Jerusalem is one of the most beautiful, most religious, and the oldest cities in the world. The extent of its history is astonishing as it dates back to almost 5000 years. It is a crucial pace for the three major religions of the world that is Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, therefore, Jerusalem is also known as the holiest city in the world. This is the city where Jesus Christ was crucified and rose again, Prophet Mohammad ascended to heaven. Millions of pilgrims come to Jerusalem as they believe it to be the most sacred place. And other than the pilgrims, there are so many places to visit as a tourist that you might not know where to start. That is why we are providing you with this Jerusalem Tour Guide, which will help you in picking your spots. We have prepared a list of top places that you must visit without failure.
Let us begin with our Jerusalem Tour Guide
Haram Al-Sharif or Temple Mount
Haram Al-sharif is known as the most sacred sanctuary of the world. The main center of attraction of this huge place is the iconic bright and shiny Dome of the Rock. This landmark is highly admired by Jews, Christians, and Muslims as it is said that the father of all three monotheistic religions, Abraham offered his son to the god as a sacrifice. It is the place where the king of Israel, Solomon built the first temple for the Ark of the covenant, it is said to be the place where Prophet Mohammad ascended to heaven while preaching Islam. The southern side of the mount has the world’s oldest mosque, Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Wailing Wall/Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter
Wailing Wall or the western wall is called the Wailing Wall because people moaned for the loss of the first temple in 70 AD and it is the only surviving wall of the first temple. Since the Ottoman era, this place has been a pilgrimage place for the Jewish people and a sacred place for Judaism.
From Zion gate east to Western Wall plaza, you will come across the old city Jewish Quarter. During the Israel-Arab war in 1948, this part was destroyed, then it was rebuilt in 1967. This place is not only fascinating to the pilgrims and tourists, but it also caught the interest of some of the Archeologists. At the southern end of the Western Wall, Archeologists found remnants of old Jerusalem by digging in the ground, this area is now known as the Archeology park.
Church of Holy Sepulchre
The Church of Holy Sepulchre is said to be built on the very spot where Jesus was crucified. This is the reason that this place is believed to be the holiest for the Christians. Empress Helena – the mother of Constantine the great, announced it to the world about the spot being where Jesus was crucified and chose the spot for the Church which was built in 355 AD. The church was then destroyed in the year 1009. The interior of the Church is a beautiful example of rich religious architecture, it contains different holy relics and artifacts.
You might wonder what an Armenian Quarter is doing in Jerusalem. Well, to your surprise, Armenians have been the part of Jerusalem for centuries as they arrived in the 5th century. The Armenian Quarter is located on the Armenian Patriarchate Road which runs south from the Citadel. There are a lot of narrow lanes and within those narrow lanes stand the St. James Cathedral and the St Mark’s Chapel. These 2 historic sites have a lot fewer visitors as compared to the top three spots of our Jerusalem Tour Guide. However, these are some of the calmest sites which you should visit as a tourist and as a historian.
Via Dolorosa is Latin for way of suffering. This is the path that is believed to be the one that was walked down by Jesus for his crucifixion. This is why this is one of the most celebrated routes for Christians. On any other day, you can walk this route easily by yourself but on Friday, you can accompany the procession of the monks. This path is marked by 14 Stations of the cross with 5 being inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher since the 15th Century. The walk begins from the 1st Station of the cross that is the Muslim Quarter on the Via Dolorosa Street. Followed by the 2nd station which is the Chapel of Flagellation where Jesus was believed to have been scourged. Following the 7 stations of the Cross, you reach the 9th station that is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. And inside the Church, you will find the rest 5 stations.
Tower of David
The Tower of David, which is also known as the Jerusalem Citadel is located near the entrance of the Old City of Jerusalem was built in about 24 BC. The original Citadel was built by King Herod which had 3 towers named after his brother Phasael, his wife Mariamne, and his friend Hippicus. Later on, it was destroyed. The Citadel you see today was rebuilt in the 14th century on the old foundation of the tallest tower Phasael. You can get the best view of the city from the rooftop, and you can also enjoy the light and sound show in the evening.
The Christian Quarter is located in the north of the Jaffa gates (one of the 7 main open gates) of the old city of Jerusalem. It is said that this Christian Quarter has about 40 Christian holy places including the Church of Holy Sepulcher. Other holy places include Monasteries like the Ethiopian Monastery, Mosques like the Mosque of Omar and Al-Khanqah al-Salahiyya Mosque, Churches like the Church of St. John the Baptist, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer and also the Markets. Christian Quarter is definitely a part of our Jerusalem Tour Guide.
The busiest and liveliest place in Jerusalem is the Muslim Quater. It is the home to the best Arab market. This Quarter is located from the northern wall of the Temple Mount in the south to Lion’s gate in the east part to the Western Wall in the west running to the Damascus Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem. More than 20,000 Muslims reside there. It is also home to the first 7 stations of the cross. Walking down Antonia Street, you will come across the beautiful St. Anne’s Church and the Pool of Bethesda.