Just a few minutes’ drive from Jerusalem, visitors to the Holy Land can visit the delightful Arab village of Abu Ghosh. Known as the unmatched hummus capital of Israel and renowned for the hospitable and welcoming behavior of its residents, Abu Ghosh has a great deal to offer pilgrims and tourists to Israel.
In about the 12th century Abu Ghosh began to be identified by Christians as Emmaus where Jesus appeared after the Resurrection and the village spring as the destination of the disciples. Built over this spring is a splendid Crusader church (The Church of the Resurrection) whose walls are embellished with paintings of figures from the New Testament and are some of the world’s oldest medieval frescos.
The Church is part of the Abu-Ghosh Benedictine Monastery compound which is itself a magnificent Holy Land hidden treasure. Set in magnificent gardens it is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places to visit in the Jerusalem area.
Abu-Ghosh has also been described as Kiriyat Jearim which is the place where the Ark of the Covenant was brought after its captivity by the Philistines. There is a church on the hill, the Church of Notre Dame that is believed to be the place where the Ark was kept for 20 years until King David took it to Jerusalem.
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, located in the Old City of Jerusalem is the site where Jesus was crucified. The last 5 Stations of the Cross are all within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher from when he was stripped of his garments to when his body was laid in the Tomb of Joseph of Aramathea.
This unique church has been a major pilgrimage site for Christians worldwide for centuries.
It is here that Catholic and Orthodox Christians mark the crucifixion as well as the burial of Jesus and where the rites of six Christian denominations are celebrated in this spacious house of worship.
The church was first built here by Constantine in the fourth century over the ruins of a pagan temple built in the second century by Emperor Hadrian. Over the centuries it has been destroyed and rebuilt and added to, time and again.
Today’s visitors to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem will find themselves immersed in the history of Christianity, as well as encountering the living testimony of the perseverance of Christians to cherish a piece of Jerusalem as their own heritage from the origins of their religion up until today.
The ancient City of David is located just south of the Old City of Jerusalem and borders the Kidron Valley in the East. Kind David established his kingdom
here and it is recognized as the place where the history of ancient Israel was written. It is believed that it is at this place that King Solomon was crowned
King of Israel after his anointment.
The City of David is now an archeological park telling the biblical story of the Jews and the wars and hardships that led to Jerusalem’s establishment as well as the story of the prophets and kings. The site is a very popular stop for visitors when on a Holy Land tour.
The archeological ruins house large intricate houses indicating that the city’s residents enjoyed an elevated social status and the city’s remains are forever present in the multitude of shards and stones that cover the pathways that run between the buildings.
Visitors to the City of David can visit the Visitors center and see a 3D movie about the site. They can take part in a tour that will lead them through Hezekiah’s tunnel and pass through the many underground passages and go down to the underground spring which was the place where Kings were anointed. There is a museum that houses many interesting and rare artifacts that have been discovered during excavations of the area.
Recent excavations have also made it possible for visitors to walk from the Pool of Shiloah all the way to the Western Wall
Ein Karem is one of Jerusalem’s most picturesque neighborhoods due to its lovely churches, appealing stone houses most of which are decorated with arches and attractive stone paved paths. Many of these lovely old village houses are now filled with artists and sculptors that delight visitors to the area.
Ein Karem is the traditional birthplace of John the Baptist and is a popular pilgrimage site for many Christian tours to the Holy Land who come year after
year to visit the holy places in the area such as St John’s Church, The Visitation Church, The Russian monastery and Mary's Well where it’s believed that
Mary, sat together with Elizabeth - Mary pregnant with Jesus and Elizabeth pregnant with John - and drank water from the well.
Walking tours of Ein Karem usually begin at Mary's well. Walking through this beautiful area is a spiritual experience in itself and visitors are usually
enraptured by the charm and graceful simplicity of this peaceful neighborhood.
Located at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem is the Garden of Gethsemane, the place where Jesus came to pray with his disciples after the Last Supper and where he was arrested after being betrayed by Judas. The Garden of Gethsemane is set within the walls of the Church of all Nations which was built in around 1920 over the ruins of previous churches.
In the church there are beautiful mosaics that relate the events that took place there on that fateful night. Visitors are generally surprised to learn that the ancient Olive Trees in the Garden itself were probably young saplings when Jesus and his disciples were there.
Facing the Old City of Jerusalem is the Mount of Olives which separates the City from the Judean Desert. There is an outstanding panoramic view of city from this vantage point. This mountain ridge is named for the Olive groves that at one time covered its slopes.
The Mount of Olives is an extremely important site for Jews and Christians alike as it is mentioned in the Bible many times, particularly in the
New Testament being the route from Jerusalem to Bethany and a favourite place where Jesus taught and where he wept over Jerusalem.
The site has been a place of Christian worship for many years and is still a dominant pilgrimage place for Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Christians.
There are many other prominent sites on the Mount of Olives include the Gardens of Gethsemane next to the Church of all Nations, the Church of Maria
Magdalene and others.
For more than 3000 years the Mount has been used as a Jewish cemetery. Containing more than 150,000 graves it is believed to be the place where, when the Messiah comes, the dead will be redeemed. Jews have always sought to be buried in this place and there are many famous graves that lie at the foot of the mountain against the city walls. These include the tomb of Zechariah, Hezir and Absalom.
Mount Zion in Jerusalem. The site where Jesus and his disciples celebrated the Last Supper (Passover Seder meal). There are a number of places to visit on Mount Zion including Dormition Abbey, the Cenacle or the Hall of the Last Supper and King David's Tomb.
This ancient walled city is holy to all three monotheistic religions and has been constantly inhabited for more than 3000 years.
In 1000 BCE Jerusalem was proclaimed by King David as the eternal capital and spiritual centre of the Jewish People and it was here that in 670 BCE the
first temple was built by King Solomon.
A Holy place to Christians, as it was at this place, more than 2000 years ago, that Jesus entered the city at Passover and where subsequently the Last Supper took place, followed by Jesus’ arrest at the Garden of Gethsemane, his trial, condemnation and the route of the Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross) to Calvary.
Built over the site of Solomon’s Temple (Temple Mount) is the Dome of the Rock a shrine for Muslim pilgrims who believe that this was the site where
Mohammed ascended to heaven.
The spiritual quality of Jerusalem is unique and exists mainly due to the exhilarating and impressive history and sacred ambience surrounding its Holy Sites.
The fascination of Jerusalem probably results from the vivid and exciting markets, captivating narrow alleyways, stunning stone walls and beautiful ancient buildings.
Pilgrim’s Way to the Temple Mount and the impressive Tunnel.
The ancient City of David was located just south of the Old City of today and borders the Kidron Valley in the East. In the 19th century archaeological
exploration began and continues right up to the present time.
Only a few years ago the Ancient Shiloah Pool was discovered where the Kidron and Ben Hinnom Valleys meet. Excavations began and discoveries included a staircase that further excavations revealed were part of an ancient road leading from the Shiloah Pool to the Temple Mount about 2300 feet to the north.
During the days of King Herod, 2000 years ago the construction of this magnificent pool took place and served as a central meeting place for pilgrims arriving in Jerusalem when they came to visit the Temple Mount for Passover, Shavuot (The Festival of Weeks) and Sukkoth (The feast of the Tabernacles.
At that time there was an imposing road (The Herodian Road) connecting the Shiloah Pool to the Temple Mount. This road was lined with factories and shops connected to Dairy manufacturing during the Hellenistic period and then during the Herodian period in Jerusalem the road was paved and the Shiloah pool formed which stored water for drinking and for visiting pilgrims to bathe.
The importance of the road increased due to the growth of the pilgrimage trend and the Shiloah played a crucial role in the ritual ceremony of libation,
when water from the pool was carried to the Temple Mount as an offering. In the Christian world the pool of Siloam (Shiloah) plays a very important
part because this is the place where Jesus healed the blind men.
Even though the Herodian road excavations only began a few years ago, the road has now been revealed in all its splendour. Adjoining the Herodian Road
there has also been the discovery of an important drainage channel from the days of Herod. The man made tunnel is more than 700 meters long and runs
from the Western Wall in the North to the Pool of Shiloah in the South and was constructed with the intention of protecting flooding on the road.
The excavations and cleaning of the Tunnel has made it possible to walk through it from the pool itself to the Western Wall. There are sections of the
Herodian Road that have also been excavated and distinctive steps have been revealed along its length.
During excavations some notable and rare artifacts were discovered which have a remarkable similarity to Josephus’s descriptions in his book “Wars of the Jews”.
Visitors can begin touring the site in the Pool of Siloam, and continue up through the Herodian ancient road walking through the tunnel all the way to the Western Wall.
The Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem is located in the southeastern part of the Old City. The entrance to The Jewish Quarter is either through the Zion Gate or Dung Gate. Visit the Western Wall, one of the most meaningful attractions for tourists, stroll along the Cardo which was the main street of the city during the Byzantine Period and visit ancient synagogues that date back up to 400 years.
The superbly restored Jerusalem Citadel complex, which is generally known as the Tower of David, houses the Museum of the History of Jerusalem.
The museum demonstrates the long and eventful history of Jerusalem by way of specifically designed displays and models.
These entrancing exhibits will intensify the visitors understanding of the Holy City of Jerusalem.
Your visit can begin along the panoramic route of the Citadel towers to experience a spectacular view of both the Old and New City and the luxuriant archeological gardens. This can be followed by exploring the many captivating displays that cover 4000 years of the city’s turbulent history all of which will add up to an impressive and unforgettable experience.
The Via Dolorosa is the mile-long route through the Old City of Jerusalem, leading from the Antonia Fortress where Jesus was condemned by Pontius Pilate to Golgotha (Calvary) the place of the crucifixion.
The Via Dolorosa is marked by 14 stations. At each station there is a chapel or marker depicting an incident in Jesus’ final mortal journey.
The traditional site of Golgotha-Calvary is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
The official memorial museum for the six million Jewish Holocaust victims, YAD VASHEM, is situated in Jerusalem on the green slopes of Har HaZikaron
(Mount of Remembrance).
In 1953 Israel’s Holocaust commemoration project commenced with the function of perpetuating the memory of Holocaust victims as well as documenting
the history of the Jewish people during the Holocaust in order that it would never be forgotten.
In 2005 the new Yad Vashem museum, designed in a prism shape and penetrating into the mountain was opened to the public.
The museum is divided into nine galleries and relates the story of the various Jewish communities from before the Second World War and the events that let up to the “Final Solution” resulting in mass genocide.
There are other special Memorials and monuments at Yad Vashem that include the Hall of Remembrance with its eternal flame, the Children’s memorial for
the 1 ½ million Jewish children murdered in the Holocaust as well as the Avenue of the Righteous Among the Nations with its more than 2000 trees planted
to honor non-Jews who risked their lives to rescue Jews from the Nazis. The World’s most extensive library and archives of material about the Holocaust is
housed at Yad Vashem.
All visitors to Yad Vashem find it to be an emotional and heartrending experience.
Click here for one of our tours to Israel that include visiting the sites of Jerusalem.