalem that has not been harmed by development.
At the heart of the Jerusalem Bird Observatory is the Beracha Bird Hide where visitors have a great view of the pond and surrounding fruit trees.
There are a variety of walks, lectures, workshops and trips offered in English and Hebrew throughout the year.
Gazelle Valley Park
Gazelle Valley Park is Israel’s biggest urban nature reserve and also the best place to watch endangered mountain gazelles in their natural habitat.
The valley was once a home to a herd of over 30 wild gazelles until 1993 their passage to the mountains surrounding Jerusalem was blocked by a new highway.
The gazelles were trapped in the valley and the herd gradually disappeared.
By the time the park was finally established, there were only 3 gazelles left.
Today there are over 45 mountain gazelles are living in the park, leading a mostly natural lifestyle.
The Israelite Tower is an archaeological site that was a significant find since it testifies to the size and strength of Jerusalem during the First Temple period.
The tower is a significant find since it testifies to the size and strength of Jerusalem during the First Temple period.
It also is evidence of Jerusalem’s destruction at the hands of the Babylonians.
Ketef Hinnom is a little known archaeological site consisting of a series of rock-hewn burial chambers dating from the First Temple period.
This archaeological site is located behind the Begin Heritage Center Museum.
You can reach it by through an opening in the gate coming from the main road walking towards the museum.
The Broad Wall
The Broad Wall is an archaeological site that was once Jerusalem’s protective wall during the First Temple period and one of the most important discoveries uncovered in Jerusalem.
Until the discovery of the wall, many scholars believed that the capital of the kings of Judah until the destruction of the Temple was only in the limited area of the City of David.
However, the discovery of the wall in the 1970’s reveled that the city had expanded to include the hill to the west of the Temple Mount.
This proved that the Kingdom of Judea was in fact much larger and greater than previously thought.
Jason’s Tomb is a Second Temple Period rock-cut tomb dating to the the Hasmonean dynasty.
Some theories Jason was naval commander due to charcoal drawing of two warships discovered in the tomb.
Others believe he is the the High Priest Jason who wrote the second book of Maccabees because of the grandeur of the tomb when it was built.
The Agnon House in Jerusalem is a National Heritage Site, dedicated to the work of the writer S.Y. Agnon.
Agnon was Israel’s first Nobel laureate and remains the only Hebrew author to receive the prize in literature. He is also arguably the most famed writer in Israel.
Agnon and his wife Esther built this house in 1931, and he lived here until his death in 1970.
The house is now a literary museum and a venue for tours, lectures, performances, workshops, and of course and literary events.
HOLY TEMPLE MUSEUM
The Temple Institute is recreates items that were a necessary part of worship in the Jewish Temple.
These items are on display at the Holy Temple Museum, including High Priests garb and 60 sacred vessels created in accordance with biblical requirements.
Also on display is a gold and marble model of the second temple.
AISH HATORAH CENTER
Aish Center overlooks the Western Wall from across the Plaza. They host thousands of visitors annually to free religious lectures given daily, as well as their Discovery Seminar.
The Center is also home to a 1.2-ton model of the Holy Temple which sits on the rooftop terrace overlooking the site where the real Temple once stood.
The model is the largest of its kind, constructed at a scale of 1:60. It also incorporate authentic materials like gold, silver, wood, and Jerusalem stone.
In addition, it features a system that raises the sanctuary section of the Temple. This offers an internal view of key elements such as the Holy of Holies, the Menorah and the Ark of the Covenant