Jerusalem is the most ancient city in the Middle East. It was first mentioned in Egyptian sources as Rushalimum in the XIX-XVIII BC. Most of the events in the Bible take place in Jerusalem, so this place is iconic for the Christian, Muslim and Jewish world. It is interesting both for an ordinary tourist who visits this city for the sake of curiosity, and for pilgrims from all over the world. But don’t think that Jerusalem is rich in religious sights, Jerusalem also boils with secular life. Once in the capital of Israel, time stops and the traveler loses reality amid incredible and unforgettable spectacles full of history.
You can get to Jerusalem from the airport by public transport or book a transfer from Ben Gurion Airport to Jerusalem. The most comfortable way to book a car with a driver, and in 50 minutes you will be walking along the streets of Jerusalem. You can also get to the capital by train, unfortunately there is no direct railway route and you will have to make 1 or 2 changes. The bus will appeal to budget tourists. The popular shuttle 485 runs from the parking lot behind the airport terminals and makes 6 important stops for visitors on the way to Jerusalem.
The center of Jerusalem is the Old City, which is conditionally, from the chronological point of view, divided into: Christian, Jewish, Armenian and Muslim.
Jewish Quarter. There the main shrine of the Jews – Wailing Wall. Pilgrims make their way to her to leave, among thousands of others, a paper sheet with records of prayers and desires. On the territory of the quarter, many archaeological artifacts have been found, for example, the oldest record in the Bible – a silver pendant with the words of the Holy Blessing.
Christian Quarter. Here is a famous shrine – the Jerusalem Church of the Resurrection of Christ (the Holy Sepulcher), in which, according to the Holy Scriptures, Jesus Christ was buried, and then resurrected. The Christian quarter began to build up in the IV century. And today it houses over 40 churches and monasteries.
Armenian Quarter. A small area in terms of population and territory. It is the most closed and uncrowded place in Jerusalem. Tourists are not welcome here, since the Armenian community leads a secluded life and speaks only in their native language. The landmark of the Armenian quarter is the Cathedral of St. James, built in the 12th century.
Muslim Quarter. Unlike the Armenian quarter, tourists are welcomed in this area. This can be seen in everything from colorful shops to the rich, unique aroma of spices and herbs in the air. Jesus made his last Way of the Cross through the Muslim quarter. The area is home to such monuments of early Islamic architecture as the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Muslim sanctuary – the Dome of the Rock.
The New City is modern Jerusalem, the construction of which began at the end of the 19th century. After the compact Old City, you immediately notice the green area of the Jerusalem Forest with eucalyptus and acacias. History buffs can visit the Archaeological Park and look at the research excavations of archaeologists in the cultural layer of the Second Temple. At the top of Mount Givat Shaul rises the Palace of the Jordanian King Hussein. The Givat Ram cultural district houses the Israel Museum, the Hebrew University, the National Library and the Supreme Court.
There are many family-style hotels in Jerusalem. If you are traveling with small children, we advise you to pay attention to the Dan Hotel chain, as they do not charge additional fees for babies. Couples will also like Ramat Rachel and Mount Zion Hotel with multi-room suites, a kitchenette and living room, a playground in the courtyard, and swimming pools for adults and children.
For those who prefer luxury service, we pay attention to the five-star hotels American Colony Hotel, Inbal Jerusalem, Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, Herbert Samuel Hotel, which are located within 2 km from the city center. The luxury hotels have a relaxed atmosphere, gourmet cuisine, fitness centers, landscaped gardens, a swimming pool, and patio bars.
Budget travelers focus on hostels, apartments and guesthouses. Prices for a room with a bathroom are about 55 euros, a double room is 80-90 euros with breakfast. A small apartment for two costs about 120 euros.
The cost of two-star hotels starts from 225 shekels, 25 shekels more expensive than a hotel with three stars from 250 shekels per day. Rooms in 5-star hotels will cost from 965 shekels.
Car rental is available for visitors who plan to visit the Jerusalem area. In the Old Town, it is difficult to get around by car due to narrow streets, constant traffic congestion and a lot of entry restrictions. If you are picked up from the airport by Ben Gurion – Jerusalem transfer, it is convenient because the driver will meet you upon arrival, help you with your luggage and take you safely in the right direction along the optimal route. The disadvantage of rental companies (Avis, Eldan, Sixt, Budjet, Hertz, Albar) is that the rented car can break down at any time, plus you need to study the route yourself, pay highway entry fees, parking fees (from 10 shekels per hour) and gasoline, which costs from 7 shekels per liter.
Jerusalem is welcoming for shopaholics too. There are shops with unique things, fur and leather goods, stylish clothes and shoes, oriental sweets, ceramic painted utensils by local craftsmen. The pedestrian streets Ben Yehuda and Nahalat Shiva, with a large number of shops with authentic souvenirs and works of art, will help you bypass the Chinese forgeries.
In the shopping malls of Jerusalem, look out for high quality Israeli brands such as Tamnoon, Cassidi, Zebr, Delta. There are more than 100 stores in the Malha shopping center.
Israeli cosmetics brands Ahava, Premier, Beauty Life, Vero Nika, Mon Platin, Yes to …, Minus, Kedem are famous all over the world. The largest beauty store is located on Ben Yehuda Street especially for beauty lovers.
Israel is also famous for its jewelry. Any self-respecting gemstone specialist has a good opinion of Israeli diamonds. A branch of the Diamond Exchange is located in Jerusalem. A wide selection of ready-made silver and gold products can be found in Magnolia, Ophir and Baltinedter Bros.
Gourmets who prefer gourmet cuisine can safely go to the Feingold Court area where restaurants of Italian and French cuisine are located. Dinner for two will cost around 250 shekels.
Ben Yehuda Boulevard has nice and stylish cafes and bars. Inexpensive, home-style and hearty food can be found in restaurants with Jewish cuisine or chain bistros in Nahalat Shiva quarter, Rivlin street and Ein Karem area. For lunch in a public catering service for one person, you will pay about 50 shekels.