Though perhaps the most popular destination in the area is Tel Aviv, Jerusalem has its own unique benefits for tourists. Jerusalem has been a destination for pilgrims and holiday-makers for centuries – here, we’ll look at some of the reasons why you should consider visiting Jerusalem on your next adventure. But, first, what is the best way to travel to Jerusalem?
How to get there
The best airport to fly into is probably Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International, which is around 25 miles away from Jerusalem. A direct flight from London to Tel Aviv is just under 5 hours. From the USA, it’s around 10-14 hours to fly direct. For those looking for more adventure, many cruise lines also stop off in Jerusalem. For example, the Silversea Silver Moon offers 11 and 12 day round-trip Eastern Mediterranean cruises from Athens that stop off at destinations such as Crete, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Antalya, and Rhodes.
So, now you have the travel tips under your belt, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you should visit Jerusalem.
In Jerusalem, Jews, Christians, and Muslims are all welcome to practise their faith – one of the few places in the Middle East where they are able to do so. This is because Jerusalem itself boasts a multitude of historical sites and places of pilgrimage that are important to Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike. These sites are some of the most important to these faiths in the world.
One of the top holy sites in Jerusalem include Temple Mount, where you can find the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of Rock, which are important to both Jews and Muslims alike. The proximity between the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and The Mosque of Omar is also something to behold. You can also go on an underground tour of Jerusalem that explores the Western Wall Tunnels, and an entire synagogue built deep underground in the modern-day Muslim quarter.
Mahane Yehuda Market has been operating in Jerusalem since the late 19th century, and has grown to house more than 250 vendors. Here, you can find fresh local fruit and veg, clothes, alcohol, nuts, seeds and more. From a culinary perspective, this is the place to find the most authentic street food. Choose from vendors selling falafel, kebab, shawarma, shashlik, baklava, and, the city’s speciality dish, Jerusalem mixed grill.
Known colloquially as The Shuk or Machne, the market has also developed a thriving nightlife scene in recent years. In addition to the multitude of stalls, the market also boasts a range of restaurants and bars, and incredible live music. It is worth noting, though, that the market is closed on the Sabbath. The busiest times to visit the market are therefore Thursdays and Fridays. A bugle is blown on the Friday afternoon to signal the closure of the market for the holy day of rest. The market does have some covered areas, but it is mainly outdoors, so make sure you dress appropriately for the visit.
These are just a couple of reasons why you should visit Jerusalem – there is so much more waiting to be uncovered.
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