Jerusalem is perhaps the holiest city in the world, venerated both by Jews, Christian and Muslims. A guided tour of Jerusalem will take you along this eternal city and provide you with a truly unforgettable experience. And with so many sacred destinations, historical sites, and political complexities, nothing rivals a private tour of Jerusalem led by one of our expert guides. Setting a private tour guide for Jerusalem will enable you to efficiently discover this holy city, reaching both its famous landmarks and hidden gems.
Below is a suggested travel guide for Jerusalem, for a full day tour:
Mount of Olives and Gethsemane
Our day begins with a stunning panoramic view of the Old City from Mount of Olives Viewpoint. This is one of the most spectacular observation points in Israel. It enables a short introduction, a geographical orientation, a photo opportunity, – and even a camel or donkey Ride :-).
Driving down to the Kidron Valley we will pass by several holy Christian sites, such as the combined Holy Christian and Muslim site – Chapel of the Ascension, said to be where Jesus returned to the heavens; the Roman Catholic church of “Pater Noster“ (Latin “Our Father”, the beginning of “The Lord’s prayer”); The Roman Catholic church of “Dominus Flevit“ (Latin “The Lord Wept”), and the Garden of Gethsemane, and Grotto of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed and was captures after the “Last Supper”. Near it we could also visit the Armenian and Greek Orthodox traditional burial site of Mary (Mary’s Tomb) and the site where by Greek-Orthodox tradition Stephanus was martyred.
The Old City of Jerusalem
Circling around the old city Southern walls we pass by the Southern Wall archaeological park and the City of David, and park by Zion Gate or Jaffa Gate, and start exploring the Old City. In the Jewish Quarter we walk along the re-exposed main avenue of Jerusalem in Roman times, the “Cardo“; pass by the main Jewish Synagogue in the Old City (the Hurva Synagogue), possibly visit the “Burnt House“, a Jewish priestly estate destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, or the “Temple Institute”, a Jewish foundation devoted to study the Jewish Temple and its ancient rituals, and reach the famed Western Wall.
The Western Wall
The Western Wall, known all so as the “Wailing wall”, is a remarkable ancient wall preserved from the time the second Jewish Temple, some 2000 years ago. A popular Jewish tradition leads many to visit, pray and leave notes in the crevices along this wall. The Plaza in front of the wall is also a popular place for Bar-Mitzvah parties twice a week, military ceremonies, and certain national events. The Western wall is a must see and experience for any travel to Jerusalem!.
Walking along the “Via Dolorosa”
In sharp contrast to the Jewish Quarter and its sites, a walk north of the Western Wall leads us into the Heart of the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. Strolling along various Juice stands and souvenir shops (the Suq), we eventually reach the Via Dolorosa, the sacred path in the Christian world from the site of the trial of Jesus to the site of his crucifixion. Assessing the Catholic traditions along the way, we enter the Christian Quarter, and reach the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a complex built over the traditional sites of Golgotha and the Tomb of Jesus.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The Gospels record Jesus being crucified at the ” Golgotha” and later buried in haste in a tomb nearby. Three days later his tomb is found open and empty, and various people attest to his resurrection. The Empty tomb and the belief of the resurrection of Jesus is the core of Christian faith, and so already in the 4th century a major church was built over the the crucifixion and burial sites. This church, known as “Church of the Holy Sepulchre“, is a major pilgrimage travel destination for all Christians around the world.
Eating and Shopping in the Old City
Besides grabbing some Hummus for lunch along the way we can also appreciate the many souvenir shops within the market of old city (the Suq). While many offer souvenirs that are really manufactured in the far east, some do sell local, authentic and unique items. My favorite is Photo Elia, a third generation Armenian owned photography shop, that sales rare B/W photos of Jerusalem from mid 19th century and on. Another unique experience is scouting for some special fabrics at Bilal Fabric Store, or Armenian pottery at one of the Armenian Pottery Workshops. Many of the souvenir shops in the Christian Quarter also offer various locally produced Olive Wood works of Christian themes, and antiquities.
Happy and tired we head back to the car, passing by the “Tower of David”, a complex first built by King Herod in the first century BCE and used by all following powers that ruled Jerusalem. If you happen to stay in Jerusalem, the “Tower of David” offers a great night show (“Tower of David Night Spectacular“).
If driving back to Tel-Aviv, and permitting time and will, we could drive along the Ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea Sheaim, or by the “Capitol Hill” of the state of Israel in western Jerusalem, viewing the parliament building (the “Knesset“), the Supreme Court Building, and the Israel Museum which is mostly famed for holding the worldly renown Dead Sea Scrolls.
Another option is a drive to the new location of the American Embassy in Jerusalem, and a view from a kibbutz Bethlehem, or even setting a short visit to the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, which now days is under Palestinian Control. A third, and most fun way to end the day is bar-hopping or fine dinning inthe bustling Mahane Yehudah Market.
Route map of a Private Guided Tour to Jerusalem
Book a Private Guided Tour to Jerusalem
The cost of a private full day private tour to Jerusalem + transportation starts at USD$650.
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