"Jerusalem is an amazing city. Whether you go for a city break, a cultural trip or on a historical tour, you are guaranteed an unforgettable trip."
A historic melting pot that is the centre of three of the world’s most important religions that everyone should see at least once. It has long been a place of pilgrimage for Muslims, Christians and Jews and is the location where both Muhammed and Jesus were believed to have ascended to heaven. This along with numerous other places of interest from the Bible, the Quran and the Torah, ensure that you will be walking through streets that ooze historical significance. It is a place that has changed hands many times, ensuring that its unique neighbourhoods have developed their own special character, with the bells of the Christian Quarter, the incense of the Muslim Quarter, the bright coloured pottery of the Armenian Quarter and the beauty of the Jewish Quarter all shining through like beacons. Here, the past meets the present with the city’s extremely rich history and a dynamic present, to be discovered on your city break. Step back in time in Jerusalem’s Old City, with its colourful bazaars, narrow cobbled streets lined with traditional cafes. The New City is awash with high street fashion and jewellery outlets, cosmopolitan restaurants and modern cafes.
Outside of the Old City it is a modern capital, providing great food, incredible culture and a vibrant nightlife, ensuring that Jerusalem has something to cater to every imaginable taste.
Jerusalem Travel Guide
At A Glance:
A historic city situated in the very heart of the Middle East it is nestled between the Judaean Mountains, the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. It is most famous for its religious significance, being arguably the most important religious city in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This has caused it to have a turbulent history, with each of the various religions seeking to invade, control and take it back from each other. It is the declared capital of both Israel and Palestine, although both dispute each other’s right to do so. The city is traditionally divided into the Jewish, the Muslim, the Armenian and the Christian quarter and has a population of just under 1 million.
Jerusalem has a temperate Mediterranean climate, which peaks during the summer months of July and August, when temperatures reach an average of between 23 and 25 degrees. However, it is generally dry from May to October, making that the ideal time to visit. Its winters are mild and wet, with January representing the wettest month. All in all, it never gets especially cold, making it a good all year-round holiday destination.
History and Culture
It is difficult to think of a more important city in world history than Jerusalem, thanks to the crucial role it plays in three of the world’s major religions. It was first inhabited around 4000BC and was named by the Philistines, who are believed to be the ancestors of the modern-day Palestinians. It was invaded in around 1000 BC by the Israelite King David, who subsequently built walls around the city. King Solomon then constructed the first temple on the hill, now known as the Temple Mount, making it the spiritual capital of Judaism. The Jewish rulers eventually fell to the legendary king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, subsequently falling to Alexander the Great during his conquests of the eastern world. It fell under the control of the Ptolemies during the war of the successors and the passed from the Maccabees to the Romans. The city then came to the fore during Roman rule, when Jesus Christ was supposedly born in a nearby town called Bethlehem and then crucified in the city around 30 years later. His death made it a place of pilgrimage for Christians and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built on the spot where he was supposedly crucified and buried. Jerusalem then became a crucial part of the Roman Empire, being ruled under the Herod dynasty, until it rebelled in 70 AD and the famous Temple on the Mount was destroyed as retribution. The temple was then rebuilt by Hadrian in 135, before Jerusalem became a sacred part of the empire, when Rome adopted Christianity in 313 AD. Jerusalem was then conquered by Islam in 638 AD, becoming a crucial part of the faith due to the belief that Muhammed ascended to heaven from it. They constructed the al-Haram al-Sharif Mosque in tribute to this act, but Islamic rulers were fairly relaxed about pilgrimage, allowing the three faiths to live in harmony. This changed in the 11th century when tensions erupted, and the Muslim rulers destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, signalling the beginning of the crusades. The city then swapped between Christianity and Islam for the next 300 years, with the crusader armies generally capturing it, before becoming isolated and it falling back to Islam. The city then came under control of the Ottoman Empire, before the Zionist movement of the late 19th century started bringing Jews back to it, with Jerusalem becoming a part of Israel in 1948.
The enchanting city is the ideal location for anyone who is interested in history with a plethora of amazing sites to see on the family holiday, including the Temple Mount and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. For those seeking something different then the Bloomfield Science Museum provides an excellent immersive educational experience on all things technology related. Wildlife lovers should check out the Biblical Zoo, which is home to more than 170 different species of animal or the Jerusalem Bird Observatory where you can find a myriad of different kinds of bird.
Tours and Attractions
No trip to Jerusalem would be complete without a trip to the incredible places of religious significance that it holds, including the Temple Mount and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Old Town is also a fascinating place, with varying cultures depending on whether you are in the Christian, Muslim, Armenian or Jewish Quarter. While adventurous souls should check out the Mount of Olives, which is the largest Jewish burial site in the world and hosts the tombs of Mary and Joseph.
As Israel’s second-best night-time destination after Tel-Aviv (nicknamed the city that never sleeps), the city offers a great range of nightlife. However, it is also a city of contrasts, with the old city almost completely closed during the night due to its holy nature and most of the action taking place in the city centre, which is located around Zion Square: an area crammed with student bars and nightclubs making it ideal for those seeking a party. Other places of note include the area around the Machane Yehuda Market, which combines the selling of fresh produce and street food with several great bars and clubs.
The most interesting shopping in Jerusalem is found within the historic quarters of its Old City, which contain products from cultures around the world. A visit to the Armenian Quarter will take you to shops selling gorgeous Armenian pottery, whose delicate design and ornamental look have made it a favourite of people around the world. While the Muslim Quarter is equally unique, featuring embroidered items done in a traditional Palestinian way. The Jewish Quarter is home to many antique and jewellery shops, while visitors seeking things like fashion items will find them in the more modern part of the city. Suffice to say Jerusalem has enough shopping to cater to every single possible taste.