Jerusalem is the recognized capital of Israel and is also known as the ‘holy city’. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and the largest city in Israel. This holy city is one troubled by decades of conflict. It stands as a place of major significance to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. More than 3.5 million people visit Jerusalem each year. Some 350,000 of them are Jewish pilgrims making a journey to get as close to God as earthly possible.
The fact that this city is so important to so many religions and groups of people would make you think that it would be a place of great unity. Unfortunately, much to the contrary, it has been a place of great conflict. Jerusalem itself has been conquered more than 40 times over the course of recorded history. Due to this conflict, Jerusalem is a fully walled city. The wall spans more than 2.5 miles long, is just over 40 feet high and is more than 8 feet thick. This surrounding city wall accommodates 34 watch towers.
The walls have not stopped this city from having an expanse of museums and public parks. Proudly home to more than 60 museums and over 1,500 public parks and gardens housing olive trees as old as 800 years. Some of the city’s most notable sites include the Western Wall also known as the Wailing wall, Dome of the Rock, Church of the Holy Sepulchre and of course the Mount of Olives which is the oldest active burial site in the world.
The best way to get around Jerusalem is either by walking or taking taxis. The major city attractions are within walking distance of each other. Jerusalem and Israel in general experience 2 distinct seasons. A cool wet winter which runs from October to April and a dry, hot summer that runs from May to September. August is the hottest month with temperatures topping 85°F and January is the coldest month with temperatures dipping below 41°F.
Let’s begin our Tripio top 10 best places to experience the world’s most influential religions in no particular order due to being respectful of religious sensitivities. When you travel anywhere, it is a good idea to read up a little bit on the culture so you are fully prepared. Unfortunately, as beautiful as Israel is, there is a lot of tension so it is a good idea to look into the news before planning your trip. Let’s kick off our Tripio list!
The western wall is also known as the wailing wall and is sacred to the Jewish people. The Jews have been gathering to pray at this limestone wall for over 2,000 years. It is a significant pilgrimage site for Jews all around the world who travel to Jerusalem to face the wall and pray. The wall is spilt into two sides, one for men and the other for women. You can grab a Kippah to partake in prayer. Traditionally, Jews would pray 3 times a day.
There are several reasons why it is called the wailing wall including prayers being said out loud and a lot of people are usually crying. This is a highly sensitive location so please always be respectful. In 70 AD, the temple was destroyed and all the Jews were exiled from the city. This is why they would return to this wall to cry and pray.
Dome of the rock is a stunning, gold-topped Islamic shrine that poses huge significance to Muslims, Jews and Christians. It was estimated to have been built in 690 AD. It is the site where Muslims believe Muhammed ascended into heaven. It is lavishly decorated in gold, marble and mosaic. It truly is a striking building and one that can be prominently seen throughout Israel. Grab your camera and have a walk around. Like many sites in the Holy city of Jerusalem, this is a highly sacred place so please wear appropriate clothing covering your arms and legs. Ensure to be respectful at all times as this can unfortunately, be one of great tension.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third most important site for Muslims in the world after Mecca and Medina. Making it Jerusalem’s holiest Mosque. It is an Islamic place of worship and unfortunately, filled with a lot of tension. So please be respectful and keep up with the news to see if there are any conflicts at the time of your visit. As this is one of the most contested pieces of land on earth. Historians and scholars believe that the Prophet Ibrahim was the one who ordered the construction of the Mosque in 705 CE. It sits within a 35-acre compound in the old city which is referred to as al-Haram al-Sharif by Muslims, and as the Temple Mount by Jews. It has been listed as an UNESCO world heritage site. Ensure to have your arms and legs covered with the appropriate clothing.
Mount Zion is a famous hill that stands 2,500 feet above the holy city. It is believed to be the place where Yahweh, the God of Israel dwelled. Today, you can visit its many ancient treasures. To get to the top, you will need to exit the Old City via the appropriately named Zion Gate. Walk up the hill towards the Benedictine Abbey which offers a fantastic view over the old city. Take some time to explore the area. You will find King David’s Tomb and the Chamber of the Holocaust just to name a few. This can be an emotional visit for some as well as a very popular pilgrimage site so be sure to practice respectful behavior. If you wish to enter any of the Tomb’s, please wear appropriate clothing which is to have your arms and legs covered. Most of the walk is uphill but it is not particularly steep. Altogether, including seeing the sights, the walk takes about 3 hours.
Jerusalem is one of those places that you travel to and can quickly be overwhelmed by all there is to see and do. I mean how to get it all done in time? Here at Tripio, we have got the solution to a smooth, hassle and stress free vacation. The last thing you want to be doing is pining over trying to put together an itinerary when all you want to do is adventure and have fun. Enjoy your vacation and adventure stress free by downloading the Tripio App and letting us create your custom itinerary for you. Your hassle free vacation begins with us!
The Garden Tomb Jerusalem is a Christian worship site that is believed to be the place in which Jesus was buried and thereafter was resurrected. It was unearthed in 1867 and was thought to have dated back to 8th century B.C. Please show respect when visiting as this is a place of significant religious purpose and is often a place in which people go to pray. There are free guided tours offered by volunteers.
Here at Tripio, we have done all the research for you. Jerusalem is a bucket list country for a lot of people for a variety of reasons. Why not download the Tripio App right now and start creating your own custom Itinerary and custom Top 10 to suit your preferences. The Tripio App makes planning your travels easy and stress free. Your next bucket list ticking vacation starts now!
Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock often get mistaken as the same thing. Dome of the Rock is the gold domed Islamic shrine while Temple Mount is the elevated plaza above the Western Wall. Dome of the Rock and the Mosque Al Aqsa are both on Temple Mount. This is a sacred site for Muslims, Jews and Christians. Temple Mount is the site where the Jewish temple once stood, that is why today, Jews will pray at the western wall also called the wailing wall. When the Jewish temple was destroyed on Temple Mount, the western wall became the new worship grounds for the Jewish. As you can tell, this is a highly sensitive site, please be respectful at all times and be sure to be wearing appropriate clothing covering your arms and legs. Take a walk around this fabulous site and get some great photos.
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is arguably the most sacred site in the world for Christians. Located in the Christian quarter of the old city. It was built in the 4th century and is believed to be the site where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. It also houses Jesus’s empty tomb. There are a few narrow stairs inside the church along with tunnels. The decoration inside is intricate and beautiful. Please remember that this is a place of high significance for a lot of people and a common place of pilgrimage. Please be respectful at all times.
The Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem is a modern facility housing some of the most important ancient biblical relics and artifacts in the world. Learn about the immense religious significance of the area with multiple exhibits, displays and even live performances. Free tours and audio guides are available in multiple languages.
Mount of Olives is named after the fact that it was once completely covered in olives. Some believe that this is the spot where Jesus ascended to heaven while others believe it to be at the nearby Chapel of Ascension. Today, it serves as a Jewish cemetery housing more than 150,000 graves. It offers a wonderful viewpoint over the city. There is parking just across the road, to get to the viewpoint, walk just a few yards across the road and down a few flights of steps.
The Chapel Of The Ascension is a section of a large religious complex that houses both a Christian church, monastery as well as an Islamic mosque. It is believed to be the exact spot where Jesus ascended to Heaven after his resurrection. Come and check out the stone slab that has preserved Jesus’s footprints. Due to its incredible significance, it naturally has become a popular pilgrimage destination to feel as close to God as possible.
The Church of Nativity is located in Bethlehem which is actually in Palestine. You will need to cross the border from Jerusalem, Israel into Palestine in order to see this significant church. Remember to bring photographic identification with you as you will need it in order to get back into Jerusalem. This church was built in the 4th century by the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great. It has since been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times. When you enter the church, you have the incredible opportunity to walk down some stairs to the silver star marker of Jesus Christ’s birth site. The silver star has 14 points and is encased in a marble floor right underneath an altar. The 14 points represent Jesus’s generations of genealogy. This is a very important religious building and a popular pilgrimage site so please be respectful at all times. This is a must-add to your vacation itinerary!
The Damascus Gate is 1 of the 7 open gates to the old city of Jerusalem. It was constructed in 1537 by order of Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman empire. The Damascus Gate is the largest of the open gates to the old city, it stands at a whopping 72 feet high. It opens up into the Muslim quarter of the old city and can be a site for high tensions. Ensure to keep up with the news prior to visiting to ensure that you are going when there aren’t any riots. This is a place of such historic beauty. There are many shops to enjoy and come nightfall, there are lovely night market stalls selling an array of fresh kebabs, pita breads, salads, sweet treats and more.
I hope you have enjoyed our Tripio custom top 10 in no particular order. Your next vacation to Jerusalem can be full of adventure, get the Tripio App and see what wondrous activities could await you. You will be able to create your own custom itineraries and a custom top 10 will generate for you based on your preferences. Thank you for reading!
-Gemma Winchester, Tripio Guru