Jerusalem Attractions

Jerusalem Attractions

Gates of Jerusalem

A magnificent wall erected by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1542 surrounds the Old City of Jerusalem. Parts of this charming, high, imposing wall are built with massive stones that date back to the time of Herod. The wall is pierced by  eight gates – seven are open, and one is closed –some of which guard the sites of more ancient gates. Until 1887, each gate was closed before sunset and opened at sunrise. For most of its circumference, the ramparts have been fenced and strengthened, allowing visitors to walk around the wall’s exterior.

There are three gates in the north wall: Damascus Gate, New gate, and Herod’s Gate.  The most beautiful gate is Damascus Gate in the north wall, where the Arab bazaar and marketplace begins. The gate lies between two ridges of the city and leads toNablusin the north andDamascusinSyria. The Damascus Gate is called Bab al-Amud in Arabic or the Gate of the Column, either because of the column that once stood in the square inside the gate or because of the Street of Columns, which crossed the Byzantine City from the gate.

The narrow New Gate, called Bab al-Jadid in Arabic, in the northwest corner marks the entrance to the Christian Quarter. It was opened during the time of Sultan Abd el-Hamid in 1889 to create access outside the wall for people in the Christian Quarter.

Herod’s Gate, called Bab es-Sahira in Arabic, is located in the northeast.

On the west, the citadel, commonly called theTowerofDavid, built on the site of Herod’s palace flanks Jaffa Gate, called Bab al-Khalil in Arabic or the Gate of the Friend in reference to Abraham, the friend of God. This gate leads toHebronandJaffa. Today this main western entrance to theOldCityis primarily a tourist gate.

On the southwest corner is Zion Gate, called Bab en-Neby Daoud in Arabic because of its proximity to the Mosque of David (Daoud in Arabic). This gate is near David’s Tomb, the Cenacle, and theChurchofDormition.

The Dung Gate, called Bab el-Magharebeh in Arabic or Moors Gate, on the southern wall leads to the Western Wall, St. Peter’s in Gallicantu, and thevillageofSilwan(Siloam).

The Golden Gate, called Bab-Dahiriyeh in Arabic or Gate of Eternity, on the east is blocked pending the arrival of the Messiah, according to Jewish religious zealots. This well-known gate is a twin-arched gate: the northern arch is known as Bab el-Tobeh or the Gate of Repentance, and the southern arch is Bab el-Rahmeh or the Gate of Mercy. The gate is a Byzantine structure built by the Empress Eudoxia in the fifth century. This gate became know as theGolden Gatewhen the Emperor Heraclius, returning from his Persian campaign with the recovered Holy Cross, entered through this gate. It was first walled up soon after the Moslem conquest and in the time of the Crusaders was only used for the processional entry of the festival for the raising of the Cross and on Palm Sunday. Finally, it  was closed by Suleiman the Magnificent.

On the east end of the wall is Lions Gate, which is also known as St. Stephen’s Gate or Bab el-Asbat in Arabic, or the Gate of the Tribes. It is the reputed site of stoning of St. Stephen (the first martyr). It also is known as Bab Sitti Maryam  or the Gate of My Lady Mary because it leads to the Church of the Blessed Virgin’s Tomb. The gate marks the start of the Via Dolorosa.

Via Dolorosa / Holy Sepulcher

The Way of The Cross

Via Dolorosa, The Sorrowful Way of the Cross, is considered the holiest road in the Christian world. Along  the road’s uneven path, Jesus was led from the place of His condemnation to that of His crucifixion and death.

This traditional route starts from Antonia fortress, where he was condemned to death, toCalvary, where he was crucified. The event is commemorated at fourteen stations: two are located at Antonia, seven are located in the streets, and the last five are inside the church of the Holy Sepulchre.

StationI.         Jesus is condemned to death.

Station II.        Jesus receives the cross.

Station III.      Jesus falls under the cross for the first time.

Station IV.      Jesus meets His mother Mary.

Station V.        The cross is taken over by Simon of Cyrene.

Station VI.      Veronica wipes the sweat from Jesus’ face.

Station VII.     Jesus falls for the second time.

Station VIII.   Jesus consoles the women ofJerusalem.

Station IX.      Jesus falls for the third time.

Station X.        Jesus is stripped of His garments.

Station XI.      Jesus is nailed to the cross.

Station XII.     Jesus dies on the cross.

Station XIII.   Jesus’s body is taken off the cross.

Station XIV.   Jesus’s body is laid into the sepulchre.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Preserving the most holy moments of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, this church is the world’s holiest shrine to Christians. Situated in theOldCity’s Christian Quarter, the church was first built in the fourth century byConstantine’s Mother Helena over the site of a Roman Pagan temple. The present structure is Crusader (12th century) and contains the last five Stations of the Cross. It also, contains the Chapel of Golgotha where Jesus was crucified, the sepulcher itself where Jesus was buried and from which he rose, and the Chapel of Mary Magdalene where the risen Christ first revealed himself.

Dome of the Rock

The Dome of the Rock with its magnificent golden dome is the most famous building contained in the El-Haram esh-Sharif or Noble Sanctuary of the Old City of Jerusalem. The sanctuary features eight gates.

Arabic                                     English

Bab el-Dhahabi                      Golden Gate(walled up)

Bab el-Ghawanima                 Gate of Bani Ghanim

Bab el-Hadeed                                   Iron Gate

Bab el-Magharebeh                 Gate of the Moors

Bab el-Mathara                       Gate of Ablution

Bab el-Qattaneen                    Gate of the Cotton Merchants

Bab en-Nazir                           Prison Gate

Bab es-Silsila                           Chain Gate

Al-Aqsa Mosque  (The Distant Mosque)

Located next to the Dome of  the Rock, this silver-domed mosque is part of the third holiest shrine to Muslims. Originally built between 709-715 AD by Caliph Waleed Ben Abdul Malik, al-Aqsa was reconstructed at least six times and very little of the original mosque remains in the present structure.

The Garden Tomb

Located north theOldCity’s Damascus Gate, the simplicity, beauty, and peaceful atmosphere of the Garden Tomb makes it a favorite spot for prayer and meditation.

Some Christians find worshipping near the rock-hewn tomb helpful in reliving the crucifixion and resurrection experience. The Garden Tomb gives a clear picture of what the place of Crucifixion and burial must have looked like at the time of Jesus.

Mount of Olives

The Mt.of Olives is located east ofJerusalem, across the Kidron Valley. It offers a magnificent view of the Old City and a striking panorama as far as the Dead Sea and the mountains ofMoabin the East.

The Mt. of Olives is associated with some of the most important events Jesus’ life. Here, Jesus ascended to Heaven (Chapel of Ascension), foretold the destruction of Jerusalem, taught his disciples the Lord’s prayer (Pater Noster), and wept over Jerusalem on his way to the Holy City on Palm Sunday (Church of Dominus Flevit).

The Russian Orthodox Church of St. Mary Magdalene, with its striking onion-shaped spires is also located on theMt.ofOlives.

Garden of Gethsemane (Church of All Nations)

Located at the foot of the Mt. of Olives, the Church of All Nations was originally built by the Byzantines in 379 over the place made holy by Jesus’ prayer and agony. The present church, considered one of the most beautiful inJerusalem, was built in 1919-1924. It is called the Church of All Nations because sixteen nations contributed to its construction.

Today, the Garden of Gethsemane appearing as it did 2000 years ago, and within it are some of the world’s oldest olive trees. The Garden was s spot favored by Jesus and it was here that He often came for His retreats and prayer. It was also here that, on His last night, Jesus spent the most sorrowful hour of His passion. KidronValley

The Tomb of the Lady

According to tradition, the Virgin Mary, who died inJerusalem, was buried in the Kidron Valley. The present church was built by the Crusaders over the ruins of a Byzantine basilica. The site marks the traditional place of Virgin Mary’s tomb and her Assumption.

The Kidron Valley

The Kidron Valley separates the Mt .of Olives from the city of Jerusalem. Jesus crossed the valley many times, including on the evening of Holy Thursday when he went with his disciples to Gethsemane.

The ancient tombs of Absalom, Jehoshaphat, St. James, and St. Zacharias are located in theKidronValley. According to local tradition, the Kidron will be the site of the Last Judgment. This belief leads to the creation of cemeteries in the Kidron Valley for Christians, Muslims and Jews alike.

Bethany al-Azarieh

Located 2 miles east of Jerusalem on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives,Bethany was the home of Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha, whom Jesus loved. The village has carried the name Lazarus since the fourth century and it is where Jesus performed the great miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead.

Rockefeller Museum- The Palestine Archeological Museum

Founded in 1927 by an American-Jewish oil magnate, the museum was called the Palestine Archeological Museum until 1967; it contains archeological treasures from Palestine and the entire Near East, dating from prehistoric time until the eighteenth century. Amongst the masterpieces in the museum’s collection is a sculptured lintel from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Crusader period), carved wooden panels from the al-Aqsa Mosque (ninth century), stuccoes from the Umayyad Palace of Hisham in Jericho (eighth century), and some fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls: the remainder having been transferred to the Israel Museum after the occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967. Going further back in time, the museum also has on exhibit a skeleton of ancient man (homo carmeliensis), dated 100.000 BC, which was discovered near Atlit, on the coast nearCaesarea.

Location:Sultan Suleiman Street(near Herod’s Gate, Bab ez-Zahra).

Open Sunday-Thursday 10:00-17:00, Friday-Saturday 10:00-14:00. Tel: 02-6282251.

Orient House

This huge private house, built in 1897 by Ismail Musa al-Husseini, has a long diplomatic history. A year after its construction, it hosted Kaiser Wilhelm II ofGermany(Kaiser Bill) for a tea party. The Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie lived here with his court from 1936 to 1937, during the Italian conquest. In 1949-1950, it became the temporary headquarters of the UN and UNRWA before being converted in 1967 into a hotel known as The New Orient House. In 1983, Faisal al-Husseini made it the office of the Arab Studies Society. After 1992 it became the official seat of the Palestinian political institutions inJerusalemuntil 2001. Today, it houses the offices of an aid organization, ANERA, American Near East Refugee Aid.

 Museum of Arab Palestinian Folklore  Dar at-Tifl

This museum of popular Palestinian is one of the best museums of its kind today. Its collection of Palestinian costumes and robes as well as its reconstruction of different handicraft techniques and scenes from traditional daily life in the first half of the twentieth century are the main attractions of the museum.

The museum is located in Dar at –Tifl al Arabi school, near Orient House. It has two entrances: the first fromAbu   Obeida Street(Darat-TiflSchool), the second from the American Colony. Open daily, 9:00-13:00. Tel: 02-6283251.

Dominican School for Biblical Research

The Dominican monastery of Saint Stephen was built in 1891 on the ruins of a Byzantine church discovered during excavation work. The monastery houses theDominicanSchoolof Biblical Research inJerusalem, the oldest biblical and archeological research centre inPalestine. The institute is renowned for its photographic collection (taken inPalestineand the entire Near East from the late nineteenth century to the first half of the twentieth century), its archeological and epigraphic discoveries and its exegetic work.

Location:Nablus Road.

Open Monday-Saturday 9:00-16:00. Ring at the small grey gate .Tel: 02-626 4468,

The Dormition Abbey

The Dormition Abbey is an imposing church in neo-Roman style. Christian tradition holds that it marks the place where Mary lived her last days in an “eternal sleep”. The Madaba Map shows a huge basilica on this spot in Byzantine times. The pavement inside the church is inlaid with beautiful mosaics, while the walls are decorated with representations of biblical women personalities: Eve, Ruth, Judith, Esther.

Location: Mount Zion.

Open Monday-Thursday 9:00-12:00 and 12:30-18:00, Friday 9:00-12:00 and 14:00-18:00, Sunday 10:30-12:00 and 12:30-18:00. Tel: 02-565-5330.

The Coenaeculum & Tomb of David

A building located to the south of the Dormition Abbey contains two highly symbolic holy places: the Coenaeculum or Room of the Last Supper, where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples, and the Tomb of David.

In 1524, the church was transformed into a mosque commemorating the tomb attributed to the Prophet David (Nabi Daoud).


Open every day 8:00-20:00 (18:00 in winter)

Church of St. Peterin Gallicantu

This church of the Assumpsionists was built here in 1931 on the site of the house of the Roman Procurator of Judah, High Priest Caiaphas, where Jesus was imprisoned the night before he was condemned by Pontius Pilate, and where Saint Peter denied that he knew Jesus, thus fulfilling Jesus ‘prophecy: ” Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.” (Mark: 14:72.).  The church commemorates Saint Peter’s repentance as he heard the cock crow (gallicante in Spanish). There are Byzantine and Herodian remains here at the entrance to the church, and a beautiful view ofJerusalem’s three valleys, Silwan and the City ofDavid.

Location: On the eastern slope ofMountZion.

Open Monday-Saturday 8:00-17:00. Tel: 02-673 1739.


A Palestinian village located on a ridge that slopes downhill south of the present Old City of Jerusalem. The village is built over an area which was once surrounded by a city wall and considered to have been the originalJerusalem. The area includes several sites of archaeological interest, notably Hezekiah’s tunnel (a water supply system, where the Siloam inscription was found),Warren’s shaft (an earlier water supply system), and the Pools of Siloam (the presently extant Byzantine-era pool, and the recently discovered Second Temple-period pool). All these water supply systems drew their water from the Gihon Spring which lies on Silwan’s eastern slope, and is generally considered the original reason that the City was built at this location.

Museum of Islamic Art

TheMuseumofIslamic Arthas a good collection of mostly mediaeval, interesting pieces. In the first hall, which dates to the Ayyubid dynasty, are small exhibits: amongst them Quranic calligraphy and illuminated manuscripts, porcelain and other ceramics, vessels, coins, instruments of astronomy and swords.

The second hall, a former refectory built by the Knights Templar in the twelfth century, is devoted to architectural and decorative ornaments from the Dome of the Rock. Here, too, may be seen Umayyad panels of carved cypress wood, and the remains of the magnificent minbar donated by Saladin, which was burnt in the fire of 1969.

Location: In the south-west corner of the plaza.

Admission is included in the admission ticket to the Haram al-Sharif.

 Al-Buraq Wall – Western Wall

” The Prophet said: ” I was fast asleep when Jibril (the angel Gabriel) appeared before me and brought me to al-Buraq, the horse usually ridden by the Prophets. This animal is like no other on Earth (…) I got on him, and in the twinkling of an eye, he took me from the temple of al – Haram (the Ka’aba) to the Temple of al-Aqsa (the Distant Mosque in Jerusalem). I touched earth, and I tied him to the ring used by the Prophets.” *Hadith

After destruction of the Jewish temple by Roman General Titus in 70AD, the Jewish community was only allowed to enter Jerusalem once a year, to lament at the ruins of the temple. However, with the conversion of many Jews to Christianity and then to Islam, this tradition died out for a long time to be replaced by an Islamic tradition linking the wall to the Night Journey (al-Isra) of the Prophet Mohammed.

Jerusalem Souqs – Markets

Souk Khan ez-Zeit is the busiest, most picturesque and colorful shopping street in theOldCity. Above all, the souk is a popular market selling all the food products used in Palestinian cooking – spices, dried fruit, herbs, coffee, and pastries – as well as more ordinary food supplies. Halfway along, the market street splits into two roofed passages; Souk al-Attarin, where there are many clothes shops, and Souk al-Lahamin, the meat market.

Souk al –Qattanin (The Cotton Merchants’ Market) had shops with living quarters above it, public baths (Hammam al Ein and Hammam al-Shifa) and a caravanserai.

Points of Cultural Interest

Al-Wasiti Centre of Contemporary Art

Nabi Shu’ayb Street, Tel: 05-582 2859 ,

This contemporary art gallery is located next to the al-Pasha Restaurant.

Al-Mamal Foundation

Latin Patriarchate Street, Tel: 02-628 3457. Periodic exhibitions of photography by young Palestinian  amateurs or by professionals.

Al – Mamal Foundation opened in 1997 with the aim of stimulating cultural life inEast Jerusalem. Among its main activities, the centre organizes photography workshops for young people; their work is regularly displayed here alongside photographs by professionals, in local newspapers and in the Shoufi (Arabic) magazine and its English version, What’s Up?

Dar At Tifl Museum, near the Orient House: Tel: 02-627-2477 Open daily: 9:00-13:30.

Qalandia Camp Women’s Handicraft Cooperative: Tel: 02-656-9385

The Anadiel Gallery

New Gate, Jack Persekian. Tel: 02-628-2811. Periodic  exhibitions of photography and paintings.

The Palestinian National Theatre (al-Hakawati – The Storyteller)

Abu Obeida Street, Tel: 02-628 0957, Fax: 02-627 6293.


Founded by the al-Hakawati theatrical company in 1984, this theatre is the cultural centre ofJerusalem. Programmes include pieces of theatre, concerts, films, and shows for children and puppet show festivals.

Yabous Productions: For current productions: , Tel: 02-626-1045. This company aims to return toEast Jerusalemsome of its past cultural glory and traditional ambience; it promotes Palestinian artists and productions locally in festivals and promotes them both regionally and internationally. Its annual music festival is a major attraction.

Around Jerusalem


One of the traditional sites of Emmaus, where Jesus appeared to the two travelers after his resurrection. Located in it are the remains of a Crusader village, an important church, and a monastery.

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