Would you look at that – a big smiling building welcoming you to some Jerusalem posts! After TLV Jerusalem is probably the most known/famous city in Israel. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and has a ton of history. I think what makes it quite fascinating is that various religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) all consider it a holy city. It makes for the sites, mix of people and atmosphere to be very unusual and unique. I am a big fan of Jerusalem and love visiting for a few days when I can. In terms of transport, it has good buses and a light rail to the major highlights. There are a few hostels but hotels aren’t that expensive and if you’re nice maybe you can bag yourself an upgrade! Just be cautious as it is a controversial city and crime/danger is on the rise.
To kick things off let’s go shopping! Mahane Yehuda is one of the biggest, bustling markets in the city. Its’ focus is groceries and items like fruits, vegetables, baked goods etc. Many tourists flock here but there are also a ton of locals trying to grab a good deal. Unlike other shuks in Israel, this one is pretty clean and makes for an enjoyable experience. The maze of alleyways isn’t too claustrophobic and the free samples beat any Walmart or Costco.
The Israel Museum is considered one of the best museums in the country. It houses a lot of significant Jewish art/culture and a large art collection. It’s more a campus with several buildings, a sculpture garden and different workshop centres. I really enjoyed seeing how Jewish people from around the world engage with the religion and their daily lives. You can see what people wear, different menorahs and mock-ups of synagogues from around the world. I went on their late night opening and it wasn’t too busy. To get there you can either grab a bus or walk (it’s just through the park).
I am not normally a zoo person but figured it was worth a teeny mention. The unique factor is that they have a ‘Noah’s Ark’ section with all the animals mentioned in the bible (they have more than two of each but you get the jist). The zoo is nicknamed ‘the biblical zoo’ and there is a physical ark that houses a cafe and research centre.
Yad Vashem is the official holocaust memorial and research/document centre in Israel. It is a little out of Jerusalem and I took the light rail to the last stop and walked from there. The site is free and welcomes millions of visitors each year. You aren’t allowed to film or take photos (and honestly I wouldn’t of wanted to). It is a really overwhelming place and doesn’t take a back seat or try to hide the truth. Some of the footage they’ve gathered is truly gruesome and put my stomach in knots. Seeing fields of bodies being pushed around by a bulldozer still haunts my mind writing this. From the entrance you walk through exhibits telling the history from beginning to end. The whole place is immaculate and beautifully created with such detail. I was there for several hours and still didn’t see everything. Read other people’s reviews on TripAdvisor or Yelp as I don’t think I’m explaining it that well, I’m still a little shocked by it.
To end this post on a lighter note, I just think this store looked really funny. I imagined a Superman/Rabbi hybrid haha. Second part coming in a few days featuring the Old City!