Jerusalem: Tour Guide
Jerusalem is an ensemble of Faiths, beliefs and an old, walled city. Sacred to Christians, Muslims and Jews, it brings all three faiths into the city on a flood of pilgrimage inside its high walls. It takes them closer to the foundation and root of their faith than ever before. This brings various sounds of Islamic prayer calls and church bells to the Jewish Shofar. All these sounds pierce through the fine air in and beyond the city to create an almost tunefulness, melody. Many fragrances mingle in the air also. Coffee, candle smoke drift across the city and through the markets in a relaxed way. The different faiths each have their own part to play adding a uniqueness to Jerusalem. But it wasn’t all peace thousands of years ago with deep wounds which still scar the city today. There are a series of attractions mostly west of the city including museums and markets. The centre of the city is filled with bars and restaurants. While east of the city lies a slightly unsettling scene with unknown territory’s where Israeli settlements are being continually built.
Temple Mount/The Noble Sanctuary:
There are very few places with as holy ground as this temple. This monument is known to Jews as Temple Mount and Muslims as The Noble Sanctuary. This monument is in the old town and is home to two of Islam’s most sacred buildings. The dome of rock and Al Aqsa Mosque. It is referred to by Jews as the first and second temple. It is sad that it was here that God gathered the earth to create Adam here. For visitors uninvolved in the politics of the site, it is a place for silent awe and for non-Muslims prayers remain forbidden and opening hours are limited. After the initial queues and security, the area spreads across 140 acres which the public can walk around. Sometimes along with praying children come to play football in certain areas and adults come to relax and enjoy the peaceful location it offers.
Mahane Yehuda Markets:
These markets are the focal point for meeting up in Jerusalem. First-time visitors, as well as frequent locals, seem to fill their trolleys with colourful fruit and veg. The market stalls are laid full of all sorts fascinating food. What’s better is that at night the markets convert into bars and restaurants where people hang out as a strong social point. There are two main streets Mahane Yehuda St. which is open air and is suited for veg and butchery. Etz Chayim St. has more pastries, juices and much more. The market history has been there since the Ottoman times. The market is busiest on Thursdays and Fridays when you really are shoulder to shoulder.
The Dead Sea:
If are going to spend more than just a few days in Jerusalem, then a trip to the dead sea is a great trip to take. It is located along the Israel-Jordan border. It is the lowest point on the surface of the earth. The water is so salty that in fact nothing has the capability of living in it but allows you to float effortlessly on the surface. It is also believed to have healing powers due to the soothing effect that the mud and salt have on your skin. You can reach the dead sea by bus which takes around ninety minutes each way. You can also drive there but it is advised to take public transport. On some beaches, you may have to pay to swim in the sea but look out for the ones which you don’t.
Transport in Jerusalem:
The bus and light rail are the two main ways to get around Jerusalem however, the airport is 55km away, Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv which operates domestic flights. The company who operates buses in the city are called Egged. The buses are mostly green, and they run a very large number of routes centred around the main bus station. The standard price for a ticket is 5.90 NIS for a single trip or, if you are staying the city for an extended period then a smart card is probably the best option. The Light rail system is slightly newer and runs along one line through the city. One option is the park and ride where you can park outside the city and get the light rail into the centre. It costs the same amount as the bus and has the same ticket system. It is worth noting that on a Friday afternoon buses stop 30 mins before sunset and the rail a few hours before and then resume after sunset on Saturday. This is called Shabbot.
Nightlife in Jerusalem:
When you think about what to do in Jerusalem, nightlife does not come to mind for most people, although this, however, is on the fall. It is beginning to attract more city tourists, with either a relaxing glass of wine or dancing all night in a club. Here are a few places that you might like to go:
- Yellow Submarine (Bar, live music, Casual)
- Gatsby (Great Cocktails, live jazz and swing, Classy)
- Toy Bar (Usually a bar, parties for youths, variety of drinks)
- Justice (Outstanding, clubbing, dancing, very popular)