With Israel slowly coming out of lockdown Aviya and I went on a day trip to Jerusalem! Although one day isn’t enough to see all of the city we just went through the highlights. Not everything is fully opened yet, but enough to explore this ancient city.
Not many cities have a history that compares to the capital of Israel: Jerusalem. It is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions of Christianity, Islam and of course Judaism. Next to that Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world. So for the history and religious fans there is enough to explore. You are not a history or religion fan? Stay tuned Jerusalem has enough to offer for you too!
When coming to Jerusalem a must visit is the Old City of Jerusalem. It is where the 3 main religions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) are coming together in a one kilometre walled city. Next to the old buildings you will find a lot of markets and small, cozy streets full of tourist merchandise.
The people of Jewish faith have their Western Wall (aka the Wailing Wall, aka the Complain Wall or in Hebrew Kotel. The wall is the last remaining wall of what once was an old Jewish Temple. It is one of the holiest sites for Jews.
The wall is part of an expansion built by King Herod in 20 BCE as part of the Second Temple. The Romans later destroyed the temple in 70 BCE and the Western Wall survived. Now for hundreds of years Jews from around the world come to this wall to pray. People write notes to their God and place them between the ancient stones of the Western Wall.
The wall has two sections as men and women don’t pray together. The male section is a lot bigger than the females section. Due to the corona virus the Wall has even more little tents and gates so people would keep their distance.
Dome of the Rock
Right above the Western Wall you will find the 3rd holiest site for Muslims after Mecca and Medina. This is the place the prophet Muhammad is said to have made his “Night Journey” to the throne of God. Even though the Dome of the Rock isn’t a mosque, it is the first Muslim monument for public worship.
When the Muslims conquered Jerusalem back in the 7th century they built the Dome of the Rock. It is built on top of the remains of several holy Jewish sites and temples. The site has a significant value to both religions. However due to restrictions not everyone is allowed there. Tourists are welcome at certain hours of the day though, but you are not allowed to enter the Dome or touch anything.
The Temple Mount itself counts over several hundred buildings and structures including walls, gates, arches, a mosque and more dating back from several different time periods.
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
So we discussed briefly the Jewish and Islamic holy sites, meaning it is now time for the Christianity. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is one of the most holy and special sites of this religion. The church is home to not one, but two holy sites. One is the place where Jesus is crucified and the other is the place he was buried and later resurrected.
Once you walk into the church you will see the Stone of Anointing. It is believed that this is the place where Jesus body was prepared for burial. Lots of people kneel down here and kiss the stone and do a prayer. Lamps with candles and incense hang along an ornate stand over the stone.
Then there is the Aedicule, which is a small chapel housing the Holy Sepulchre. It holds the Angel’s Stone, believed to be a fragment of the stone that sealed Jesus’s tomb and the actual tomb. The church is very well decorated and very impressive to walk around in.
Obviously there are enough shop opportunities in the different districts within the Old City of Jerusalem. However there are also enough other places to shop with like big malls with the normal big brand shops. Next to that you got Jaffa Street which is filled with lots of stores and pubs and restaurants. It is a great place to hang around.
Next to that you can find another small little tourist attraction called Umbrella Street. This isn’t the official name of the street, but it gives you a clue what it is all about. Thousands of umbrellas are hanging above the street giving an amazing colorful look.
If there is one thing Israelis can’t live without it is food. Obviously everyone in the world needs food, but Israelis go mental for it. So when in Jerusalem there are some food places that are a must visit! Not only the tourists come here, but also the locals.
After arriving in Jerusalem (or waking up if you already stayed there) the best place to start your day is Kadosh Café Patisserie. This cute little pastry shop is famous for offering some of the best pastry in Jerusalem. The food is absolutely amazing and although a bit pricey totally worth it.
The pastry is fresh, fluffy and filled with “healthy” fruit and/or chocolate. Aviya and I started our day in Jerusalem and bought some of the best pastries I ever tasted. However bare in mind it’s not cheap. We had 2 coffees and 6 of the best pastries and paid €46,83 (₪187.24 or $55.59). Totally worth it though. Some of our recommendations are the sufganiyah, pistachio croissant and the quiche.
View this post on Instagram
Lunch or dinner? Lunner!
So with the pastries we had for breakfast we were fine for most of the day and not in need of a lunch. However the Machane Yehuda Market offers you the perfect place to have either a big meal or just a ton of little bites.
It is the largest market within Jerusalem and offers anything from meat, fish, vegetables, fruit and bread. The market, or shuk in Hebrew is the biggest one in Jerusalem and is really worth the visit. Follow your nose and see all the bright colors of the different vendors that are here. Most have little bits of food to try out and otherwise you can always buy small portions. You will not leave this place empty handed or feeling hungry.
When the night comes in the market transforms to a nightlife hotspot. Restaurants and bars open up and a lot of locals and tourists tend to hang out together then. I had a great time last year having a few beers at night!
Little side note most of the shutters on the market are very well decorated with artwork from local artists. So even after opening hours of the market this place offers something to see.
We will back
Aviya and I love Jerusalem and we will be definitely coming back soon! Hopefully it also made you wanna come to Jerusalem and if so stay tuned because with us going back it would mean we will write some posts about it!
Read all Israel posts here.
Hebrew word of the post
And now for something new learn Hebrew with me. The word of this blog is shuk or in Hebrew: השוק.