Jerusalem is chock-full of ancient, religious, and picturesque sites that will leave you in awe, giving you an even greater appreciation of this city. Let’s explore six must-see places worth adding to your Jerusalem bucket list and how these activities will make your trip not just a vacation but an experience you’ll never forget.
Visit the Western Wall
No list of Jerusalem bucket list items would be complete without the Western Wall. It’s the most crucial religious landmark for Jewish individuals worldwide. This rigid wall, which debuted a couple of thousand years ago, was erected to support the soil on the Temple Mount (more on this hill later) and keep the land from being worn away.
The Temple sustained destruction in 70 Anno Domini (A.D.). The Jewish people were quickly taken into exile from Jerusalem. They couldn’t locate the Temple when they went back to Jerusalem, so the Western Wall — also called the Wailing Wall —became a popular place to pray and grieve over the Temple’s demise. It’s the only wall left from the Temple and is now treated like a synagogue where males and females can pray by themselves.
A popular time to experience the Western Wall is Friday evening. That’s the start of the Sabbath, the 24-hour period of worship and relaxation that Jews observe each week from Friday at dusk to Saturday at dusk, so you’ll likely see people praying there.
Go to the Garden of Gethsemane
The Garden of Gethesmane is the garden where Christ prayed to God on the evening of His death on the cross on Calvary. It’s another excellent historical site to visit to feel a greater connection with Jesus. This site isn’t just impressive for its religious history, though. The olive trees in the garden are among the globe’s oldest, with some being 800-plus years of age. These trees likely came from those present during Jesus’s famous prayer time there.
Stop By the Temple Mount
The Temple Mount is also called the Al Aqsa Mosque Temple Mount Rock. This famous hill is Judaism’s most sacred site and a holy place for Christians. It’s even a top place to visit for Muslims, ranking after Mecca and Medina. Mecca is Islam’s holiest landmark since it’s the site of The Sacred Mosque. Medina is the site of the Muslim prophet Muhammad’s grave.
Muslims honor the Temple Mount because they view Jesus as a prophet and acknowledge it as the place where He and other prophets worshiped. They also believe Mohammed prayed in the direction of the Temple Mount and other sites. The mountain is currently home to Islam’s Aqsa Mosque. You may face a lengthy line to visit the hill, but waiting in line is worth it to view this holy site.
While in line, consider striking up a conversation about your faith, whether Muslim or Christian. What if you don’t feel comfortable speaking with a stranger about your beliefs? A beautiful faith-based jewelry piece can be an easy conversation starter.
Explore the City of David
The cCty of David archaeological area is an excellent place to check out if you’re passionate about ancient history. It’s where Jerusalem was born, and King David sat on the throne. The king brought the Jews together and spearheaded the building of the first temple.
This site is located on the southern side of the Old City, a place where Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Armenians reside in separate quarters. This city is worth a visit to take in the various quarters’ sights and smells. The Western Wall mentioned above is also located in the Old City.
Bring your walking shoes if you plan to visit the City of David. It’ll take around one hour to a few hours to explore, and you’ll be climbing and descending many steps. You’ll also have the chance to travel through two tunnels: Hezekiah’s Tunnel and the Warren Tunnel. The first tunnel is wet, and the second one is a dry, skinny stone tunnel. They’re both perfect for the adventurous type to take in.
Go to the Mount of Olives
The Mount of Olives is another captivating site located beyond the Old City. Standing on the hill will give you a stunning vantage point of Jerusalem. A big cemetery is located on the mountain. Jews often want their bodies to be placed there so they’ll rise first when their Messiah comes one day based on their religious tradition.
Embrace the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
This church, the Church Of The Holy Sepulchre, is one of Christianity’s most sacred sites. It’s the place where Christ was killed and buried. Here is where you’ll see Jesus’s empty tomb, called the Aedicule. You’ll also see what’s called the Stone of Unction, where Christ’s body was cleaned following His crucifixion. Another must-see at this site is an altar over what’s called the Rock of Calvary. This is where Jesus’s cross was erected. Prepare for lengthy lines to see this altar and the tomb.
Embrace Jerusalem With Confidence
A trip to Jerusalem will allow you to go on an adventure of a lifetime. Budget time for a visit to the famous Western Wall, Garden of Gethsemane, and Temple Mount. Remember to also take a peek at the City of David, Mount of Olives, and Jesus’s crucifixion site and tomb. Consider all of the above-listed Jerusalem bucket list sites as you seek to experience this city to the fullest.
- Israel Tourism site: Go Israel
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– Cover photo by Walkerssk on Pixabay.com.