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Must see sites in Jerusalem?

In your opinion, what must I see while I am in Jerusalem?  I'm open to seeing bazaars, other markets, religious sites, having cultural experiences and the like.

6 Answers

top answer by
Alex from London

Hi Leslie,

I think that Jerusalem has two parts, there are the old city's historic sites and then the actual residential quarters. Molly recommended the Machane Yehuda Market and I would double that.  The Israel Museum is also excellent and definitely a must-see location, I would specially recommend a late afternoon/evening visit on the weekday it  is open late (I think Tuesday?).  In terms of the old city, you will want to spend a day exploring not only the historic sites but also the back streets to get a sense of life there.  I wrote a post about my last visit with a few more unique ways to see old Jerusalem:  It may be worth it to read it to find out where the best views, secret rooftops, back streets are

Also, take note that when looking for athmospheric resting areas in the old city, I love the old  pilgrimage hostels, The Austrian Hospice garden terrace, the Lutheran Guesthouse courtyard and the Notre Dame Centre rooftop wine bar (one of the best views of the city).

Good luck planning and have a fab trip!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Machane Yehuda Market (restaurant)
  2. Israel Museum (attraction)
4 thankscomments (2)

answered first by
Molly from United Kingdom

Hi Leslie! 

Jerusalem's an amazing city - there's so much to see. You don't say how long you're there for, but a few "must-sees":

Temple Mount - probably the most iconic sight, and sacred to both Islam and Judaism (and Christianity to a lesser extent). You can go up onto the Mount - but you can't enter the mosque unless you're Muslim. It's beautiful, really open and peaceful compared to the rest of the Old City that surrounds it! 

Western Wall - just below the Temple Mount. It's the only surviving part of the Second Temple. Go on Friday sundown (the start of the Jewish Shabbat) if you can - it'll be crowded but worth it for the atmosphere. 

Church of the Holy Sepulcher - marks the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified. It's an incredible building - the queues can be a bit much, but definitely worth a visit. 

Israel Museum - covers everything from archeology to Jewish art and life. It's also where you can view the Dead Sea Scrolls, and see the to-scale model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Era. Prices, opening hours and information about special events etc are all on their website

Machane Yehuda Market - the best place for browsing fantastic food! As well as the stalls, there are cafés and restaurants to sit and watch the world go by :). 

Old City - great for wandering, getting lost, browsing the specialist shops and stalls, and doing a bit of haggling. The streets are very narrow, crowded and (depending on what time of year you go) hot - but it's an experience! If it all gets a bit much, you can escape up onto the Ramparts Walk along the top of the walls that still surround the Old City - entrance at Jaffa Gate.

Hurva Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter is well worth a visit - a small entrance fee, but the guided tours in English give you the colourful history of the Quarter and of the synagogue, and you get a full tour from basement to roof gallery - where the views are spectacular. 

If you have time, there are some great day trips from Jerusalem - Bethlehem (Israel), for example, or Ein Gedi down on the Dead Sea. 

Hope this helps - have a wonderful trip! 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Temple Mount (attraction)
  2. Western Wall (attraction)
  3. Church of the Holy Sepulcher (attraction)
  4. Israel Museum (attraction)
  5. Machane Yehuda Market (restaurant)
  6. Old City (attraction)
  7. Jaffa Gate (attraction)
  8. Hurva Synagogue (attraction)
  9. Bethlehem (Israel) (city)
  10. Ein Gedi (attraction)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Yaniv from Tel Aviv

I'm not going to add anything to the great answers you received, but if you want great hummus (my personal favorite), visit Hummus Lina in the Old City on Via Dolorosa St., not far from the The Austrian Hostel.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hummus Lina (restaurant)
  2. The Austrian Hostel (hotel)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Lily from Israel

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Western Wall (attraction)
  2. Old City (attraction)
  3. David's Tower (attraction)
  4. City of David (attraction)
  5. Israel Museum (attraction)
  6. Yad Vashem (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by

First off I just want to say I am jealous - Jerusalem is one of my all time favorite cities. If you can pull it off, try to stay at Ecce Homo Convent it is located at the start of Via Dolorosa and being in the city, you will be close to everything. You can see the Temple Mount (Mohammed ascended to the heavens here, Isaac was sacrificed, and it was the home for the holy of holies) from your balcony, just meters away. Molly had GREAT suggestions, while I am not sure how long you will be there but if you can be at Damascus Gate when the Muslim's leave the city on Thursday you will see something special. Western Wall on Friday evening for Shabbat - Is like another world with the singing and dancing. Church of the Holy Sepulcheris simply the holiest place on the planet if you are Christian. That being said, walking the steps Jesus Christ walked from Thursday evening until Friday when he was laid to rest is an incredible experience. Lots of wonderful day trips - BethlehemThe Dead Sea, and MasadaSea of Galilee and Yad Vashem(Holocaust Museum) just to name a few. 

I would not recommend renting a vehicle. The transit system is great and it is easy to hire a taxi for a day (we had a man standing by for a week). Stay away from tourist traps for food - so much wonderful local food. Lots of places to walk in and around the old city and the Israel Museumis only a hop, skip and a jump away. Its been over 14 years since I have been there so I cannot be specific about food places. 

Have a great trip and make sure you haggle over EVERYthing. It is so fun. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Jerusalem (city)
  2. Ecce Homo Convent (attraction)
  3. Via Dolorosa (attraction)
  4. Temple Mount (attraction)
  5. Damascus Gate (attraction)
  6. Western Wall (attraction)
  7. Church of the Holy Sepulcher (attraction)
  8. Bethlehem (attraction)
  9. The Dead Sea (attraction)
  10. Masada (attraction)
  11. Sea of Galilee (attraction)
  12. Yad Vashem (attraction)
  13. Israel Museum (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by

I have been to Jerusalem three times. I highly suggest exploring beyond the city though, and heading into Palestine. If you don't feel comfortable doing it by yourself, Abraham Tours offers day tours which are wonderful. 

I visited Bethlehem on my own and did a tour of Hebron which was a dual-narrative and extremely interesting.

You can find out about all of my Israel experiences here.

1 thankscomments (1)

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