Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel, has attracted millions of pilgrims over thousands of years, owing to its eternal history tied to the religious roots of Jews, Christians and Muslims. It holds the privilege of being the world’s holiest city, and has a wondrous story to tell every visitor who comes on a Holy Land Tour. The very walls and stones of the city and the whispering winds of the lanes relate its eventful history. It holds a central spot on ancient maps of the world and has been praised and adored with seventy names.
A Jerusalem pilgrimage promises an unforgettable spiritual experience with overpowering emotions, excitement and adventure. Alongside the marvelous historic and archaeological places, the city also houses staggering tourist attractions that appeals to people of varying interests, such as culture, arts, music, theatre, architecture and cuisine.
The Old City
The Old City, located at the heart of Jerusalem has four quarters pertaining to the Jews, Armenians, Christians and Muslims. It is surrounded by a wall that encloses the popular sites namely the Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Dome of the Rock and Temple Mount. Millions of pilgrims visit the Western Wall plaza and offer prayers at the base of the huge wall, slipping papers containing heartfelt petitions between the crevices. Surrounding this wall are the Western Wall Tunnels, the Jewish quarter with the Cardo, David’s Citadel and Davidson Center. The City of David, located to the south is the place from which Jerusalem developed and it is an incredible site with lots of findings that offer a memorable experience.
Christians put an emphasis on a Jerusalem pilgrimage because it is associated with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Christian quarter of Jerusalem shelters about forty religious monuments, such as churches, pilgrims’ hostels and monasteries. The Via Dolorosa or the ‘Way of Sorrows’ depicting the final path of Jesus is a prominent site in the quarter. It is the path that Jesus took to the Golgotha Hill, the place of his crucifixion. Faithful pilgrims come here to follow His footsteps along the route that begins at the Lion’s Gate, passing through the fourteen cross stations, and ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The church houses the most significant relics, such as the anointing stone and the grave of Jesus.
Mount Zion is important for the Last Supper Room and the Dormition Abbey that was built hundred years ago with a statue of the sleeping Mary in its basement. The Mount of Olives has the Ascension Church, Dominus Flevit Church, Mary Magdalene Church and a few other churches. Mary’s tomb is located in the Kidron Valley at the foot of the mountain. The Israel Museum, Bird Observatory, Bible Lands Museum, Knesset, Armon HaNatsiv tunnels and the Holocaust Memorial are other important sites of the city.
People who go on a Jerusalem pilgrimage also get to visit the Jewish neighborhoods of the new city, which still retain their picturesque charm. Jerusalem has a sophisticated transportation network and tour organizers offer several itineraries of different durations.