When I wrote the Top 10 Things To Do In Jerusalem, I had no idea it would be such a hit. I mean, I know many travelers are curious about Israel and my Israel Trip in 2016 piqued the interest of a bunch of my own friends as well – but the kind of response this post got, was a pleasant surprise.
I have been asked to help prepare itineraries for a couple of friends’ Israel trip.
I have answered numerous question about Israel and its culture, including the most popular question – is Israel safe for travelers? It totally is safe, by the way, as safe it is anywhere in the world. The next popular question, strangely, is about El Al, the airline that flew me to Israel. Which reminds me, I MUST write a post about my experience with El Al, the world’s most secure airline.
I have even had a face-time chat with a traveler friend and her partner in Australia, answering their questions about Israel.
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And I’m happy that so many of you are considering Israel as your next destination. I am absolutely in love with the country and its people, and that’s no secret.
But as usual, I digress. This post is an extension of my previous article:
Adding 5 more things to do in Jerusalem to the original list because there is simply a lot you must do when you’re in Jerusalem. So without any further distraction, here is the list.
1. Shop in the Old City of Jerusalem
Shop in the old city streets to your heat’s delight! You can also pay in U.S. Dollars if you don’t have enough local currency. Go to the Mahane Yehuda Market which has more than 200 vendors selling nuts, spices, street food like falafels and shawarma, sweet dishes like halva, various kinds of cheese and a lot more. Shop for souvenirs, clothes or other things in the streets of the old city.
[If shopping is your thing, you HAVE to read my tips for Shopping at Ladies’ Market in Hong Kong]
2. Pet the cats.
Where Tel Aviv had plenty of dogs, Jerusalem had cats everywhere. Seriously, there are just so many cats in Jerusalem that I often wondered if there’s a rule for keeping cats or something. And they are not shy at all! So go ahead and pet a tabby cat and click cat pictures to share on your Instagram for later. I am not even kidding; these cats were cute as a button.
3. Visit the four quarters inside the Old City
The Old City of Jerusalem is divided in four quarters: The Jewish Quarter, The Christian Quarter, The Muslim Quarter and the Armenian Quarter. Each quarter has its distinct quality. The Catholic or Christian Quarter is at the north of Jaffa Gate, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a part of this.
The Jewish Quarter has the Western Wall, and the Armenian Quarter has the Citadel, Cathedral of St James and Armenian Patriarchate. The Muslim quarter has the Ecce Homo Basilica and a lot of eating joints and shops. Walking through these quarters is like walking though history – the streets are more than 3 thousand years old!
4. Mount of Olives
This is a site that’s not inside the Old City of Jerusalem and it is said that Jesus visited the site often. The famous St Mary Magdalene church is at the foot of the Mount of Olives. This is said to be the final resting place of Mary.
[ Read my heartfelt post about Why I Fell In Love With Israel to know about my almost mysterious connection with the country ]
5. Walk Around, Take it all in.
Jerusalem is a destination that cannot be experienced fully unless you walk its streets and touch its walls and breathe in the air that is laden with so much history. Take a walk on the city ramparts to explore the Old City. These walls were built by King Suleyman in the 16th century when Jerusalem was under the Ottoman rule. It is a wonderful way to see Jerusalem.
Along with the Holy City of Jerusalem, the walls of Jerusalem are also listed in UNESCO.
So, that is my list of top 5 (more) things that you must do in Jerusalem. And like I mentioned in part 1 of this post, towards the end of our Jerusalem trip, Yael (our amazing guide) said something that stayed with me – There’s a Jerusalem for everyone.
So plan your trip to Israel soon and get a taste of years and years of culture, rich history and great people.
Religion, Culture, History, Adventure – whatever it is that you’re seeking, you will find it here.
Go find your Jerusalem!
PS: I have just returned from my first luxury cruise with Princess Cruise from Dubai to Cochin, and I am still in a cruise frame of mind. Do return to this travel blog to read about the cruise.
PPS: I have a YouTube Channel, you guys. Subscribe, won’t you? Here: Aditi Mathur Kumar