Places and Tips 2018-02-20T19:35:19+00:00

This photos of Ein Kerem is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Ein Kerem

Picturesque village 7km west of Jerusalem.

Pleasant journey by bus, about 25 minutes from the Central Bus station, through part of the Jerusalem forest.

Traditionally the place where John the Baptist was born.

Bible Times Museum (Possibly by appointment only).

Mary’s well.

Other areas of interest:

A variety of good restaurants, along with the roadside and road leading up to Mary’s well.

Same area as Yad Vashem, Mt Herzl, and Hadassah Hospital Synagogue.

Note:

There are limited public toilet facilities.

MT HERTZL

Mt Hertzl is the National and Military Cemetery.  It is next to Yad Vashem so is an easy bus ride from the Central Bus Station. It is a beautifully kept, dignified, peaceful place but inevitably there is a sadness when you see the ages of the victims of the various conflicts. As well as a military cemetery there are the graves of National Leaders and the grave of Benjamin Theodor Herzl, ‘the visionary of the Jewish State.’ The views across the valley to the north and west are stunning.

A beautiful place for reflection and contemplation.

There is a museum dedicated to Hertzl’s life. A small kiosk selling drinks ice creams and snacks.

Note:

Toilet facilities situated at the entrance.

The Garden Tomb/Golgotha

This is the site believed by Protestants, to be the site of the burial of Jesus.  It is next to ‘Gordon’s Calvary,’ the site identified by General Gordon as being the place of the crucifixion of Jesus.  The distinctive skull shape is visible in the rock face, now the back drop to the Arab bus station.

It is very close to the Damascus Gate, off Sultan Suleiman Street, just up Derech Shechem.

The simple site is peaceful and lovingly cared for and it is easy to believe that this is the site – ‘outside the city walls.’  There is ample seating and plenty of space for large parties of visitors/pilgrims who often hold worship and communion services there.  Some scholars suggest that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, within the Old City, revered by Catholics and the various ‘orthodox’ branches of Christianity, is the true site but that possibility does nothing to detract from the sanctity and emotion of this place.

It is advisable to check on opening times. check out more: www.gardentomb.com

Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem is the Holocaust Memorial Site.  It is a ‘monument to perpetuate the memory of the more than 6 million who died in the Nazi Holocaust. As with everything that Israel does it is a dignified, beautiful site although the subject matter can be grueling. Allow plenty of time as this must not be rushed. The layout guides you through the years of the Holocaust using personal testimony, photographs, newsreels and artifacts; finally leading to stunning views of the valley.

The ‘Children’s Memorial’ is especially moving.

The architect designed the exit in such a way that you come to a view across the valley – out into bright sunshine. His idea was to impart to the viewer that although you had just gone through the darkest night of the soul… there was always hope in God.

Note:

Be prepared to leave your bags at the cloakroom. No cameras are allowed.

Good restaurant, toilet facilities and a souvenir shop.

Admission is free.

There are many taxis that also wait outside.

Again a bus ride from the Central Bus Station takes you there. It is also the same stop as for Mount Herzl.

This could be combined with a morning visit to the Hadassah Synagogue.

There are always a lot of soldiers and school children there as a visit to Yad Vashem is part of their education.

The Night Spectacular | MUST SEE!

This takes place in David’s Citadel on selected evenings during the week.  Tickets are about 50 NIS and are available at David’s Citadel; it is advisable to book in advance.  Being outside the ‘performance’ is dependent on weather, also it is advisable to wear something warm as the temperature can be chilly during the late evening – obviously depending on the time of year.

This is a ‘sound and light show’ with a difference, it transports the audience into and through key episodes in Jerusalem’s turbulent history.  The show lasts approximately 45 minutes. The history of Jerusalem is projected onto the walls of the ‘Citadel’ in graphics ‘holographic’ detail. There are many spine-tingling moments as you ‘experience the past.’

To quote from the brochure, ‘You are invited to meet stories of the past, historical realities and ancient myths of the City of Jerusalem in a mesmerizing experience of virtual reality.’

Note:

No photography is allowed.

The Mamilla Arcade is nearby with a choice of cafes open well into the evening.

Check days and times of the performance if you are on a tight schedule.

The Inn of the Good Samaritan

Located on the main highway between Jerusalem and Jericho, the Museum, on the site of remains dating from the first century BCE to the first century CE opened in 2009, is the possibly the site of the inn mentioned in the New Testament’s parable of the Good Samaritan. It is identified with the town of Ma’ale Adumim and displays mosaics and artifacts discovered throughout Israel, some within the museum and some outside.

There are archaeological remains from the Second Temple period and the Byzantine and Crusader periods.

The site is a real ‘oasis’ in the bleak, hot, rocky desert.  The museum is cool and the various artifacts are beautifully arranged.

Note:

Don’t know if public transport stops here.  Unless you have a car I suspect that a taxi would be required.

There is an entrance fee.

Toilet facilities and a small shop/kiosk at the entrance.

Ample car parking.

The Burnt House

This is an interesting peep into everyday life in Jerusalem at the time of the destruction of the 2nd Temple in 70 C.E. The ruins of a house, which show signs of fire damage, are 6 meters below the current city street level and artifacts identify the house as the home of the wealthy Kathros family.  The Talmud identifies them as a priestly family. The entrance is at 2 Hakarim Street which is under the vaulted arches near the top of the steps leading down to the Western Wall. The visitor can watch a short film showing a dramatic reconstruction of possible events in the ‘Burnt House’ up to, and including, the Roman destruction of the City.

Note:

There is a small entrance fee and the film is shown at regular intervals throughout the day.

Hadassah Hospital Synagogue

There is a fast way to get to the hospital… but we’re not Suggesting you break a leg! Take a bus from outside the central bus station directly to the hospital.

It’s not the hospital itself that is worth the visit, although there is a plethora of shops and cafes across the road from the place of the synagogue. …. It’s

The Chagall windows that we recommend seeing.

These windows form the crown of the synagogue. They are depictions in stained glass by Marc Chagall of the blessings given to the twelve tribes of Israel. As you enter the synagogue, there is a small entry fee at reception and a request that no photos be taken. An audio commentary will enable you to understand exactly the symbolism Chagall wanted to convey. This sounds dull – but – is anything but!

Pick a sunny day, as the windows are stunning.

Note:

There are stunning views from the Hadassah, so lots of Kodak moments!

Very good facilities within the complex.

Zedekiah’s Cave (King Solomon’s Quarries)

At a size of some 230 metres by over 100 metres this artificial cave extends under the Muslim quarter of the Old City.

The entrance is in the City wall between the Damascus gate and Herod’s Gate. There is a small entrance fee.

There is the possibility that this quarry cave dates from the 1st Temple period but more likely the cave was utilized as a quarry during the 2nd Temple period.  King Herod was a great builder so it is possible that the raw materials for his huge construction works, including his magnificent temple came from here.  It was last used in the early 20th Century.

In Jeremiah 52: 7-8 we read of King Zedekiah fleeing Jerusalem as it was besieged by the Chaldeans.  Legend has it that it was through this network of caves that Zedekiah sought to escape.  The name has stuck although the cave system is also known as King Solomon’s Quarries.

Note:

The caves are well lit and safe but the rock is ‘polished in places and can be damp therefore sensible shoes would be advisable.  The temperature will also be noticeably cooler than outside.