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Jerusalem Holy Sites

One of the things that makes Jerusalem one of the most famous cities in the world is the fact that it is the focal point for three main Abrahamic religions; Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Jerusalem is always full of tourists from all over the world especially the religious and those interested in religion.

Since Jerusalem was built by King David around three-thousand years ago, it has played a central role in world history. Both Jewish Temples were built in the center of the city, Mohammed allegedly rose up to heaven here and Jesus died here. Jerusalem is a city that carries the weighty load of being the location of the meeting-place of these three religions.

Those looking for holy sites in Jerusalem relating to any three of the aforementioned religions will not be disappointed. Remnants from the Jewish Temples, Synagogues and the legendary Mount of Olives for the Jews, Churches, Convents and places that Jesus was meant to have walked upon for the Christians and Mosques for those of the Islamic faith. Each religious person can find their haven here in the golden city of Jerusalem, connect with their inner selves and rejuvenate their commitment to their religion.


Displaying 1-10 of 10 results.



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 The Western Wall is the most significant site in the world today for Jewish people as the last remnant of the Temple. Jews worldwide pray towards Jerusalem and Jews in Jerusalem pray towards the Temple.

According to Jewish tradition, the Temple Mount of today is the place that creation spread out from and where the first man was created. The famous Biblical story of the Binding of Isaac also took place here and the first and second Temples were built around the Temple Mount area.

The Western Wall, as opposed to the three other remaining walls that also supported the Temple, is the closest one to the Holy of Holies- the holiest place in the Temple and the world. When the Second Temple was destroyed in 70 CE, all four support walls remained standing and the Western Wall was the closest Jewish people could get to the Holy of Holies and it subsequently became a place of prayer and longing.

Tens of millions of visitors visit the Western Wall every year- children reaching the milestone Bar/Bat Mitzva age; soldiers have swearing in ceremonies; tourists; locals; Jews; non-Jews; young; elderly and families. The Western Wall Plaza is open every day of the year, 24 hours a day and you are welcome and encouraged to experience this ancient relic, source of longing and inspiration and to place a note of request, thanks or praise in it's cracks as is practiced by visitors.

How to get there: There is a lack of parking in the area so public transport is recommended- buses 1, 2 and 38 get to the Western Wall.

Useful Info: • On the Jewish Shabbat and festivals it is forbidden to smoke, take pictures or use a mobile phone- it is therefore respectful to restrain from using these devices in the Western Wall Plaza on such days. • Pets aren't allowed in the Western Wall Plaza • Dress must be modest- meaning skirts to the knee, sleeves to the elbow and no low-cut tops.




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The Church of the Holy Sepulchre does not look anything like any Church that visitors will have been in before. This Church is where Orthodox and Catholic Christians mark Jesus' crucifixion and burial. Six different denominations celebrate their rites in this magnificently cavernous house of worship.

Historians say that the tomb of Jesus was destroyed in 1009 by the Muslim Caliph Hakim and it's remains were covered over by a structure called a Edicule that was built by the Russian Orthodox in the early nineteenth century when they were of particular influence in the church and country. Constantine built the first church here in the fourth century on top of a pagan shrine that had been built by Emperor Hadrian. The Emperor had used stones from the ruined Temple to build the altar that was to serve as a painful reminder for both Jews and Christians that the Romans were in control of their holy places.

The descent down a flight of stairs that bear the inscriptions of crosses that hundreds of pilgrims incised over the years inside the church leads to an Armenian Chapel deep underground. A stone slab that is rumored to have been the slab upon which Jesus was prepared for burial is also viewable. Two altars- one Greek Orthodox and one Catholic mark the site of crucifixion.

Visitors to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre are able to explore the history of Christianity, as they step back in time to it’s very beginnings.




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The Garden Tomb is believed to be the garden and sepulcher of Joseph of Arimathea and a possible site of the resurrection of Jesus. It is a quiet place, ideal for reflection and worship with places to sit and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. The Garden Tomb was first discovered in 1883 by General Charles Gordon.

Where: Exit the Old City via the Damascus Gate, cross the main street, walk straight up Nablus Road, 400 meters up the road is Conrad Schick Street to the right and the Garden Tomb is located in that street. Bus number 6 also stops a five-minute walk away from the Garden Tomb.

 Cost: Free




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The northwest quadrant of the Old City of Jerusalem is the Christian Quarter, the second-largest of the four quarters. It is actually the first part of the Old City that most visitors encounter as it is just beyond the Jaffa Gate which is the most popular entrance to the Old City for tourists.

Broad streets connected by narrow alleyways make up the Christian Quarter, which contains one of the most significant sites in Christianity; the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The residents of the Quarter includes nuns, monks, priests and other religious figures, many are a part of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and Greek Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Additional sites that are worth seeing in the Quarter are; the neo-Romanesque Lutheran Church of the Redeemer; the Muristan which is a marketplace built on the ruins of a hospital that was for pilgrims and Jerusalemites and the Christian Quarter Shuk that boasts a vast amount of memorabilia and gifts that eventually fades into the Muslim Quarter Shuk.




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The Temple Mount is known in Hebrew as Har Habayit and is the most important religious site in the entire city and country. Biblical scholars identify Temple Mount as Mount Moriah where Abraham famously bound his son Isaac. It is understood that the creation of the world started here and here too the first human being was created. Judaism views Temple Mount as ideally being the governmental, judicial and religious centre.

Sunni Muslims claim that Mohammed ascended to heaven on Temple Mount (interestingly at his time there were only Churches standing in the city of Jerusalem, including one on Temple Mount). In the thirties, the Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al Husseini encouraged the Muslim masses to hold onto Jerusalem and this was when the claim that the Temple Mount is the third holiest site in Islam was born.

In light of Jewish and Islamic beliefs, the Temple Mount is one of the most contested religious sites in the world.

During Temple times, a complex set of purity laws were followed before the High Priest was allowed to enter on Yom Kippur. Nowadays, opinions vary in the Jewish community as to whether ascending Temple Mount is permitted.

Nowadays, non-Muslims can access the Temple Mount through a gate next to the Western Wall. Due to the current governing of the Temple Mount by the Supreme Muslim Religious Council, there is absolutely no freedom of religious expression on Temple Mount. Those seen to be engaging in "religious activity" will be removed from the site. It should be noted that the Chief Rabbinate of Israel posted a warning sign that informs visitors that entering the Temple Mount area is actually forbidden for everyone- whatever their religion- due to the sacredness of the place.

How to get there: Via the Mughrabi Gate which is reached from the Western Wall area.

Tip: Come appropriately dressed (no bare body parts) and be prepared to wait a long time at the security checkpoint. 




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According to the Bible, the resurrection of the dead will begin from the Mount of Olives when the Messiah comes; therefore, since antiquity Jews have sought to be buried on the Mount of Olives. The Cemetery has grown to cover the western and most of the southern slopes.

The earliest tombs are located at the foot of the mountain in the Kidron Valley- one being that of King David's rebellious son Absalom and another being that of the First Temple Priest Zechariah; a third is inscribed with the names of the sons of Hezir, a priestly family that lived two millennia ago.

Jews have been buried on the Mount of Olives throughout the centuries, barring the twenty years when Jerusalem was divided.  One of the many legends surrounding this site is that at the End of Days people from around the world will tunnel underground in order to rise up here.

Renowned individuals that are buried here include the medieval sage Rabbi Ovadiah of Bartenura, Eliezer Ben Yehuda, the father of modern Hebrew, prime minister Menahem Begin and his wife Aliza and Israel's Nobel Laureate in Literature, S.Y. Agnon. Near Absalom's Tomb, visitors can obtain more information about the location of specific tombstones at the Mount Olives Information Center.




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Hurva Synagogue

The Hurva Synagogue personifies the turbulent history of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem. Before it was destroyed by the Jordanians in 1948, it was the grandest Synagogue in the Land of Israel and embodied the fighting spirit of the small Jewish community that unwaveringly clung to the Land during the long and bitter years of exile. The Jordanians were well aware of the importance of the Synagogue for the Jewish community when they destroyed it and did so in order to demonstrate that Jewish presence in the Old City was a thing of the past.

In 1700 the Ashkenazi Rabbi, Yehuda HaChasid led the reconstruction of the Synagogue after gaining permission from the Ottoman bureaucracy. Money ran out and twenty years after construction began the unfinished Synagogue was torched, after which it gained it's current name which is Hebrew for "ruin".

In the mid 1800s the rapid growth of the Ashkenazi community led to plans to re-build the Synagogue and major donations poured in from Ashkenazi and Sephardi benefactors. The Synagogue was finished and it's grandeur gave the Jewish Quarter their equivalent of the Christian Quarter's Holy Sepulchre and the Moslem Quarter's Dome of the Rock and remained the focal point of the Old City's Ashkenazi community until it was destroyed by the Jordanians.

When the Old City was recaptured by the Israeli army in 1967 a temporary commemorative arch was raised over the ruins, followed by forty years of bureaucratic troubles as architects were consulted with only to be taken no notice of, plans were offered and turned down until 2005 when it was decided that the synagogue will be rebuilt according to the former plan.

In March 2010 the work on the Synagogue was completed and rededicated and became, once again, an active Synagogue and study center. Tourists can visit in between prayer services but should keep in mind the sanctity of the place and that it is no longer a tourist site.

How to get there: Buses 38, 1,2,3,21,18




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The Garden of Gethsemane, at the foot of the Mount of Olives, is believed to be the place Jesus came to with his disciples the night after the Last Supper. Gethsemane is a Greek word meaning olive-oil press and this seems to have been what was here when Jesus passed through. It is quite fascinating to see olive trees that were probably mere saplings in Jesus' time.

The neighboring Church of all Nations was built in the twenties and pictorially relays the events that took place here in stunning mosaics that reach from the floor to the ceiling.

Across the lane is a less-frequented grove and visitors often arrange to spend some private time there in worship and contemplation.




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In Sura 17:1 the "Distant Mosque" is mentioned; "Glory be unto Allah who did take his servant for a journey at night from the Sacred Mosque to the Distant Mosque." Moslems today argue that the Distant Mosque is none other than the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Interestingly, this Mosque did not exist until three generations after Mohammed had died and therefore scholars point out that Mohammed intended the mosque in Mecca as the "Sacred Mosque" and the mosque in Medina as the "Distant Mosque".

However, nowadays it is claimed that the Distant Mosque is none other than the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and it is the central focus of the Muslim community in Jerusalem with daily prayers and well-attended Friday sermons. Only Muslim residents of Israel can enter and pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.




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The Dome of the Rock is the octagonal building that is hard to miss in the Old City skyline. The Dome of the Rock is a shrine for what Islam claims since the thirties is Islam's third holiest site. The shrine is built over what Jewish people believe to be the holiest place in the world and the place that G-d started his creation of the world from, as well as the place where Abraham tried to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac.

The building was constructed between 688 and 691 so as to spite the Christians and Jews- by building on the holiest site in Judaism- the Temple Mount, by ensuring that the building had a larger dome than that of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and by forcing Syrian Christians to lay mosaics inside that contained verses from the Quran about the misguided Christian belief in the trinity.

Perhaps it is understandable then, on the basis of the aforementioned, that although tourists can visit the Temple Mount compound, only Moslems can go up to the Dome of the Rock.


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