Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world. The Holy City is located in the Judean Mountains, at the northern edge of the Dead Sea. During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, and the theater of war, kill and murder. In 1538, Suleiman the Magnificent decided to build walls around the city. Today, those walls define the Old City, which has been traditionally divided into four quarters - the Armenian, Christian, Jewish and Muslim Quarters.
The Old City became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981.
Five Great Reasons to Visit Jerusalem:
• The Old City of Jerusalem is steeped in thousands of years of history, and the sacred atmosphere that envelopes the holy sites is almost tangible. For Christians, following the footsteps of Jesus down Via Dolorosa, the way he was taken, bearing the cross on his back, to the site of his crucifixion, is a moving experience. Jewish people are stirred by a visit to the City of David archeological site, and watching the excavations revealing the city that King David built 3,000 years ago.
And what can match the majesty of the Dome of the Rock for Muslims all over the world? Other must-see sites include the Western Wall and the Tunnels, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the narrow streets of the Old City.
• Jerusalem is not only a city steeped in history, it's also a city of culture and renewal. Culturally speaking, it boasts 70 museums, first and foremost the Israel Museum
, where you can spend many hours browsing through this expansive collection of art and artifacts, as well as the sculpture garden overlooking the city. The Museum of Italian Jewish Art was founded in 1981, and displays objects pertaining to Jewish life in Italy from the Middle Ages to the present, and the Museum of Islamic Art is home to the world's most comprehensive exhibits of Islamic works. On the renewal side, you can admire Calatrava's Chords Bridge, and visit the Israeli Parliament, or Knesset, a beautiful building sitting on a hilltop. If you're visiting Jerusalem in May or June, don't miss the world-famous Jerusalem Festival, three weeks of groundbreaking performances.
• The Night Spectacular
of the lit walls - This 45 minute sound and light show takes place at the Tower of David, a fine backdrop to a stunning performance.
• The views from Mount Zion
- Between the Old City and the Valley of Hinnom is Mount Zion, where you can visit some important sites - Abbey of the Dormition and the Cenacle (Room of the Last Supper) - and most importantly, enjoy a breathtaking view of Jerusalem.
• In Latrun, halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, visit Mini Israel
, and you'll get to see the whole of Israel in just a few hours. This marvelous park is home to more than 350 miniature models of Israel's most important archeological, religious and historical sites, at a scale of 1:25.