When you mention Jerusalem all we think about is the spiritual meaning of this city. City that have so many religious spots from all religions that make Jerusalem spiritual center of the whole World. During my stay in Israel i was going to Jerusalem for many times. I was living in Tel Aviv in the period of December 2014 till November 2015. And in this 11 months i was several time to visit friends and see a bit from the city.Must say that there is so many things to see and visit so if you want to see everything you need some more time.
Way to get to Jerusalem
Jerusalem doesn’t have an airport so if you come with a plane to Israel than you must arrive first on Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv and than catch a shuttle bus called monit sherut or use the public bus number 485. Also there is an option to take a train but that one not going directly to the city is circuling around half of Israel so i wouldn’t recommend to you. Also have on mind that during the Shabbath ( friday 17;00 till saturday 17;00 ) you dont have any public transport or shuttle bus so only way to get is with taxi that cost a lot ( 40$ is to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem might be 60-70$) cost of the public transport will cost you 4,5$ and you can get it from Terminal 1 or Terminal 3.
I was using several different number of buses to get to Jerusalem when i was in Israel. If you are in Israel you can get many options to get there. Also even if you want to hitchhike is also very possible. Distance between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is not so big. In Tel Aviv buses are going mainly from Karmiel bus stop terminal near the Karmiel market or from the Central Railway station terminal.
Things to do in Jerusalem
As a spiritual center most of the people that visit this city put accent on the religious places. Most of them located in the old city. Jerusalem was also burn to the ground in several occasions so there was a building of the new city on the top of the old ruins. In old city of Jerusalem in many places you can see underground tunnels that will take you inside to see how was the city before.
Streets in the old quarter are narrow and you can feel the energy going around this city. Most famous places to visit are : Western Wall ,Church of the Holy Sepulture, Dome of the Rock. This three are representing Judaism,Christianity and Islam holy spots. Many people from all over the world comes to see those places. To pray and ask from their God for a help in every aspects of their life.
For me as not religious person and person that is only interested in the structures and with how much love and energy they were build was fascinating to be around those spots. This is just a glimpse from what Jerusalem offer.
The holiest place in Judaism is the Temple Mount where the Second Temple stood until it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E. Mistakenly, the Western Wall is generally thought to be the holiest site, but prayers at this location are a relatively recent phenomenon, which were prompted, ironically, by a Muslim conqueror.
Since than wall and the Temple ground were under the control of the many nations. Suleyman in the 15 century restore the walls and encourage Sephardic Jews from Spain and Portugal to move in. This wall today is the place where Jews have their prays. Is a separate in two sections Male and Female, if you want to go near the wall you need to have that little hat Kippur even for the tourists.
CHURCH OF HOLY SEPULCHRE
The church has long been a major pilgrimage center for Christians all around the world. According to the New Testament, Jesus was crucified at Golgotha, “the place of the skull. This has been identified as an area of abandoned stone quarries just outside the city wall .
This place is one of the holiest for the Christians and is very often full with people in and out of the church.It was build in 332 by Constantine the Great. They believe that this was the place where Jesus resurrect from his grave. So as a mark from that time into the church there is an empty grave believed to be the Jesus grave.
DOME OF THE ROCK
Dome was build in the time of the Arabic ruling of Jerusalem and is one of the holiest places for islamic believers. Was build in 6 century AD, on the ground where was the Roman temple and where was also the destroyed Second Jewish temple. Its very rich with the decoration and Dome is build from the gold. When you see the structure looks very impressive and is beautiful from inside as much as is beautiful from outside.
List of things to see doesn’t stop here. East from the Jerusalem old cities is the Mount Olives , place where you have churches, Also is a sacred place for the Judaism because of the old cemetery there. They believe that resurrection will start from there so many of them want to be buried there. Once was covered with olives so from there the name comes but after many biblical events happened there place become significant for the religious people.
Another place very important from the religious and historical point is Mount Zion that is also located outside of the city walls. That was the place that was a starting point for the City of David.The whole complex was build as a citadel and was believed that was a city of God as well.Also is a place where David was buried and where his tomb is.
On one of the Jerusalem hills Jesus was crucified and there still you can see the crosses where is believed that he was put on. Name of this hill is Golgotha or Calvary. In the foot of the Mount Olives you have the tomb of Virgin Mary. Place where people believe Mary was buried. This is one of the most visited places in Jerusalem by plenty of believers.
If you like to visit some history museums than you can check the Holocaust memorial museum Yad Vashem . This place is keep the memories from that dark period of Israel and Jews history. Ticho house and museum is another educational center where you can learn about the history and to spend some time relaxing in the restaurant that is on the spot.
Israel national museum is a futuristic building that held some exhibition for the ancient and bit newer Israeli history. Its great place to spend a afternoon and learn bit more about the history of this place. There is plenty other galleries or museums that you can visit around the Old City. Many sacred places on and under the ground . There is also many tours that will take you underground to see the old ruins of Jerusalem that was burn and destroy so many times and yet was rebuilding and coming back with his glory and magic.
Outdoor activities in Jerusalem
For a person like me that is more into the hiking and outdoor activities Jerusalem offer a lot as well as for the religious people that come. The Teddy Park opposite the Old City offer some mainly family activities for you and your kids if you travel with kids. For solo travelers like me also offer some nice spots for recreation and relaxation. I found it as a perfect spot for practicing yoga.
In my often visits of the city of Jerusalem very often i go on hikes. This is some of the places i have been hiking. Some of them are easy some are bit hard.
Perhaps the richest area with the most number of hikes close by Jerusalem is the Sataf Forest. We’ve picked three outstanding trails in this area. The first – and easiest – is the extremely popular 7-kilometer loop that circles Har (Mount) Eitan. At the cooling end of a hot summer day, this wide dirt road is often packed with hikers, bikers and joggers. Run it in under an hour, or walk it in two and a half.
Also part of the big Israeli National Hiking trail that combine 1000 km hiking paths from south to north . Leave the Israel Trail to enter the kibbutz. Once inside, pass the park and follow the signs to Ein (Spring) Tzuba. At the large OSG factory building, turn right and follow the red path (slightly left) into the vineyards of the Tzuba Winery before eventually meeting up with the green trail. Be careful not to miss the spring (the signage points from the opposite direction), a charming oasis built around the source of underground water that gives the area its name. There is a grove of trees with picnic benches and lots of grass, with the vineyards just outside. The trail eventually returns you to Road 395, where you can walk back to your car by way of the Sataf area grounds. Look for the blue trail a few meters along the road that winds back to Jerusalem.
Shvil HaMa’ayanot is both breathtaking and brief (just 3 kilometers). It’s not a loop, but at only an hour or so in each direction, you won’t regret returning on the same path. The starting point is on the road that leads between Hadassah Medical Center-Ein Kerem and Moshav Even Sapir. You can visit Ein Hendek, a popular picnic spot and spring at either the beginning or end of the hike; it’s about a 15-minute walk.
Shvil HaMa’ayanot gets its name from the many springs (ma’ayanot) along its way. You can stop at each one and even go for a dip in some. There are tunnels and views into the Judean Hills the entire length of the tiyul, which proceeds through pine, oak, carob and olive trees. You end up at a picnic spot with tables and shade just down the hill from Yad Kennedy. Eat your lunch here before returning the way you came.
This lovely trek starts at the Bar Behar restaurant and ice-cream stand, a short drive from Jerusalem in the Bar Giora area (the restaurant is on the road to Nes Harim). The path descends, winding past a spring until you reach the nahal itself, a relatively short jaunt at less than an hour. While there’s no water in the nahal, it’s very shady. In the spring and summer, watch out for flies!
Those are just few of the trails i took , there is few more that i havent go like Hirbet Itab 3,5 hours long hike, than Nahal Kesalon a 2,5 hour hike and Ceasar route which is the shortest of them all is just a 90 min.
This part of the Israel Trail is known as Derech HaKaiser – the Caesar’s Route – and was built by the Romans to facilitate travel with their armies and horses toward Jerusalem. You’ll pass over ancient hewn steps in one section of the road. At the Beit Bad end, there is a reconstructed Roman-era wine press. Archaeologists believe the road was built in 130 CE in honor of the visit of Emperor Hadrian.
Going out , dinning , clubbing , night life in Jerusalem
Jerusalem has a less busy night life than vibrate Tel Aviv but yet offer some nice places where you can enjoy in nice night and memorable going out. Many great places especially in the Jaffa street in the center of the city. Plenty local restaurant and lounge that offer great food and fantastic time. Every time when i was going there i use to go to Aroma cafe place where they make some nice cakes or cookies and good coffee. My place for having a great time and beer was Mike`s Place in the center of the city on Yafo street . I always love to go there and have few dark beer Leffe beers.
If you love to have some good hummus i would recommend Ben Sira Hummus place. Its located in Be Sira street and is one of the best i ever been there. Also around the Jerusalem market place you can find several god places as well.
Accommodation in Jerusalem
As a very touristic place Jerusalem have many option for accommodation from very budget stay in Abraham Hostels for 10 euro a bed in bunk bed room to super expensive stay in Hilton , Hyat or similar place. I would recommend airbnb or hostels to stay at. Hostels are cheap and clean. Also you will meet many people travelers and share some experience with.
At the end of this article hope that you will like it and if you didnt visit this lovely city till now that you will do it now. Jerusalem is a true center of the Earth. A spiritual center like no one else.