Introducing the City of Jerusalem
The city of Jerusalem draws millions of tourists of each year, and not without good reason. The city is rich with history, packed full of significant religious sites, and a wonderful place to visit for everyone from backpackers to families to seniors.
Unfortunately, most people don’t know as much about Jerusalem as they do other major cities like New York City or Paris. Here is a quick overview of Jerusalem essentials and a short introduction to get you excited about visiting this city in Israel.
There is much to see in Jerusalem, but the things you simply cannot skip are:
- The City of Jerusalem: There are multiple great vantage points which allow you to see the whole city of Jerusalem in all its glory. The Tayelet, Mount of Olives (which is outside the city but worth the effort to get there), Montefiore’s Windmill and Viewpoint, and Mount Scopus all offer beautiful views of the city.
- Old City: The Old City is broken up into different quarters: Christian, Armenian, Jewish, and Muslim. You will enter each quarter from a different historical gate including Jaffa Gate, New Gate, Damascus Gate, and many more. Popular sites within the Old City include Dome of the Rock, Al Aqsa Mosque, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the Wailing Wall.
- Museums: No vacation is complete without a few stops at museums. The Bible Lands Museum will answer all your questions about the bible, the Bloomfield Science Museum is great for kids, and the Yad Vashem Museum (a Holocaust remembrance museum) is filled with amazing art, archives, a garden, and more. There are many other museums in the city to explore as well.
- Day trip to the Dead Sea: The Dead Sea is just a day trip from Jerusalem, and an excellent adventure. The salty waters of the Dead Sea are simply indescribable, and experience every tourist visiting Jerusalem should do their best to go see. Even though the water makes it easy to float – be safe and only float on your back and always wear sandals in the water at all times.
Things to Know
- The best time to travel is in spring or fall. Summer is very hot and winter is very cold. Rain and snow are common during the colder months while dryness is a concern during summer.
- The currency used in Israel is known as the Israeli shekel. Many tourists choose to just use their VISA card at ATMs around the city rather than exchanging money before their trip.
- Give yourself extra time to navigate security at the airport when leaving Jerusalem.
- As with all big cities, pickpocketers are a concern in Jerusalem, especially in crowded squares and streets. Be aware and keep valuables where you can see and feel them at all times.
- Last but not least, remember that many of the religious monuments have been meaningful landmarks for different groups of people for centuries. Be sure to wear clothing that is respectful and follow all rules when visiting these landmarks.