Image by Israeli illustrator Alon Braier

Insider Travel Guide to Jerusalem

One of the world’s oldest and holiest cities, Jerusalem possesses tremendous spiritual significance in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. To experience the ancient and divine, head to the walled Old City; for modern architecture, shopping and entertainment, make your way to Downtown Jerusalem. The Old City is divided into four quarters and contains several sacred sites, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Temple Mount and the golden-domed Al-Aqsa Mosque. To its east, the Mount of Olives, where Jesus is believed to have ascended into heaven, is an especially important site for Christian pilgrims. It also offers spectacular views of Jerusalem. While the Old City empties out after dark, Downtown’s cafés, rooftops and bars stay open well into the night.

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Jerusalem Travel and Culture

The Old City buzzes with ceremonial activity: five times a day, the Muslim call to prayer fills the air; on Friday evenings at the Western Wall, the Kabbalat Shabbat, a Jewish prayer ritual, marks the beginning of the sabbath. Foodies will love Machane Yehuda Market, a large, bustling labyrinth of souks, restaurants and boutiques, where local vendors sell homeware, incense and Middle Eastern delicacies such as falafel and baklava. In recent years, the market has transformed into a nightlife hub with bars and live music. The Israel Museum is the city’s principal cultural institution. Among the most treasured items in its extensive collection of artwork, historical objects and archeological findings are the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Neighborhoods in Jerusalem