1. Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world full of History and Holy places for three of the biggest religions in the world: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. That’s why you should definitively visit the Old City of Jerusalem, divided into four quarters: The Jewish Quarter, The Armenian Quarter, The Christian Quarter, and The Muslim Quarter. This one-kilometer walled-in area in the center of Jerusalem is one of the most intense places seen and cannot be missed.
2. If you are a Christian, you should visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the place both of the crucifixion and the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. This is one of Jerusalem’s main landmarks, going there I had to swim through the crowd of many pilgrims and visitors.
3. I visited Jerusalem before Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. These days were very important for the Jewish community, praying days to the Western Wall. These prayers are either spoken or written down and placed in the cracks of the wall. The wall is divided into two sections, one area for males and the other for females. The Western Wall is free to visit and is open all day, year-round. Women and men should be dressed modestly to visit it and to pray, women should have their legs and shoulders covered and the men should cover their heads.
4. One of the most impressive holy sites from the Old City is the Dome of the Rock, the Golden Mosque. The Temple Mount is the third holiest site for Muslims behind Mecca and Medina. In Muslim tradition, this is where the Prophet Mohammad made his “Night Journey” to the throne of God. Visitors enter the complex through the Mughrabi Gate near the Western Wall.
5. For buying gifts or memories from Jerusalem you should check The Old City Market. The most crowded part is in the Muslim Quarter, there is a labyrinth of alleyways lined with shops selling everything from handmade jewelry and exotic scarves to good food and ceramics.
6. For those wishing to explore more about the History of Jerusalem, I invite you to visit the ‘Tower of David’, the citadel dominating views as you enter Jaffa Gate started life as a palace of Herod the Great. Also used by the Romans and Crusaders, the structure was extensively remodeled by the Mamluks and the Ottomans. Today it’s home to the impressive Museum of the History of Jerusalem, which tells the city’s story in a series of chronologically arranged exhibits starting in the 2nd millennium BCE and finishing in 1948.
7. If you need to disconnect from the crowded Old City, I invite you to climb the Mount of Olives, associated with Christian and Jewish traditions, and is named after the olive trees that previously adorned its slopes. During the First and Second Temple Periods, in particular, the mount was a location of great significance and was the center of Jerusalem’s life. Still today the mount is considered a place of holy significance and location of pilgrimage.
8. I am interested in Archaeology and the City of David is a perfect place to explore more about the ancient period of Jerusalem. The City of David is located outside the walls of today’s Old City, south of the Temple Mount. Approximately 3000 years ago, King David conquered Jerusalem from Jebusites and established it as his royal city. David’s choice of Jerusalem for his capital was based in part on the presence of a perennial water source, the Gihon Spring, as well as the city’s strong defenses, its central location in the lands of the Israelite tribes.
9. When you want to take a break from History and city-sight seeing, Jerusalem could provide you unique shopping experiences in its many markets. In this case, you should visit Machane Yehuda Market or “shuk”, thee largest market from Jerusalem. Here you will find from fresh, local produce, to amazing spices, artifacts, handmade goods and jewelry.
10. For me the best part of Jerusalem was the feeling and vibe of Thursday evening, the city is so alive in the night because it’s the beginning of the weekend in Jewish Communities. Seeing so many people on the street celebrating and having different kinds of fun makes part of this mosaic of joy.