48 Hours In Jerusalem

Above: Skyline of the Old City at the Western Wall and Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

The Holy city of Jerusalem, situated on a plateau within the famous Judean Mountains is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, and this is present around every street corner. Israel’s Old City is legendary for its Religious monuments including the Temple Mount, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall. According to all 3 major Religions, Jerusalem is a Holy site, with Judaism paying homage to King Solomon’s orders to build the city; Christianity focusing on the city as the place of Jesus’ crucifixion; and Islam believing that Muhammad rose to Heaven in the city. 

What to see

Thanks mainly to Jerusalem’s varied Religious history, there is an abundance of sights to see when in the city, and something breath-taking or unbelievable is just around every corner. For Christian’s the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is one of the most symbolic and important monuments to the Faith, lying at the heart of the Old City’s Christian Quarter. The Church is regarded as the site of Jesus’ resurrection. Guests enter the Church via a small doorway before descending a flight of stone stairs to the spiritually uplifting and totally silent Edicule, whose walls are adorned with lanterns and crosses that have been left by pilgrims for centuries. Jerusalem is also world famous for the Western Wall, the remnants of the first Jewish Temple, and a place for Jewish pilgrimage for more than a thousand years. Stand-by and respectfully watch as Jews pray for hours on end towards the wall, and why not leave a prayer note in a crack in the wall?

What to eat

Food is an important part of Jerusalem’s culture, and there is no better place to sample local delicacies that at Jafar Sweets, a shop opened by Mohammad Jafar in 1951, and a place to try the city’s best Kanafeh (cheese pastry soaked in a sugary syrup), a dish typical of the Ottoman Empire. Jafar’s is located in the Muslim Quarter on Beit HaBad Street and is well worth a visit.

For a full restaurant experience when in Jerusalem, try the Arcadia Restaurant which is famous for deconstructing traditional local dishes. Award winning chef Ezra Kedem serves luxurious dishes including Israeli Caviar from the Upper Galili for 1085 New Shekels and Sirloin of baby lamb from the Galili, cereal risotto, garlic confit sweetbreads with fresh bay leaves for just 185 ILS per person. Not to be missed when in this amazing city.

What to do

No visit to Jerusalem would be complete without taking a stroll through the maze that is Jerusalem Old City, which is held dear by hundreds of millions of people throughout the world. Walk past the crumbling buildings and hidden bazaars selling all kinds of tantalising treats. Try to image what life was once like when the city was first built; there is nowhere else in the world that has the same feel as the legendary Old City. It is only right when in the city of the Jews to pay homage to the millions that lost their lives during the Holocaust of 1939-45 at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. You only need to spare a few minutes, but you should definitely take a walk through the Hall of Names where the many faces who lost their lives look down on you.

Where to shop

Visitors to Jerusalem should try to buy a memento or two to remind themselves of their visit to this extraordinary city. Machane Yehuda Market is an ideal place to search for something a little different to buy, with locally grown Jaffa oranges, locally pressed oils and locally grown wines featuring on the list of gifts to buy. Mamilla outdoor shopping street is a luxurious alternative to Machane Yehuda, with some of the world’s most luxurious retailers and restaurants having a presence here. The chic but historic looking buildings are worth a visit in their own right.

To find out more about Jerusalem visit www.jerusalem.muni.il or www.goisrael.com.

Tags: Jerusalem, Travel Guide

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