Lucky to have been there twice in a year! This time, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites even called and through an English translator, spoke to me. I was very surprised! The Rabbi was glad that I visited the Western Wall and gave me blessings!
Readers have been asking me to post more sightseeing photos of Israel. I love to show photos to tell stories – it’s easier, they speak a thousand words… hmm… but for a city that’s one of the oldest in the world, you need to read up a lot before visiting Jerusalem, else you might be overwhelmed with the history, religions, archaeology, etcetera!
It’s best to get a professional guide in Jerusalem. We were fortunate to have Ms Phyllis Gil-Ad (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) to tour us around by car and on foot and share insights of the holy land. I’ve compiled a list of Things to Do in the Old City of Jerusalem. It’s based on the places that I visited during my last two trips in Israel. I believe I’ve missed out many popular sites due to time constraint. You may need two days to complete this itinerary.
1) Mount of Olives
From the Mount of Olives, you get a spectacular view of Temple Mount and the walls of the Old City. The striking architecture is the Dome of the Rock.
Dating back 3,000 years, the Mount of Olives has been a Jewish cemetery containing an estimated 150,000 graves. Notice that the tombs are all facing Temple Mount?
Ma’alot Harav Shlomo Goren
We walked past this archaeology site while on the way to the City of David at the Jerusalem Walls National Park. I’m not sure about the place. Has anyone been there before?
A peek of Ma’alot Harav Shlomo Goren from outside the gate.
2) Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Christians from all over the world pay pilgrimmage to Jerusalem. At the Old City of Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is believed to be the ground where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. Read more on http://travelerfolio.com/western-wall-holy-sepulchre-jerusalem/
3) Shopping at the Old City
The Old City of Jerusalem is zoned into the Christian Quarter, Jewish Quarter, the Muslim Quarter and the Armenian Quarter. Here are some photos taken at the Jewish Quarter. You can easily spend some time browsing through shops selling textile goods, accessories and religious items.
A textile shop with a friendly boss posing for our photos.
Pretty accessories for the ladies.
4) The Western Wall – Judaism’s holiest site
It’s believed that the Western Wall is the closest place to God, a ‘gateway to heaven‘. The Western Wall (or Wailing Wall) is the remnant of the second Jewish Temple on Temple Mount where the Dome of the Rock sits. Facing the Plaza in the Jewish Quarter, only a small section (58m in length) of the holy site is exposed and segregated into men’s and women’s prayer sections.
Non-devotees can visit the Western Wall. Dress modestly. No sleeveless. Cover below the knees. Read more about the Western Wall from my first trip in Jerusalem.
The prayer section for men on the other side adjacent to the women’s section.
The Old City of Jerusalem by night exudes a sense of eternity. More worshippers are at the Western Wall.
The Golden Menorah on display near the Western Wall / Wailing Wall is a replica of the Menorah in the Temple.
5) Western Wall Tunnels
Only a small section of the Western Wall is exposed at the Plaza. The Western Wall Tunnels are located underground where you can access to the majority of the Western Wall. Research and excavations are in the process to discover archaeological findings. See more photos on the Western Wall Tunnels from my previous trip.
The Western Wall Tunnels are open to the public by prior arrangement. Visit http://english.thekotel.org/ for more info on reservation before visiting The Western Wall Tunnels / The Kotel.
Worshippers praying in the tunnel nearest to the site of the Holy of Holies.
A pool in the underground tunnel.
6) City of David
Within the Jerusalem Walls National Park, the City of David is a major archaeological site where King David built his palace and capital.
Currently, archaeological diggings are going on in the park. Join the Biblical City of David guided tour that will take you around the park and underground. Be careful as the steps in the dark tunnels are quite slippery. The tour length is 2 hours.
Diggings are going on under many homes for archaeological research at the City of David.
You can get a pretty good view of the Mount of Olives and the nearby neighbourhood from the City of David.
City of David Entrance fee: 27 NIS (Adult) / 14 NIS (Child)
Biblical City of David guided tour fee: 60 NIS (Adult) / 45 NIS (Child)
City of David website: www.cityofdavid.org.il/en
6) the Tower of David & Night Spectacular Show
To learn the history of Jerusalem, the Tower of David Museum is a must-see attraction. The medieval fortress bears testimony to 4,000 years of the city’s history with archeological remains. Catch the nighttime show at the Tower of David. Choreographed with sound, light and ginormous images flashing across the ancient walls of the Citadel to relate the past and present of Jerusalem, the Night Spectacular is first of its kind in the world.
Accommodation in Jerusalem
For a luxury stay in ancient Jerusalem, it’s got to be Mamilla Hotel. The prominent landmark at the heart of the Old City is the perfect starting point to explore major attractions on foot. The Old City walls, the Tower of David, Jaffa Gates are all within a stone’s throw away from the hotel. The Alrov Mamilla Avenue is a modern shopping and entertainment area in juxtaposition with magnificent architectural marvels of Biblical times.
Step into Mamilla to feel the splendour of ancient Jerusalem in modern days. Exquisitely designed by world’s renowned architects, the hotel epitomizes timeless elegance in contemporary design, extending the perfect ambience with a homely charm to relax and rejuvenate after a long day out touring the city.
We had a well-appointed room like this to luxuriate in for a night. The bathroom is glass-walled… oops! No worries, you still can enjoy privacy in the bathroom by switching on the opaque frosting feature on the glass partitions.
While the room was like a magnet for our tired nerves, we were always ready to try out the dining options at Mamilla.
Check out the Rooftop Outdoor Lounge & Restaurant. What a sight to behold! The Old City at night is mesmerizing. Soak in the mood of the surroundings as you relish food and drink in the breeze.
We dined alfresco at the Mamilla Cafe. Nothing fanciful about the setting, just stylish and chic for casual dining with friends and families over quality gourmet delights made from fresh seasonal ingredients. I had grilled salmon for my main. It may look simple here but hey, the tasty fillet was nicely grilled to perfection and still retained its moisture.
The cafe is open throughout the day and evening.
Did you see something on the bricks? Nothing wrong with your eyes (OK, lame). The old bricks were transferred from somewhere else. In order to get back the same pattern or style of the previous building, the workers made number markings on every brick so that they could place the bricks back together.
A wide selection of local and international delights for breakfast is available to satiate the hunger pangs before setting out for another big trip of the day. There is my favourite Shashuka!
Guess where we were heading to next? To the Dead Sea!
Mamilla Hotel Jerusalem
Address: 11 King Solomon St.Jerusalem 94182. Israel
Read all posts on Jerusalem.