See the masterpiece of Islamic architecture - Dome of the Rock
First completed in the year 691 before collapsing and being rebuilt in 1022, the Dome of the Rock is a stunning example of Islamic architecture, and one of the old examples still standing in the modern world. The rock at the centre of this structure - known as the foundation stone of the world - is said to mark the spot where Prophet Muhammad's Night Journey to heaven took place, making it one of the holiest shrines of the Islamic faith. With a breathtaking gold dome roof and intricate blue mosaic walls, this site is not surprisingly one of the most popular attractions in Israel, found in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City.
Stroll through the Mahane Yehuda Market
Some 250 vendors fill Jerusalem’s energetic marketplace, Mahane Yehuda Market, wafting with the aroma of falafels and freshly baked bread. First open in the late 1800’s, the marketplace has changed dramatically over the years, evolving to its current state as both a local market and tourist attraction, as well as a nighttime arena of restaurants and bars with a multicultural food offering. Visit Mahane Yehuda on a Friday to see ‘The Shuk’ in full swing.
Be amazed by the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
The spiritual epicentre of the planet and one of the oldest cities in the world, Jerusalem travel sits high on the to-visit list of many travellers, particularly those with an appreciation of ancient marvels. Buried within Jerusalem’s Old City Christian Quarter sits the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the supposed site of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, with a shrine now standing around his empty tomb. Built in the year 335, you need not be a religious devotee to appreciate the significance and architectural wonder of this Israel landmark.
Don’t miss the Shrine of the Book
Home of the Dead Sea Scrolls - important ancient Jewish manuscripts - the building of the Shrine of the Book is one of many Jerusalem attractions that can draw a crowd. Despite being built in the 1960’s, the architectural style of the site is still regarded as progressive and futuristic, with a white dome, modernist entrance and black basalt wall. Each of the important scrolls takes a special rests from public viewing after a few months on view, to preserve them for generations of travellers to come.
Buy handmade jewelry at the Old City Market (Arab Souq)
Indulge your inner-shopaholic whilst taking a lesson in history and culture, by visiting the Old City Market also known as the Arab Souq. Here you can buy exquisite handmade jewellery, traditional fabrics, candy, ornaments and more, with much of the wares boasting the immense beauty of Arab aesthetic. Walking the stone alleyways of the Muslim Quarter offers a culturally rich shopping experience, and is a chance to support the artisan work of the Middle East.
Pay a visit to the Tower of David (Citadel)
Clear the better half of a day and dedicate it to the Tower of David, one of the most impressive structures found in the entire country. The medieval fortress offers views that sweep beyond central Jerusalem to the Judean Desert and Mount of Olives, even reaching the distant Dead Sea. Archaeological discoveries made here date back some 2,000 years, and despite the immense history of the citadel itself, its creamy archways, stairwells and internal mosque will still leave you breathless with admiration.
Things to do in Jerusalem
Sounds of the Old City
A 4-day event held each year in March, Sounds of the Old City celebrates international music in the historic setting Jerusalem. Various ensembles and instruments are showcased around the Old City, including important sites like Hurva Square, the Tower of David, and Jaffa Gate.
A Jewish celebration of liberation honoured for a week every year, Passover is momentous part of the Israeli calendar. Expect outdoor markets, street performances and overflowing restaurants, or accept the exceptional hospitality of Judaism devotees by attending a family passover meal - it is one of the most culturally rich things to do in Jerusalem.
The Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah falls in the Hebrew month of Tishrei, which usually pairs with the Gregorian calendar month of September. The time is marked by reverence, family time, shared meal and sweet treats, followed by a 10-day holiday.
Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival
Drumming circles, street parties and inspirational talks are just some of the features of the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival that attract visitors from both Israel and afar. Usually held for over a week each September, this soul-stirring festival boasts over 250 artists from over 15 different countries and is one of the most beloved events in Jerusalem Israel.
Top 4 Festivals in Jerusalem
Journeying into the world of Jerusalem has an undeniably religious undercurrent, even present in the city’s collection of festivals and events. Join Passover and the Jewish new year celebrations of Rosh Hashana, or time your trip with the mystic Sounds of the Old City, which brags an incredible line-up of international music.
Menachem Begin Heritage Center
It would be easy to assume you need to be a politics enthusiast in order to appreciate a museum honour the sixth president of Israel. However, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center does more than tell the inspiring life of Menachem Begin, also showing impressive architecture, ancient burial caves, and an archeological garden.
A medley of art and archeology, the Israel Museum has grown considerably since it was established in 1965, now holding a collection of over half a million items. Sprawling across 4 wings and offering a rotation of progressive exhibitions, this important space is one of the best museums in Israel.
From 16th century copper soup kettles to 600 copies of the Qur'an, the Islamic Museum found in Jerusalem’s Old City hold numerous artefacts of the Islamic culture. Steeped in history and house in elegant building with a central dome, it is one of the most important galleries in Israel.
Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art
Step inside the charming stone building of Nahon Museum to admire a collection of treasures that recreate the life of Jewish people living in Italy over many decades gone by. Located on Hillel Street, the space was once a synagogue, and is now one of the most beloved museums in Jerusalem.
Top 4 Museums and Galleries in Jerusalem
From 16th century copper kettles to the artistic treasures of Jewish people living in Italy, the museums found in Jerusalem speak deeply of religion and history. Start at the Israel Museum and make time for Bible Lands and the Islamic Museum, all will leave you in a state of complete awe.
One of the region’s most beloved exports, the humble falafel has fans in every corner of the globe. Usually made from ground fava beans and or chickpeas, mixed with herbs and deep fried, these tasty balls are commonly served in a pita bread pocket heaped with salad, tahini sauces and pickled vegetables.
Best eaten at Moshiko Falafel, Ben Yehuda 5
The delicious pastry snack of börek may once have been the food of immigrants, it has grown to be a popular dish amongst all walks of life in Israel. The fillings found within the flakey sheets of pastry are many and varied, ranging from tzfat cheese with za'atar herbs to simple mashed potato.
Best eaten at Manou Bashouk, Etz Hayyim St, Jerusalem
A Shabbat favourite across Israel and Yemen, jachnun is another must try from the country’s banquet of pastries. Typically served with a tomato puree, eggs and hot sauce, this breakfast item is one you’ll reach for again and again.
Best eaten at Jachnun Bar, 28, Hillel St
Rapidly gaining popularity beyond the boundaries of the Middle East, shakshuka is a heartwarming egg dish consumed in the AM. Usually served in a small pan, you’ll find two eggs floating poached in a tomato stew, likely filled with herbs, mushrooms and vegetables.
Best eaten at Tmol Shilshom, Yo'el Moshe Salomon St 5
Food in Jerusalem
Perfectly soft falafel crammed in hot pita bread heaped with condiments. Pastry snacks stuffed with cheese and herbs. And eggs sitting poached in a herb-filled tomato stew. It won’t take long to fall in love with the food found in Jerusalem.