There are so many things to do in Jerusalem, the holy city of the world, that I don’t even know how to start. First of all, you must be prepared for another world: everything is different in Jerusalem – the people, the weather, the life. Don’t expect anything, and be open to whatever happens to you. However, you must understand that three of the most important religions of the world meet here and have their roots in Jerusalem, so try to be respectful, even if you are not a religious person.
We visited Jerusalem in the summer of 2013, and it was extremely hot. Even if it was not a religious trip, we were interested in the historic monuments of attractions, and of course, most of them are related to religion. Also, even if there are plenty of things to do in Jerusalem, we focused on the Old Town, as it is quite big, impressive, and unique, with small visits outside of it.
Let’s see the most important things to do in Jerusalem:
The Western Wall (or the Wailing Wall)
The Wailing Wall is simply impressive. You will find it easily in the center of the Old Town, as all the Jewish people head over there. It looks much bigger in pictures and movies, but I was still impressed seeing it. As a girl, I had to cover my shoulders and legs, while men will receive freely something to cover their head. You will see people hiding messages in the cracks of the wall, and I saw many tourists doing the same. Be respectful, as this is the most important monument of the Jewish religion.
The Dome of the Rock and the Temple Mount
You can see the Dome of the Rock from almost every place in Jerusalem. And it is beautiful. We visited it right after the Western Wall, as it is above it. Keep in mind that it is closed on Saturday, and only Muslim people can go inside the dome. However, I was visiting the mountain with a Turkish girl, and after she said several lines from the Coran, the nice guy at the entrance let both of us in. It is impressive, and it is one of the things to do in Jerusalem you cannot miss, even if you are not a Muslim.
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
It is said that this church was built right above the tomb of the Christ, and Christians from all around the world come here to pray. The place is extremely busy, and you will have to walk in line, but it is worth visiting. I have to admit, I felt peaceful inside and for a minute, I forgot about every problem.
In the center of the Old Town you will discover Via Dolorosa, or the “way of sorrows”, which is exactly the road that Jesus walked on carrying the wooden cross, on the way the hill where he was crucified. All his stops are marked and explained in a free brochure, and we spend an interesting day following this road.
The Mount of Olives
The Mount of Olives will give you the best views over the Old Town, so it is one of the things to do in Jerusalem which are almost mandatory. We went there twice, to enjoy both sunset and sunrise, and we didn’t regret. We had the chance to see the Ghetzimani Garden, the place where Juda sold Jesus, as well as the tomb of Maria, Jesus’s mother.
Close from the garden you can see the Church of Maria Magdalena, built in a beautiful eastern style.
Shopping in the Old Town
At some point, we simply gave up all the plans and started shopping on the streets of the Old Town. It is a labyrinth full of shops, and you can buy everything you want. We bought souvenirs for us and over friends, including homemade ceramics, a shisha, a coffee kettle, and many more. Make sure you try the falafel, the humus, the fresh squeezed pomegranate juice – my favorite drink in Israel, and all the delicious pastry. Regarding the nightlife, we went out to party outside the Old Town, and it is for sure one of the things to do in Jerusalem you don’t want to miss. Go and smoke shisha and try their local raki, but be prepare to pay a lot, as alcohol is expensive in Israel.