As anyone who has ever been to Jerusalem will testify, trying to whittle down the “must sees” in really is an exercise in futility. After all, how can you select only five attractions in a city that has been the epicenter of the three major monotheistic faiths for millennia; a city whose every pore lives and breathes history.
However, given that the charter is for only five “must sees,” here goes. Consider yourselves warned though, a list of 500 “must sees’ In Jerusalem would not exhaust the possibilities.
- Western Wall – the number one tourist destination not only in Jerusalem but in Israel; and for good reason. Also known as the Wailing Wall or Kotel, the outer western wall of the Temple Mount from the Second Temple is a sacred site to Jews who arrive from all corners of the world to pray and perhaps place a “petek,” a small note with a divine request. Other faiths are not precluded from entering the site and also making a wish. The Sabbath prayers at the Wall are something to behold.
- Chagall Windows – located at the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital synagogue, the 12 abstract stained glass windows designed and created by famed Russian/French Jewish artist, Marc Chagall, represent the 12 Tribes of Israel and are an artistic tour de force.
- L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art – further evidence of how different religions can be complementary and live in harmony, this museum houses an incredible collection of Islamic art. For those with a horological bent, the museum also houses a renowned collection of antique timepieces.
- Church of the Holy Sepulcher – also known as the Church of the Resurrection, this is one of the holiest sites in Christianity. It is revered as the place where Jesus was crucified and is said to be the place where Jesus was buried. It is located in the walled Old City of Jerusalem.
- Mahane Yehuda Market – best visited on a Friday when you can see many Jews doing their shopping before Sabbath, this market, also known as the Shuk, is a hive of activity where the sites and smells launch an assault on the senses.
Although Israel is not a large country by any means, and Jerusalem is even smaller, it may be worth your while renting a car to help you get around and optimize your time in Jerusalem. Car rental in Jerusalem is abundant and relatively cheap and can be organized before your trip over the Internet or upon arrival.