Touring Israel

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We highly recommend taking a look at the digital version of Time Out Magazine to see what is going on in our area during your visit! See http://www.timeout.com/ and click on Tel Aviv.

Also, The Jerusalem Municipality has begun its own Tourism Website: http://tour.jerusalem.muni.il/eng/

Within Jerusalem

Jerusalem is a town full of interesting things to do and to see.  Try the selected places we have listed below.  For up-to-date information and current events we suggest you check http://www.visit-jerusalem.com/

The Knesset – The Israeli Parliament

The Knesset is Israel’s parliament. It took its name from the Knesset Hagedolah, the representative Jewish body convened by Ezra and Nehemiah in the 5th century BCE. The building, completed in 1966, was designed by Yosef Klarvin and funded by Baron James de Rothschild. The Israeli parliament (Knesset) is open to public visits, tours and observation of Knesset sessions. The Knesset offers guided tours for the general public on Sundays and Thursdays between the hours of 8:30AM-2:30PM. Tel: 02-6753420 or www.knesset.gov.il

The Chagall Windows (Hadassah Hospital)

World famous  stained glass windows by Marc Chagall in the synagogue of the Hadassah University Hospital in Ein Kerem, depicting Jacobs’s blessing of his sons, the Twelve Tribes of Israel.  Sun-Thu 08:00-15:45, Fri 08:00-12:45.  Buses 19, 27.  Tel. 641 6333

Mahane Yehuda Market – the “shuk”

Jerusalem’s historic vegetable/food market is a fascinating hive of activity.  Between Jaffa Road and Agrippas Street, the market is an attraction in its own right even if you don’t want to do any shopping.  Thursday and Friday are the busiest days with thousands scrambling to buy the food needed for Shabbat.  ‘Mahane Jehuda’ means Camp of Judah.  Buses 14, 18.

Mea Shearim

This ultra-orthodox Jewish district, established in 1875, is the only remaining example of shtetl (ghetto), which existed before the Holocaust in Eastern European Jewish communities.  Mea Shearim is Hebrew for one hundred gates.  The residents mostly dress in 18th century East European styles.  They are mainly devoted to religious study.  When you visit Mea Shearim you should conform to the residents’ standard in your dress and behavior. This means that women should not wear shorts or even long trousers, but a loose-fitting skirt and long sleeves.  Men should wear long trousers.  Do not walk arm in arm or even hand in hand with anyone.  Most ultra-orthodox Jews dislike being photographed; in fact, their interpretation of Jewish Law forbids it.  Best place for buying items of Judaica.

Community Dancing 

Takes place at Liberty Bell Park on Saturday nights during summer months, at around 20:00.  The children will love it.

Jerusalem Bird Observatory

Every week the Jerusalem Bird Observatory (JBO) offers an English bird watching tour. JBO staff leads visitors around the grounds, delving the area’s history from the naturalist perspective, pointing out interesting migrating birds as well as telling tall tales of birds who dwell there year round. English-language tours are held on Tuesday afternoons, 4pm in the Winter and 5pm in the Summer. Call Alen Kacal at 052-3869488 for more information.

Biblical Zoo – The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens

The zoo is imaginatively landscaped on 62 acres, built among mountains, and surrounded by stunning views. A central lake surrounds monkey islands. Visitors can view a wide range of animals in spacious enclosures without bars, including species mentioned in the Bible, rare or endangered species, small animals from deserts and rainforests, a huge aviary, the Bibleland Wildlife Preserve, and African and South American enclosures. New attractions include: beautiful penguin exhibit, computerized Visitors Center in ”Noah’s Ark,” beautiful Lemur land and fascinating Birdwatchers’ Route. For children: Zoo train (not on Saturdays and public holidays), children’s zoo, ecological maze and large playground. Bus 26, 39 Tel: 02-6750111 www.jerusalemzoo.org.il

The Old City of Jerusalem

The old city is divided into five areas – the Armenian Quarter, the Christian Quarter, the Muslim Quarter, the Jewish Quarter and the Temple Mount.  The current walls were built between 1537-1542.

Sandeman’s Old City Free Tours

Highly recommended by our volunteers – (meet at Jaffa Gate) Sun-Thurs 11am; 2:30 pm

The Walls of the Old City – Ramparts Walk

400 years ago the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent completed building the walls surrounding the Old City. From top of the walls,the Old City and the holy sites ,as well as the new part of town can be seen. Looking out from the walls the landscapes of Jerusalem – Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus, Valley of Hinom, Kings Valley, the first neighborhoods that were built outside the walls, the City of David, churches, mosques and large parts of the New City are all seen.  The path of the tour goes through most of the wall, and is divided into two parts, the first: from Jaffa Gate through Damascus Gate ending at Lions Gate, the second: from Jaffa Gate through the Tower of David ending in Dung Gate. Entrance to the Ramparts Walk is possible from Jaffa Gate, Damascus Gate and from the Moat Fort. Sunday to Thursday and Saturdays 09:00 – 16:00, Fridays 09:00 – 14:00. Tel: 02-6227750

The Tower of David

Set in the magnificently restored ancient Citadel, first constructed 2,000 years ago by Herod the Great, the Tower of David Museum traces Jerusalem’s long and eventful history through state-of-the-art displays and exhibits, utilizing the most advanced technologies. Cana’anites and Hebrews, Greeks and Romans, Crusaders, Muslims, Turks, British, and Israelis are richly presented and seek harmony within the age-old walls. The panoramic route along the Citadel towers with its breathtaking views of the city and the lush archaelogical gardens, all add to an experience you will cherish. Sunday – Thursday 10:00 – 16:00 Friday closed Saturday 10:00-14:00 Buses 20, 38.  Tel. 02-6265333  http://www.towerofdavid.org.il/eng/

The Tower of David has a wonderful Sound and Light Show called the “Night Spectacular” http://www.towerofdavid.org.il/English/Night_Spectacular – if you mention that you are a DVI dentist you will get a discount!

The Western Wall

In Hebrew Kotel, is often referred to as the Wailing Wall because the Jews have traditionally come here to mourn the Temple’s destruction. It is part of the retaining wall built by Herod the Great in 20 BC to support the Temple’s esplanade. The Wall can be reached on foot from Dung Gate, the Jewish Quarter, or via the Arab markets. On Monday and Thursday mornings bar mitzvahs are held and are usually fascinating to watch. The Wall is divided into two areas, the northern section for men, the small southern section for women.

Western Wall Tunnels

A tour of the Western Wall Tunnels is a fascinating, unforgettable journey through time. The archeology of the site brings to life everything from Jerusalem’s glory during the time of Herod to the Jewish people’s longing for Jerusalem throughout the generations.Tours of the tunnels are taken only with guides and must be scheduled in advance. Tours are available for individuals and groups in Hebrew and English. Each tour lasts about an hour and a quarter. The tour is suitable for the general public, for groups of up to 30 participants. Tickets must be purchased in advance, for details call 02-6271333 or http://english.thekotel.org/

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

In the very heart of the Old City is the shrine most sacred to Christianity – the magnificent church that marks the site of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Situated on the hill known as Golgotha (Calvaria in Latin, whence Calvary), the present church is essentially a Crusader structure. The five last stations of the Via Dolorosa are situated inside the church.

Via Dolorosa

Starting from the tower of Antonia near St. Stephen’s Gate and divided into 14 stations, marking episodes on Jesus’ route to Calvary. Nine stations lead to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, inside which are the last five. On the way is the Ecce Homo Arch built by Hadrian and associated with this route (John 19:5). You may join the Franciscan Fathers’ procession every Friday at 15:00 starting from the Tower of Antonia

Al Aqsa Mosque

The earliest dated mosque in Israel and one of the most important to Islam. The many changes the building went through during the centuries are seen through its non-uniform style. Islamic tradition tells that the mosque was built as a wooden building in 638 by Halif Omar. The silver dome is from the 11th century and its ornaments are from the 14th century.

 Dome of the Rock

One of the holiest places to Islam (third one after Mecca and Medina) and one of the more impressive examples of ancient Islamic architecture and art is the Dome of the Rock, built in 691. The dome, covered these days with gilded aluminum plates, was originally covered with real gold. The center of the construct holds the ”Drinking Rock”, where Jewish tradition tells that Abraham bound his son Isaac and where the Temple’s inner sanctum lay. By Islamic tradition, this is where Muhammad went up to the heavens and met the seven important people- among which were Adam, Moses, Aaron the priest and Jesus- and determined the five daily Muslim prayers. In a silver case on the premises there lies hair from the beard of the prophet Muhammad.

Old City Markets

The two most direct access-points to the market are Jaffa Gate and Damascus Gate.

Mount of Olives

The view from the Mount of Olives is wondrous: the densely packed walled city of Jerusalem embraced by the Hinnom and Kidron  valleys, the Golden Gate to Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount, Mount Zion, City of David and more, bring alive both prophecy and Psalms. It is from the Mount of Olives, with its view not only toward the Holy City and its green surroundings, but toward the wilderness, that one understands how Jerusalem got one of its earliest names, Zion, which comes from a word meaning desert. On the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives is Bethany, where a beautiful church marks the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha and where visitors can descend and emerge dramatically from the traditional tomb of Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead.

Throughout the ages the last wish of many Jews was to be buried on this site. Tradition has it that the Messiah will bring about the resurrection of the dead from this spot.

Garden of Gethsemane

Visitors to of the Garden of Gethsemane are amazed when they learn that the gnarled olive trees they see could have been young saplings when Jesus came here with the disciples on that fateful night after the Last Supper. Today the ancient trees rise from manicured flower beds; in Jesus’ time this would have been an olive grove where an olive-oil press – gethsemane in Greek – was located.

The impressive Church of All Nations, built in the 1920s over earlier churches, relates the events of this place in brilliantly detailed floor-to ceiling mosaics: Jesus praying alone; Judas’ betrayal of Jesus; the cutting off of the ear of the High Priest’s servant.

EGGED’S CIRCLE LINE BUS NO. 99

Take a panoramic tour of Jerusalem’s main attractions, while riding in a double decker bus. During the tour, it is possible to get off and on the bus, without limitation, at any of the 28 stops. The tour lasts for 2 hours. Explanations are given in 8 languages through individual earphones. The Circle Line departure point is from the central bus station or at the Jaffa Gate.  Phone: *2800 or http://www.city-tour.co.il

City of David Tours

Pass through the underground tunnels through which the city was conquered and residents fled. Go down to the hidden spring where kings were coronated. Walk in illuminated darkness through the water of Hezekiah’s Tunnel, where water has flowed since the time of the prophets. Join the mysterious, magical journey between ancient shafts, walls and fortresses at the City of David, the place where Jerusalem was born.

City of David Segway Tour click here

Museums

For CNN’s list of top 10 Israeli museums click here

The Israel Museum & Shrine of the Book (check with Abby – she may have some free passes)

The Israel Museum is acknowledged to have the finest and most extensive collection of Judaica in the world.  It is also home to the Dead Sea Scrolls – the rarest of all biblical manuscripts known to man.  The museum has a very special section for children. A recent addition is the Model of Ancient Jerusalem, a miniature construction of the city from the Second Temple period.

Sun, Mon, Wed, Thu 10:00-17:00, Tue 16:00-22:00, Fri 10:00-14:00, Sat 10:00-16:00.  Buses 9, 17, 24.   Tel. 670 8811 or www.imj.org.il

Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum (free)

Yad Vashem has been entrusted with documenting the history of the Jewish people during the Holocaust period, preserving the memory and story of each of the six million victims, and imparting the legacy of the Holocaust for generations to come through its archives, library, school, museums and recognition of the Righteous Among the Nations.  Sun-Wed 09:00-17:00, Thurs 09:00-20:00, Fri 09:00-14:00. Free guided tours.  Buses 13, 17, 18, 20,  Tel. 644-3400  www.yadvashem.org

The Bible Lands Museum http://www.blmj.org/en/index.php

Herzl Museum (need reservations in advance) http://www.herzl.org/English/

 

Swimming Pools

King David Hotel (check with Abby – she may have some free passes)

The Inbal Hotel (check with Abby – she may have some free passes)

YMCA

The Jerusalem Pool on Emek Refaim

 

Music Events

Mormon University Concerts

The concerts are free, and the setting extraordinary -looking out at the Old City of Jerusalem. And what a choice of music! The center is located on Mount Scopus. The programs vary. Sunday evenings are devoted to the classics, and include performers from the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. Folk music and jazz are offered on Thursday nights. If you’re interested, ask Abby for a free ticket!

The Jerusalem Theater

The Yellow Submarine

 

Tour Guides

Natan Shapira – shatour@netvision.net.il; 0505383020

Gary Heller (US, from Da Bronx) 0505803158

Helen Cohn-(UK) 0543081150

Janet Moshe- (US, North Carolina) 0546334525

Eva Yaron (Swedish, Norwegian, English)  0522280555

Claudine Rudel (French): rudelk@netvision.net.il 026782369

Max Blackstone (Italian, English); maxgo1@yahoo.com 0544708290;       israelyoudidntknow.com

Shraga Solomon (US, Chicago) 0527703422

Dvir (English, Hebrew) – 050-970-0480

 

Outside Jerusalem

Egged Tours offers organized day tours all over the country – Dead Sea area including Ein Gedi and Masada, the North of the Country including Sea of Galilee, Caesarea, Haifa, Akko and more. Give them a call at 1-700-70-75-77 or check their website http://www.eggedtours.com

The Dead Sea is a popular tourist site that you can visit without a group tour. Egged buses go several times a day from Sunday – Thursday, but we recommend that you take your first weekend in Israel to visit it, either by driving down in a rental car, or by reserving an Egged Tour in advance for Friday or Saturday.

Other great tourist spots include:

Ein Gedi

Mineral Beach

Masada

Mini Israel

Hans Sternbach winery – Emek HaEla (German owners)

Beit Guvrin caves

Better Place Visitor Center Tel Aviv (Electric Cars)

Pi Glilot compound Ramat Hasharon Tel Aviv, Israel
Phone: 073-7777222

Bauhaus Tour, Tel Aviv –The Bauhaus Center specializes in tours of Tel Aviv’s “White City” Bauhaus Architecture. The tours are given by licensed guides and experts who will lead you to explore the city’s most worthy gems. For English speakers, there is a tour every Friday at 10:00 am.
99 Dizengoff st., Tel Aviv, 64396
Phone: (+972) 3: 522: 02: 49
E-mail: info@bauhaus-center.com

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