in case you missed the first half of this travel guide, you can find it here.
6. The Garden of Gethsemane
The Garden is located on the east side of the Old City. It is a short walk from the Temple Mount. There is a beautiful church there called the Church of Nations. They have made a well-kept garden for the public which displays Olive trees that are said to be over 2,000 years old. They have since been grafted with new young branches which create a bright youthful feeling to the ancient, melancholy, ominous trucks. The catch with this garden is that you cannot walk amongst the trees, there are about 8-10 trees unfenced in the area next to the church. However, if you can make a reservation to go into the private gardens where you may walk amongst the trees and have time to yourself in that sacred place.
7. Dormition Abbey
Located just outside of Zion’s Gate in the Armenian, it is said to be the resting place (one of the claimed resting places) of Jesus’ mother Mary. The Church is beautiful and very large, there is a staircase on the back left side of the Nave. It leads down to the burial place of the Mother Mary.
8. Armenian Church of St. James
Located in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City, you have to look up the times when they hold services. It was an amazing experience to be there during their services. The inside of this church will give you neck pain due to never wanting to put your head back down. From the domes of the church are dozens of lamps, lights, and decorations all with different colors and shapes. When attending a service make sure females have head scarves (they are good to carry everyday here, you never know when you will need it). Also, be reverent and respectful, I had my legs crossed as I was sitting down and one of the clergy men told me it was disrespectful and that I needed to uncross them.
9. Hezekiah’s Tunnel
This is located just south of Dung Gate in the even older city of Jerusalem, called the City of David. There is a tunnel that is about 6-12 feet tall (varying in height through the whole tunnel), 4 feet wide, and about a little more than a quarter mile long. It is an ancient tunnel that moved the water from a spring on the east side of the city down to the south west side of the city which ended in the pool of Siloam (where Christ healed the blind man by making mud with his spit and having him wash in the pool). There is water that still runs through the tunnel and it is about 2-3 feet deep at the deepest part of the tunnel. This was an awesome experience, some reviews I’ve read about it say not to do it because it’s wet and cold, but I thought the water was not bad at all and the experience was awesome. Make sure to have the right footwear for water, a headlamp and swimwear.
10. Rampart Walk
This is the best way to see the Old City and the land round about Jerusalem. The entrance is at Damascus Gate, when you are outside the city looking at Damascus Gate you will walk to the right down stairs then under the road leading into the city and you will find a man in a little office. It cost about $5 after the exchange (around 16 shekels). You then can walk on the top of the Old City Walls and circumambulate the whole City. The views are spectacular. It would be a good activity to do the first few days in the city to help your orientation.
ok, we couldn't help ourselves. we had to include a couple more.
11. The Shuk
The Shuk is in Western Jerusalem. It is a huge outdoor market that has all kinds of local produce, spices, meats, pastries, etc. It is a fun place to shop and get wonderful food.
12. East Jerusalem and the Separation Wall
If you know much about the conflict of the Holy Land you will appreciate the conspicuousness of the occupation that exists on the East (Palestinian) side of Jerusalem. The dichotomy between east and west Jerusalem is sad and unjust. The Separation wall at many parts has graffiti messages written in English, meaning to reach the English speaking countries. They are powerful and resemble the many faces of grief, struggle, and injustice. There are pictures and words whose depiction rang from hate and maliciousness, hope, love, and desperation. Also, you can always get a good football (soccer) game in with local Palestinian kids on the East side, which I highly recommend.
Though I stuck to the city of Jerusalem, there are so many other sights in the city, but I also highly suggest other points of interest in the country, namely:
- Bethlehem (5 miles away)
- Dead Sea, Masada, Dead sea scroll caves
- Galilee- my favorite part of my trip over in Palestine
- Tel Aviv
You can read about my experiences there in more detail here.