Jerusalem’s historical and sacred heart is the Old City, and to a great extent also Mount of Olives . If you have toured these parts of Jerusalem already, or just want to have a different tour experience, we can reocmmend a selection of attractions in Western Jeruselam.
Explore the Israel Museum
No tour of Jerusalem or Israel is compelet with out this Museum. Founded in 1965, the Israel Museum, exhibits some of the most significant archaeological discoveries made in the Holy Land. It also has a Judaica wing displaying the biggest collection in the world of Jewish Illustrated Manuscripts. Don’t miss also the Sculptures Garden, the model of Jerusalem 2,000 years ago, and the special display of the Dead Sea Scrolls – Shrine of the Book.
Stroll through the Main market and Ultra Orthodox neighborhoods
The main open market of western Jeruselam was established in the 1920’s within the Nachlaot. Called the Mahane Yehudah Market, now days this market is much more the vegetables and meat products. Trendy restaurants and bars, culinary workshops and souvenir shops make this market a must for any visit of Jerusalem.
Across northern edge of the market, you can easily enter also the very Jewish religious neighborhoods of the city. Stroll along Mea Shearim, for example, to see first hand the strict way of life of these extreme Jewish groups.
Explore the National Monuments around Mt. Herzl
Mount Herzl was established in the 1950’s as a combined national monument. Aside the tomb of Theodor Herzl, It is also burial site for many state leaders, a military cemetery, and the location of the national memorial of the Holocaust – Yad Vashem. You can either be led by your guide or at your own pace through the new main museum of this institution, and later drive and appreciate some of the memorials spread around the mountain. While being a very unusual and disturbing exprience, you can really understand Israel and the Israelis with out a visit to this site.
And if you wish to get a better understanding of Herzl and the inception of the Zionist movement, we recommend the Herzl Museum near the tomb of Herzl.
For lunch go to the picturesque village nearby of Ein Karem. By Christian tradition, this village is also the hometown of John the Baptist. The churches of John Baharim Church and the Chruch of the Visitation are both impressive landmarks in the village. If you are an art lover, a short drive away, you can appreciate the Chagall windows in the nearby Hadassah Hospital.
Visit the Arab Visit of Abu-Gosh
A short drive west of Jerusalem lies the Israeli Arab village of Abu-Gosh. It’s grand mosque demonstrates the Muslim majority in this village, yet it also holds two significant Christian churches.
The Abu-Gosh Crusaders period church is an 800 old complex. By local tradition marks ancient Emmaus, where Jesus appeared after his resurreciton. On the hilltop above of the village, Notre Dame de l’arche d’Alliance church marks, by Christian tradition, the place where the Ark of the covenant was kept for 19 years. Abu-Gosh is also famous for its Arab style cuisine. Even if its not lunch time, you must try in Abu-Gosh some local hummus or Kfaneh. Thank us later.
Discover Bethlehem and its Surroundings
South of Jerusalem is a city with no less history and sanctity – Bethlehem. The Bible records David to originate here, but now days it is mostly famed for being the birth place of Jesus. Many Christians are eager to visit the city, and especially the Church of Nativity. However, being under Palestinian control, crossing over with a rented car is not possible. It it however possible to set a Palestinian guide with a car to take you in, and back.
Alternatively you can view Bethlehem from Kibbutz Ramat Rachel’s Olives Columns environmental sculpture. In that area are a few more points of interest, namely Ramat Rachel archaeologiclal site, Mar Elias Monastery, the Kathisma church, and Rachel’s Tomb.
Experience Live shooting in a Krav Maga training facility
South of Bethlehem is a major site for history and archaeology buffs – Herodium. Here, some 2,000 King Herod formed a lavish fortified Desert palace. Later it also became his burial site. A few years ago a royal tomb complex was indeed found at the site.
Nearby, at a anti-terror training facility, you can join a phisical hand to hand combat training lesson (In Hebew: Krav Maga), as well as a session of shooting with live amo. This will be a great adernalin rush experience before heading back to Jerusalem.