Jerusalem, a Middle Eastern city west of the Dead Sea, has been a place of pilgrimage and worship for Jews, Christians and Muslims since the biblical era. Its Old City has significant religious sites around the Temple Mount compound, including the Western Wall (sacred to Judaism), the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (a Christian pilgrimage site) and the Dome of the Rock (a 7th-century Islamic shrine with a gold dome).
Located on a plateau in the Judean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, this City of David is a sight to see. One of the oldest cities in the world, Jerusalem has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times. But don’t let that stop you from experiencing food, culture and more! Jerusalem can be as delicious a place to visit as it is historic a setting and culturally enlightening to experience. The best of the local dining scene centers around the hearty traditional dishes, classic Jewish comfort foods, and a wealth of opportunities to taste a range of cuisines. Ossobuco, schnitzel, calamari, seaweed risoto, mejadra, made with lentils and fried onions excellent wines and more!
Experience the open air market Mahane Yehuda Market and sample a range of local delicacies such as falafel, to shop for all sorts of amazing herbs and spices (purchase some za’atar to add an authentic Middle Eastern taste to your dishes back home), and pick up all sorts of other tasty souvenirs.
You can see sights like the Western wailing wall, Christ’s tomb places where the disicples and Jesus walked (Via Dolorosa), the Damascus Gate and the Temple Mount. So much to see and do!
As with all travel to foreign countries, be mindful of traditions and cultural rules. Dressing modestly at holy sites, no skinny dipping after dark in the Dead Sea, don’t shave the bikini line before going to the Dead Sea ( the amount of salt in the water will create a burn you will want to forget), don’t practice your new found foul language in public. If traveling during Yam Kippur or Passover, be mindful that when this feast is over, the lines for the pizza and felafel stand are bum rushed! If traveling with a group, don’t stray, especially in the GolanHeights and in the Dead Sea. There are many minefields remaining from previous wars that are still not cleared (but that are usually marked), and that STILL cause serious injury every year to tourists, locals, and livestock. Don’t accept the first price offered in the market and bazaars. Especially in the tourist trap market lanes of Old City of Jeruselam, where a 50 shekel opening offer has been known to be haggled (hard!) down to 5 shekels! Here is the biggie….DO NOT make silly jokes about having a concealed weapon or bomb, or attempt to go MacGyver on the Israeli security and immigration personnel upon arrival in Israel. They might have plenty of questions and in the end, they will have your ass if you get stupid.