About Jerusalem

Jerusalem (/dʒəˈruːsələm/; Hebrew: יְרוּשָׁלַיִם Yerushaláyim; located on a plateau in the Judean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, is one of the oldest cities in the world.

During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times. The oldest part of the city was settled in the 4th millennium BCE. In 1538, walls were built around Jerusalem under Suleiman the Magnificent. Today those walls define the Old City, which has been traditionally divided into four quarters—known since the early 19th century as the Armenian, Christian,Jewish, and Muslim Quarters. The Old City became a World Heritage site in 1981, and is on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Modern Jerusalem has grown far beyond its boundaries.

All branches of the Israeli government are located in Jerusalem, including the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), the residences of the Prime Minister and President, and the Supreme Court. Jerusalem is home to the Hebrew University and to the Israel Museum with its Shrine of the Book. The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo has ranked consistently as Israel’s top tourist attraction for Israelis.

The form Yerushalem or Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) first appears in the Bible, in the book of Joshua. According to aMidrash, the name is a combination of Yhwh Yir’eh (“God will see to it”, the name given by Abraham to the place wherehe began to sacrifice his son) and the town “Shalem”.

Shalim or Shalem was the name of the god of dusk in the Canaanite religion, whose name is based on the same root S-L-M from which the Hebrew word for “peace” is derived (Salam or Shalom in modern Arabic and Hebrew). The name thus offered itself to etymologizations such as “The City of Peace”, “Abode of Peace”, “dwelling of peace” (“founded in safety”), alternately “Vision of Peace” in some Christian authors. The ending -ayim indicates the dual, thus leading to the suggestion that the name Yerushalayim refers to the fact that the city sits on two hills. However, the pronunciation of the last syllable as -ayim appears to be a late development, which had not yet appeared at the time of the Septuagint.

The most ancient settlement of Jerusalem, founded as early as the Bronze Age on the hill above the Gihon Spring, was according to the Bible named Jebus. Called the “Fortress of Zion” (metsudat Zion), it was renamed by David as theCity of David, and was known by this name in antiquity. Another name, “Zion”, initially referred to a distinct part of the city, but later came to signify the city as a whole and to represent the biblical Land of Israel. In Greek and Latin the city’s name was transliterated Hierosolyma (Greek: Ἱεροσόλυμα; in Greek hieròsἱερός, means holy), although the city was renamed Aelia Capitolina for part of the Roman period of its history.

erusalem is situated on the southern spur of a plateau in the Judean Mountains, which include the Mount of Olives (East) and Mount Scopus (North East). The elevation of the Old City is approximately 760 m (2,490 ft). The whole of Jerusalem is surrounded by valleys and dry riverbeds (wadis). The Kidron, Hinnom, and Tyropoeon Valleys intersect in an area just south of the Old City of Jerusalem. The Kidron Valley runs to the east of the Old City and separates theMount of Olives from the city proper. Along the southern side of old Jerusalem is the Valley of Hinnom, a steep ravine associated in biblical eschatology with the concept of Gehenna or Hell. The Tyropoeon Valley commenced in the northwest near the Damascus Gate, ran south-southeasterly through the center of the Old City down to the Pool of Siloam, and divided the lower part into two hills, the Temple Mount to the east, and the rest of the city to the west (the lower and the upper cities described by Josephus). Today, this valley is hidden by debris that has accumulated over the centuries. In biblical times, Jerusalem was surrounded by forests of almond, olive and pine trees. Over centuries of warfare and neglect, these forests were destroyed. Farmers in the Jerusalem region thus built stone terraces along the slopes to hold back the soil, a feature still very much in evidence in the Jerusalem landscape.

Water supply has always been a major problem in Jerusalem, as attested to by the intricate network of ancient aqueducts, tunnels, pools and cisterns found in the city.

Jerusalem is 60 kilometers (37 mi) east of Tel Aviv and the Mediterranean Sea. On the opposite side of the city, approximately 35 kilometers (22 mi) away, is the Dead Sea, the lowest body of water on Earth. Neighboring cities and towns include Bethlehem and Beit Jala to the south, Abu Dis and Ma’ale Adumim to the east, Mevaseret Zion to the west, and Ramallah and Giv’at Ze’ev to the north.

Mount Herzl, at the western side of the city near the Jerusalem Forest, serves as the national cemetery of Israel.

The city is characterized by a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa ), with hot, dry summers, and mild, wet winters. Snow flurries usually occur once or twice a winter, although the city experiences heavy snowfall every three to four years, on average, with short-lived accumulation. January is the coldest month of the year, with an average temperature of 9.1 °C (48.4 °F); July and August are the hottest months, with an average temperature of 24.2 °C (75.6 °F), and the summer months are usually rainless. The average annual precipitation is around 550 mm (22 in), with rain occurring almost entirely between October and May. Jerusalem has nearly 3,400 annual sunshine hours.

Most of the air pollution in Jerusalem comes from vehicular traffic. Many main streets in Jerusalem were not built to accommodate such a large volume of traffic, leading to traffic congestion and more carbon monoxide released into the air. Industrial pollution inside the city is sparse, but emissions from factories on the Israeli Mediterranean coast can travel eastward and settle over the city.

Although Jerusalem is known primarily for its religious significance, the city is also home to many artistic and cultural venues. The Israel Museum attracts nearly one million visitors a year, approximately one-third of them tourists. The 20-acre (81,000 m2) museum complex comprises several buildings featuring special exhibits and extensive collections of Judaica, archaeological findings, and Israeli and European art. The Dead Sea scrolls, discovered in the mid-20th century in the Qumran Caves near the Dead Sea, are housed in the Museum’s Shrine of the Book.

Beside Israel Museum is the Bible Lands Museum near the The National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel, which includes the Israel Antiquities Authority offices. A World Bible Center is planned to be built next to Mount Zion on a place called: the Bible Hill. The planned World Kabbalah Center is to sit on the nearby promenade overlooking old city.

The Youth Wing, which mounts changing exhibits and runs an extensive art education program, is visited by 100,000 children a year. The museum has a large outdoor sculpture garden and a scale-model of the Second Temple. TheRockefeller Museum, located in East Jerusalem, was the first archaeological museum in the Middle East. It was built in 1938 during the British Mandate.

The national cemetery of Israel is located at the city’s western edge, near the Jerusalem Forest on Mount Herzl. The western extension of Mount Herzl is the Mount of Remembrance, where the main Holocaust museum of Israel is located. Yad Vashem, Israel’s national memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, houses the world’s largest library of Holocaust-related information. It houses an estimated 100,000 books and articles. The complex contains a state-of-the-art museum that explores the genocide of the Jews through exhibits that focus on the personal stories of individuals and families killed in the Holocaust. An art gallery featuring the work of artists who perished is also present. Further, Yad Vashem commemorates the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis, and honors the Righteous among the Nations.

The Museum on the Seam, which explores issues of coexistence through art, is situated on the road dividing eastern and western Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, established in the 1940s, has appeared around the world. The International Convention Center (Binyanei HaUma) near the entrance to city houses the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. The Jerusalem Cinemateque, the Gerard Behar Center (formerly Beit Ha’am) in downtown Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Music Center in Yemin Moshe, and the Targ Music Center in Ein Kerem also present the arts. The Israel Festival, featuring indoor and outdoor performances by local and international singers, concerts, plays, and street theater has been held annually since 1961, and Jerusalem has been the major organizer of this event. The Jerusalem Theater in the Talbiya neighborhood hosts over 150 concerts a year, as well as theater and dance companies and performing artists from overseas. The Khan Theater, located in a caravanserai opposite the old Jerusalem train station, is the city’s only repertoire theater. The station itself has become a venue for cultural events in recent years as the site of Shav’ua Hasefer (an annual week-long book fair) and outdoor music performances. The Jerusalem Film Festival is held annually, screening Israeli and international films.

The Ticho House in downtown Jerusalem houses the paintings of Anna Ticho and the Judaica collections of her husband, an ophthalmologist who opened Jerusalem’s first eye clinic in this building in 1912. Al-Hoash, established in 2004, is a gallery for the preservation of Palestinian art.

In 1974 the Jerusalem Cinematheque was founded. In 1981 it was moved to a new building on Hebron Road near theValley of Hinnom and the Old City.

Jerusalem was declared the Capital of Arab Culture in 2009. Jerusalem is home to the Palestinian National Theatre, which engages in cultural preservation as well as innovation, working to rekindle Palestinian interest in the arts. The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music sponsors the Palestine Youth Orchestra which toured the Gulf states and other Middle East countries in 2009. The Islamic Museum on the Temple Mount, established in 1923, houses many Islamic artifacts, from tiny kohl flasks and rare manuscripts to giant marble columns. 

In 2006, a 38 km (24 mi) Jerusalem Trail was opened, a hiking trail that goes to many cultural sites and national parks in and around Jerusalem.

In 2008, the Tolerance Monument, an outdoor sculpture by Czesław Dźwigaj, was erected on a hill between Jewish Armon HaNetziv and Arab Jebl Mukaber as a symbol of Jerusalem’s quest for peace.

Jerusalem has traditionally had a low-rise skyline. About 18 tall buildings were built at different times in the downtown area when there was no clear policy over the matter. One of them, Holyland Tower 1, Jerusalem’s tallest building, is a skyscraper by international standards, rising 32 stories. Holyland Tower 2, which has been approved for construction, will reach the same height.

A new master plan for the city will see many high-rise buildings, including skyscrapers, built in certain, designated areas of downtown Jerusalem. Under the plan, towers will line Jaffa Road and King George Street. One of the proposed towers along King George Street, the Migdal Merkaz HaYekum, is planned as a 65-story building, which would make it one of the tallest buildings in Israel. At the entrance to the city, near the Jerusalem Chords Bridge and the Central Bus Station, twelve towers rising between 24 and 33 stories will be built, as part of a complex that will also include an open square and an underground train station serving a new express line between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and will be connected by bridges and underground tunnels. Eleven of the skyscrapers will be either office or apartment buildings, and one will be a 2,000-room hotel. The complex is expected to attract many businesses from Tel Aviv, and become the city’s main business hub. In addition, a complex for the city’s courts and the prosecutor’s office will be built, as well as new buildings for Central Zionist Archives and Israel State Archives. The skyscrapers built throughout the city are expected to contain public space, shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, and it has been speculated that this may lead to a revitalization of downtown Jerusalem.

What has not already been said about the holiest city in the world, the city that has been united, the eternal city first built thousands of years ago, whose history can be heard in the whispering of the wind along the walls, where every stone tells a wondrous story of a city that has drawn millions of faithful pilgrims for thousands of years. Such is Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, the only city in the world that has 70 names of love and yearning, the city that in old maps appears at the center of the world and is still adored like a young bride.

Jerusalem is a city of overwhelming emotions, a city that promises a religious and spiritual experience, excitement and pleasure, interesting tours and entertaining adventures. Here, alongside Jerusalem’s fascinating historic and archeological sites, there are amazingly modern tourist attractions for all lovers of culture, the arts, theater and music, architecture and gastronomic delights.

The Old City

Jerusalem’s heart is the Old City, which is surrounded by a wall and divided into four quarters – Jewish, Armenian, Christian, and Muslim. Inside the walls are the important holy sites of the three major religions: the Western Wall, which is holy to the Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. The Western Wall plaza is visited by millions of worshipers. Here, at the base of the massive wall that is a remnant of the Holy Temple, prayers are offered and notes containing heartfelt wishes are wedged between the crevices. 

Surrounding the Western Wall are other important Jewish sites – the 
Western Wall Tunnels, the unique Davidson Center, the Jewish quarter with its magnificent Cardo and David’s Citadel, towering proudly in its beauty. South of the Old City is the City of David, from which the ancient Can’anite and Israelite Jerusalem grew. This is a fascinating site with amazing findings that provide an unforgettable experience.

Apart from the holy places throughout the Old City, there are several charming sites that are well worth visiting. There is the wonderful market, which is one big sensual celebration. Here you can buy Armenian-style decorated ceramics, beautiful strings of beads, authentic clothing, embroidered cushions, colorful wool carpets, candles and amazing glassware, and countless different souvenirs. From the promenade along the tops of the Old City walls you can look out over the Old City and the New City. Tours along the walls are a wonderful night-time activity, too, when the city’s lights sparkle making the sights even more unforgettable. The Armenian Quarter has its own unique charm and is well worth visiting.
The construction of the new city’s Jewish neighborhoods began in the late 19th century. Some of the neighborhoods have retained their original picturesque charm, and wandering among the houses is a real pleasure. Some of these neighborhoods are Even Yisrael, the German Colony,Yemin MosheMe’a She’arim, Makhane Yisra’el, Nakhla’ot, Nakhalat Shiv’a, Ein Karem, Komemi’ut, Rekhavia, the Bukharian Quarter and the Ethiopian Quarter. There are many other interesting and unique sites from different periods throughout the city, such as Armon HaN​atsiv and the Promenade, Ammunition Hill, Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum, Mishkenot Sha’ananim, the Monastery of the Cross, Elias Monastery and theYMCA building. Among the more modern sites are the Supreme Court, the Israel Museum, the Biblical Zoothe KnessetMt. Herzl, Makhane Yehuda market, with its unparalleled variety of exciting sounds, colors, flavors and aromas.Young people who like to go out in the evenings will love Jerusalem’s main night life regions: the German Colony, the Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall, Nakhalat Shiv’a, Shlomtsiyon HaMalka Street, and the Russian Compound.

Museum lovers will be delighted to discover that Jerusalem is dotted with dozens of museums full of rich exhibits, such as the Israel Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Bloomfield Science Museum, Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Rockefeller Museum, the Bible Lands Museum, the Islamic Art Museum, the Old Yishuv Court Museum, the Armenian Muse​um and the Museum of Italian Jewish Art.

Children will enjoy the Time Elevator (an interactive, three-dimensional presentation on the history of Jerusalem), the spacious Biblical Zoo, Ein Ya’el – which offers workshops in Biblical arts and crafts, the Armon HaNatsiv tunnels, the beautiful botanical gardens and the hands-on interactive exhibits at the Bloomfield Science Museum.

Since Jerusalem is a city that has become home to people from many different faiths, traditions and ethnic groups, the city’s culinary culture offers something for everyone. Alongside Bohemian gourmet restaurants you will find eateries where the food is cooked slowly over ancient stoves, coffee shops with style, ethnic restaurants, fast food stands and bars that come to life in the evening hours. In addition to an abundant variety of dining opportunities, Jerusalem also has many different types of tourist accommodations, from luxury hotels to inexpensive youth hostels.

Jerusalem is a big place and can be divided up into districts:

  • The Old City and its Walls form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This tiny ancient city is home to holy sites for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and is truly breathtaking.
  • West Jerusalem is the indisputably Jewish-Israeli part of Jerusalem, also known as New Jerusalem; it is the modern commercial heart of the city, having become the focus for development in the capital from the time of the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 until the Six Day War in 1967.
  • East Jerusalem is, roughly, the Eastern side of Jerusalem, and is made of territory taken by Israel from Jordan during the Six Day war of 1967. It is now home to nearly 200,000 Jews while most of Jerusalem’s Muslim and Christian populations of approximately 250,000 have long lived here.
  • Me’a Shearim is the area of Jerusalem inhabited largely by ultra-Orthodox Jewish people, a place where modest dress is required. The area looks like an old Polish town from 1800.
  • The German Colony is a West Jerusalem neighborhood southeast of the city center. It’s a wonderful place to drink coffee and to eat in restaurants. You may hear more “Anglos” speaking English than Hebrew on these streets.
  • Ein Kerem is a (relatively) secluded neighborhood in West Jerusalem that maintains a village atmosphere. It is surrounded by picturesque hills dotted with olive and cypress trees, home to artists and sculptors who have opened numerous galleries. Several churches are built on the site believed to be the birthplace of John the Baptist. Before 1948, the site was an Arab village called ‘Ayn Karim and before that, the Jewish village of Beit HaKerem.

By plane

Israel’s main entry point for the international traveller, the newly built Terminal 3 at Ben Gurion International Airport (IATATLV), named after Israel’s first Prime Minister, is situated near Lod and next to the highway linking Tel Aviv and Jerusalem (highway no. 1).

The airport, referred to by locals as Natbag – its initials in Hebrew – comprises all the usual amenities expected from a first class airport and contains one of the world’s largest duty-free shopping malls for an airport of its size. Ben Gurion Airport acts as the base for El Al, Israel’s national airline, and is also served by over 50 international air carriers. Travel from the airport to the centre of Jerusalem takes 40-50 min and depending on traffic conditions often more. It is advisable to budget at least an additional 2 hours on top of your pre-flight check-in time to ensure timely arrival and completion of time consuming and exhaustive security procedures.

Security is extremely stringent at Ben-Gurion Airport, and is especially suspicious of travelers with Muslim names or visas from Islamic countries in their passports. Expect to be stopped and questioned for several hours if this is the case, both on the way in and on the way out. It would be wise to have some phone numbers of local contacts for security officials to call to verify your reasons for visiting. The airport prides itself in being one of the most secure in the world. It achieves this through a number of means. The most evident for travelers will be the pre-check-in security check. (Optional, should you go through it, you will be escorted to skip regular security check). On joining the queue for this security check, a security official will ask you several questions. Based on these (and what appears to be racial profiling) and a brief inspection of your passport, you will be assigned a number from 1 to 6. 1 signifies the lowest security concern and 6 the highest. Foreigners will typically get between a 3 and a 6. Age, appearance, stamps from Arab countries, evidence of visits to the Palestinian territory and other vague factors will be taken into account. Depending on the number you get (stuck on your passport and luggage), the security check is more or less thorough. Travelers who have visited the Palestinian territory will almost certainly receive a 5 or 6 (but this is not exclusive to this cohort; you can get 5 if you have never been to Israel before, and are of European descent). With a 5 or a 6, you can expect every single item of luggage to be taken from your bag and inspected in detail. Security officials have been known to check individual bank-notes. With a 6 (but sometimes even 5 if they have time), you can also expect to be taken to a cubicle and asked to remove your belt, shoes and have a personal inspection. If your clothes contain any metal that would set off a detector (such as studs in your jeans or a zip) even if plainly visible on the outside, you will be asked to remove the item of clothing. Travelers are regularly prevented from taking mobile phones, laptops and even shoes in their hand-luggage, although there is no consistency, with reports of one policy one week and another the next week. Arguing about such invasive checks is almost always fruitless and security reasons are the only ones that are ever cited. Though encouraging tourism, Israeli authorities would answer to criticism by irate travelers that Israel is not a usual destination, and that people who are looking for sun with no security checks should rather head to Canary Islands.

Many people choose to enter Jerusalem by flying to Queen Alia Airport in Amman, Jordan and entering at the Israeli-controlled Allenby Border Crossing in the West Bank. It takes approximately an hour to reach Allenby Crossing from Amman, and a half hour to reach Jerusalem from Allenby Crossing. There are frequent shared taxis parked outside the Allenby crossing that drive to Jerusalem.

Getting to and from Jerusalem. The ‘Nesher’ shared taxi service (☎ 972 2 623-1231 – Hebrew and English) is a 14-seater minibus that runs approximately hourly services to the airport – ₪61.80 one way per person. You must reserve your seat in advance by phone and you will be picked up from your hotel or a chosen location (they have been known to refuse to pick up from some East Jerusalem neighborhoods, so check with your hotel or take a taxi to the Jerusalem hotel where they normally pick up without a problem). Be on time – they don’t wait. You will be dropped at Terminal 3 in the airport. For the journey to Jerusalem, you will find them waiting outside the arrivals hall (they are signed from inside). Tell the driver where you want to be dropped. Again they should drop you at your hotel, but have been known to avoid parts of East Jerusalem. The rate is fixed, but it is worth double-checking as it has recently increased.

A private taxi to/from Jerusalem will cost around ₪150-200 (tourist map in Jerusalem quotes official flat price ₪197, however this is hard to reach, we was asked for about ₪300 to get the airport, and finally paid ₪250. Expect to go through Israeli check-point on the way (via Ramallah).

Alternatively, nearby Damascus Gate, there are shared taxis that run from Jerusalem to the Allenby Bridge Crossing relatively close to Amman, Jordan. Note: Jordanian tourist visas aren’t given at Allenby Bridge. Jordanian authorities require one to have a valid tourist visa before entering Jordan via Allenby Crossing (This is only applicable for Allenby Crossing because it is located in the Palestinian Territories, which used to be under Jordanian jurisdiction). If your previously obtained one-month tourist visa to Jordan has already expired, or you started your trip in Israel first, you can get a Jordanian visa at the Jordanian Embassies in Ramat Gan or Ramallah, otherwise, you can get a Jordanian tourist visa at the other border crossings located nearby in Beit Shean and Eilat).

Always check what terminal your flight goes from! T1 is for domestic flights to Eilat (all carriers) and low-cost flights. T3 is for all other international flights. Check it before you take the cab (cab driver will be no help in this). There is a free shuttle going between T1 and T3 several times an hour.

Expect your taxi to be stopped on the way to the airport – have your passports, tickets, and answers for some questions (how long have you been to Israel, where are you going…) ready.

The Egged bus service does not go directly from Jerusalem to the Terminal. You should take bus #947 to Airport City (Kiryat Sde Hateufa) and take a shuttle bus to the terminal (free in conjunction with a bus ticket).

The train does not run from Jerusalem to the airport.

By train

Jerusalem is connected to Israel Railway network, but the service, which follows the route of the 1892 Jaffa-Jerusalem line, is noted for its scenery rather than speed.

From Tel Aviv, you should take the train to Jerusalem, with stops en-route at Lod (where you can make connections to Beer Sheva,Ashkelon and Rishon LeZion), Ramla (currently the Ramla station is under construction, and the trains don’t stop there), Bet Shemesh, and arrive at Jerusalem’s Malkha train station, which is inconveniently located at the south of the city. The old train station in the city center is currently out of service. A few trains also stop at the Biblical Zoo station, but it is within walking distance from Malkha station.

Journey time from Tel Aviv Merkaz/Savidor station to Malkha station is about 1.30 hour. There’s one train per hour from 5.54 to 19.54 on weekdays, 5.25 to 14.25 (15.25 in summer) on Friday, 20.10 (22.10 in summer) on Saturday. Trains from Malkha depart on weekdays from 5.44 to 21.41 (the last one only as far as Lod), on Friday from 6.00 to 13.56 (14.56 in summer), on Saturday at 19.47 (21.47 in summer).

From the train station there are several buses to destinations in and around Jerusalem. To downtown take bus #4 or #18, and ask for “MerKaz Ha-ir” or for “Kikar Tzion” (Zion Square). To the central bus station, #5 is the fastest, though the #6 and #32 are alternatives. Taxis are also available.

A high-speed rail link connecting Jerusalem to Tel Aviv in half an hour and Ben Gurion Airport in 20 minutes is under construction and is scheduled to open in 2017. Its terminus will be an underground station (80m below surface) near the central bus station and Binyaney Ha’uma (convention center). Until then, use the train if you have plenty of time and want to see nice mountain scenery, but not if you are in a hurry.

By bus

At the moment, this is the fastest and most efficient way to travel to and from Jerusalem

Bus services to Jerusalem from Ben Gurion International Airport and most Israeli cities are frequent, cheap, and efficient. Egged is almost the only operator of intercity buses to/from Jerusalem, as well as the entire urban network. To check on these services look at its website[1] or dial *2800 from any phone.

Most intercity buses arrive at the Central Bus Station (CBS) (in Hebrew: Tahana Merkazit) located at the western edge of Jaffa street, at the main entrance to Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem Light Rail line has a station just outside the CBS that can link you to many other parts of the city (see Light Rail elsewhere in this article).

There are two direct buses to/from Tel Aviv, which the ride takes about one hour. They both cost NIS 18 each way, and a back and forth ticket (Halokh Vashov) will cost NIS 30.60. (Oct 2012) 405– Jerusalem CBS – Tel Aviv CBS – Runs between ~6AM – ~11:50PM. This line is suitable for southern Tel Aviv and the neighboring cities in the south. 480– Jerusalem CBS – Tel Aviv Arlozorov Terminal- Runs between ~5:50AM- ~11:50 PM. This line is suitable for Central Tel Aviv, and the terminal is adjacent to the Tel Aviv Savidor Train Station.

From the Central Bus Station it is a long but enjoyable walk (or short ride on the light rail) along Jaffa Road to the Shuk (the market) (~15 min) > city centre (~ 25 min) > Old City (~45 min).

Inter-city buses arrive and depart inside the station building, while City buses and the light rail stations are right in front of the CBS. When exiting the CBS, turn left to walk towards the city, or cross the street to find the city buses and the light rail. Finding your way when you leave the CBS for the first time can be a confusing experience, since there are almost no city maps around. There is a city map on the large square opposite the CBS, on the right side, towards Sederot Shazar.

NOTICE- Public transport does not run on the Jewish Sabbath and holidays – from half hour before sunset on Friday (or the day before the holiday) till Saturday night. Hours vary by the time of year – In December (winter solstice) Shabbat starts as early as 3.55PM and ends at 5.15, while in June (summer solstice) Shabbat starts as late as 7.10 and ends on 8.30. Do not take chances on Friday– If you need to get somewhere on time, give yourself at least a two hour clearence before shabbat.

By shared taxi

There are regular shared taxis running from the Allenby Bridge Crossing, situated nearby Jericho, that drive to Jerusalem. There are also private taxis outside of the terminal.

Public buses do not run during Shabbat (between sunset on Friday and sunset on Saturday, roughly speaking), during which your only option is a sherut (shared taxi). These depart from Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station and Ben Gurion Airport, and charge a small surcharge on top of the normal bus fare. As of mid-2012 a sherut costs ₪23 (₪28 at night, ₪33 at Shabbat) and drops you off downtown, not far from Zion Square. A sherut from the airport to anywhere in the city of Jerusalem costs about ₪62. The company offering the sherut service is called “Nesher”.

Shared taxis are also the best option if travelling from Jerusalem to Palestinian cities, especially Ramallah and Bethlehem. The main bus station (On Sultan Suleiman street, next to the Rockfeler Museum) serves the surrounding Palestinian towns and villages, including Abu-Dis (Line 36), and Bethlehem (Line 124), those buses are colored mostly in blue strips . Another bus terminal, on Nablus road (Straight on from the Damascus gate) serves Ramallah, other main Palestinian cities. There is a shared taxi direct to/from the Allenby bridge (The border crossing with Jordan), for ₪38 plus ₪4 (Dec 2011) per luggage (picking up from Al-Souq Al-Tijaree “The commercial souq” not far away from the main bus station).

There are no Israeli sherut lines within Jerusalem (unlike most Israeli cities). But there are sherut lines to Tel Aviv and Beit Shemesh as well as the airport.

The bus operator in the eastern Jerusalem is called Al-Safariat Al-Mowahadda “The united traveling service”. Note that the taxi is called “Moneet” in Hebrew, and called taxi in the Palestinian side. Both differ from the shared taxi, which runs fixed routes for many people like a bus. Moneet or Taxi is a private taxi.

Get around

By taxi

Cabs are plentiful in the city of gold, but be warned as the drivers may try to rip you off by “taking the scenic route” or charging a fixed price instead of on the meter. Insist that the driver turns on the meter (Mo-neh) and you should have no problems.

By bus

NB: The description here refers solely to West Jerusalem (the jewish part). The Arab system of buses is based on two bus stations near Damascus Gate.

The most effective public transportation option is currently in the form of buses. Take into consideration that the intercity bus system is quite confusing, especially for a tourist. Even people living in Jerusalem their whole lives won’t be able to help you, if they aren’t familiar with the bus route you’re interested in using. This is caused by the lack of any official bus route maps, and to the fact that bus routes and numbers tend to change rapidly. Buses are run by “Egged” Company. Most buses are dark green, but you might see the older red and white buses too.

To use the bus, you pay the driver as you board the bus. All bus rides are at a fixed price of NIS 6.60 (Oct 2012), no matter how many stops you stay on for. You may pay in change or bills. Entrance to the bus is from the front door only, and exit is usually from the back door(s).

Once you pay the driver, a ticket will come out of the gray calculator next to the driver. You must take and keep the ticket, for proof to the conductor, which tends to come and check.

Many bus drivers have a very limited knowledge in English, so try to find someone else to help you when needed.

Notice The ticket you receive can be used for 90 minutes from the moment it’s produced. You may transfer with it to any intercity bus and the light rail as many times as you want, as long as you board the bus before the 90th minute, which is printed on the ticket.

The Jerusalem City Tour [2] (Bus #99), intended for tourists, does a loop of pretty much the whole city and costs ₪45 adults and ₪36 children for a one-day pass.

Below is a summarized overview of which bus to take to get from certain places to other places. Printing this list, and the map, will be very helpful.

  • Central Bus Station
    • Buses towards the city leaving directly in front of the CBS (going left / east)
      • 1 to Kotel HaMa’aravi: CBS – Sarei Yisrael – Malchei Yisrael (Geulah) – Meah Shearim – Shaar Shechem (Damascus Gate) – Kotel HaMa’aravi (Western Wall)
    • Buses away from the city leaving directly in front of the CBS (going right / west)
      • 7 to Har Chotzvim: Kiryat Mattersdorf – Sorotzkin – Kiryat Tzanz – Ezrat Torah – Har Chotzvim
    • Buses towards the city leaving from Sederot Shazar (the main road across from the CBS; cross under the road through the tunnel) (going left / east)
      • 11 to Ramat Shlomo: CBS – Machaneh Yehudah – HaNevi’im (Bikur Cholim hospital) – Strauss (Geulah) – Yechezkel – Shmuel HaNavi – Golda Meir – Ramat Shlomo
      • 15 circle bus: CBS – Sarei Yisrael – Malchei Yisrael (Geulah) – Meah Shearim – Shaar Shechem (Damascus Gate) – Yaffo (municipality offices, central post office) – Kikar Tzion – Strauss (Bikur Cholim hospital) – Malchei Yisrael (Geulah) – Sarei Yisrael – CBS – Givat Shaul – Har Nof
      • 35 to Ramot: CBS – Machaneh Yehudah – HaNevi’im (Bikur Cholim hospital) – Strauss (Geulah) – Yechezkel – Shmuel HaNavi – Golda Meir – Ramot
  • Other Routes
    • 1: CBS – Sarei Yisrael – Malchei Yisrael (Geulah) – Meah Shearim – Shaar Shechem (Damascus Gate) – Kotel HaMa’aravi (Western Wall)
    • 2: Har Nof – Givat Shaul North – Hamag – Kiryat Mattersdorf – Sorotzkin – Kiryat Tzanz – Ezrat Torah – Golda Meir – Shmuel HaNavi – Shaar Shechem (Damascus Gate) – Kotel HaMa’aravi (Western Wall)
    • 7: Kiryat Mattersdorf – Sorotzkin – Kiryat Tzanz – Ezrat Torah – Har Chotzvim
    • 11: Har Nof – Givat Shaul North – CBS (Shazar) – Machaneh Yehudah – HaNevi’im (Bikur Cholim hospital) – Strauss (Geulah) – Yechezkel – Shmuel HaNavi – Golda Meir – Har Chotzvim – Ramat Shlomo
    • 15 circle bus: Har Nof – Givat Shaul North – CBS (Shazar) – Sarei Yisrael – Malchei Yisrael (Geulah) – Meah Shearim – Shaar Shechem (Damascus Gate) – Yaffo (municipality offices, central post office) – Kikar Tzion – Strauss (Bikur Cholim hospital) – Malchei Yisrael (Geulah) – Sarei Yisrael – CBS (Shazar) – Givat Shaul North – Har Nof
    • 16: Bayit VeGan – Yefeh Nof – Kiryat Moshe – Givat Shaul North – Hamag – Kiryat Mattersdorf – Sorotzkin – Kiryat Tzanz – Hannah – Bar Ilan – Sanhedria – Golda Meir – Har Chotzvim – Ramot
    • 18: CBS-Yaffo-David HaMelech-Derech Beit Lechem-Emek Refaim-Yochanan Ben Zakkai-Yossi Ben Yoezer-Kanei HaGalil-Yehudah HaNasi-Yaakov Pat-Kenyon Malcha
    • 21: replaces the 14 into Talpiot
    • 29: Har HaMenuchot – Givat Shaul Commercial Area – Givat Shaul North – CBS (Shazar)
    • 35: Har Nof – Givat Shaul South – CBS (Shazar) – Machaneh Yehudah – HaNevi’im (Bikur Cholim hospital) – Strauss (Geulah) – Yechezkel – Shmuel HaNavi – Golda Meir – Ramot
    • 38: Jewish Quarter Parking lot – Yafo Street – Davidka Square – Yafo Street – Jewish Quarter Parking lot.

“Fast Lines” These are new and modern buses which cut though the city vertically.

    • 71, 72: Gilo- Derekh Hevron- King George- Straus- Ramot.
    • 74, 75: Har Homa- Derekh Hevron- King George- The Shuk- CBS- Har nof

Note Buses in Jerusalem (Egged) do not run on Shabbat (30 minutes before sunset on Friday until at least 30 minutes after sunset on Saturday), nor on other religious holidays. That doesn’t apply for Al-Safariiat Al-Moahaddih. This list is incomplete

By light rail

The Jerusalem Light Rail line opened on 19 August 2011. It links the north-eastern neighborhoods to the south-western neighborhoods, runs along the western side of the Old City, and passes through the city center. Additional lines are planned to be constructed later.

The light rail runs past many areas of interest to tourists: Damascus Gate station close to the Old City gate of that name; City Hall station (Saffra square) which is close to the Jaffa Gate of the Old City; King George V station which is close to Ben Yehuda street; the light rail station just outside the Jerusalem Central Bus Station; the Mahane Yehuda station at the main markets which are the largest in Israel, and there are also numerous food stalls offering local cuisine. The tram line runs along Yaffo Street (also referred to as Jaffa Street) which has many interesting cafes and shops in the portion of Yaffo/Jaffa Street that lies between City Hall station and King George V station. At the southern end of the light rail line, at the Mount Herzl station, are Yad Vashem holocaust museum as well as Mount Hertsel national cemetry where famous citizens, prime ministers and Israeli soldiers have been buried.

As of 1 December 2011, the ticket price is ₪6.60 with a 90 minute transfer that it is valid for the light rail and the bus system.

The light rail service ceases a few hours before Shabbat on Friday afternoon, and starts up a few hours after the end of Shabbat on Saturday night. The regular travel times on other days of the week can be found at the light rail website (citypass.co.il) which can be found at the official website of the Jerusalem Light Rail.

The roads on which the tram line runs are half taken up by the tram lines, so cars must travel in single lanes in the remaining half of the road. This means that travel by car along these roads, shared by the tram, can be quite congested – in particular, Yaffo street (or Jaffa Street), which has parts that are exclusively used by the light railway.

Note that if asking locals where is the nearest station of the Jerusalem Light Rail, note that some people refer to it as the “train station” or “tram station”.

By foot

Much of Jerusalem is walkable (check before going) and is pleasant to walk. The humidity level of Jerusalem is much lower than most cities in Israel, but you must remember the city is built on mountains- and you might have to climb some steep ascents. Some of the neighborhoods are a bit distant, so make sure to check on Google Maps the distance before you go. The Old City has to be toured by foot, not only because it is more impressive this way, but also because many of the lanes and alleyways are inaccessible to cars.


By bike

Bike rentals are available at the abraham-hostel 67 Hanevi’im street, Davidka square, as well as at Bilu Bikes, 7 Bilu Street ([3]) for a guided Bike tour WWW.BIKEJERUSALEM.COM Cycling in Jerusalem is probably the best way to see the city, recommended by many past travelers, Lonely Planet and Tripadvisor  ; this is a way to see the real Jerusalem. This 3-5 hour tour covers most of Jerusalem’s historical neighborhoods, including many places that most visitors never get to see. The tour includes, The Israeli Parliament, The valley of the Cross, “Rehavia” and “Talbia”, The German Colony, “Mishkanit Shananim”, Jaffa Gate the Russian Compound and “Nachlaot”, to name only a few. The ride goes through side streets, short cuts and allies, known by few other than our expert guides. Despite the hills around Jerusalem, the ride in the city is not as hard as people tend to think, and the ride can be modified to suite families and inexperienced riders.

The Jerusalem Night ride includes an unforgettable ride through the empty streets of the 3000 year Old City.


Jerusalem has an amazing array of attractions for the traveler to see. The following are some of the must-sees. For more attractions see individual district articles. Old city attractions (such as Way of the Cross)and suggested tour routes can be found on the Interactive Jerusalem Map [4]

  • The Israel Museum [5] is the largest museum in Israel. The Museum contains the “shrine of the book” where the dead sea scrolls are kept. It also has a large scale model of Jerusalem in ancient times. It has large archeology and art sections that were renovationed and reopened in 2010. Entrance fee is ₪45.
  • Yad Vashem [6] is Israel’s Holocaust museum. There is no fee to enter but tours can cost about ₪30. Children under ten are not allowed to enter the museum proper but they go to other areas.
  • The Garden Tomb [7] on Nablus Road, East Jerusalem marks what many believe is the location of Calvary and the tomb of Jesus. The tomb is located in a lush big garden which is a good break away from the hustle and bustle of East Jerusalem. Must do, but only open in the afternoons.
  • The Biblical Zoo is one of Israel’s most popular tourist sites, in West Jerusalem
  • Visit the Belzer Rebbe’s tish on Friday night in Charedi Jerusalem (men only!) or just wander around Ultra Orthodox neibourhood of Mea Shearim in decent attires
  • Yemin Moshe the first modern neighbourhood outside the Old Town, a beautiful cluster of small cobbled streets
  • Old City — the atmospheric historical core of Jerusalem surrounded by Ottoman period walls, filled with sites of massive religious signficance and a bustling approach to life. (Please note that sites are often specific to one religion, being used by adherents of a particular religion for worship or exhibits, and some sites, particularly Islamic ones, may bar nonmembers from entry or praying on the grounds.)
  • The Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Christian) [8] is the end of the Via Dolorosa (Way of the sorrows) in the Christian quarter of the Old City. It is the most holy Christian spot in the world. The first church on the site was built by Queen Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine, the Holy Sepulchre is Jerusalem’s number 1 site for Christian pilgrims and is consequently horribly crowded. Expect to queue for an hour or more to enter the tiny tomb chamber.
  • The Temple Mount (Jewish/Muslim) is in the Old City of Jerusalem, and it is important to both Jews and Muslims, to the extent that ferocious international disputes have arisen over it. The Temple Mount is the third most important site in Islam (and the most important in Judaism), and it is a showcase for Islamic architecture and design from the Umayyad to Ottoman times. (Jewish construction dating from Roman times and before can also be found at the site and in the vicinity.) Jews often pray at the Western Wall (Hakotel Hamaaravi) in the Old City on the side of the Temple Mount, which is part of the outer retaining wall of the Temple, built 2000 years ago. The Temple Mount also continues as an important religious and educational centre for Muslims to the present. It is crowned by the magnificent Dome of the Rock, which stands on or near the site of the ancient Jewish Temples. It is accessible at only specific times which you should find out in advance. Encompassing over 35 acres of fountains, gardens, buildings and domes, the Temple Mount houses the following Islamic landmarks:
  • Al-Aqsa Mosque (The Far Mosque) is the point from where the prophet of Islam, Mohammad, is believed to have ascended to heaven.
  • Qubbat Al-Sakhra (Dome of the Rock) located in the middle of the sanctuary opposite of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, is probably the most known landmark of Jerusalem with its golden dome and octagonal blue walls that are adorned with Arabic calligraphy of Koranic verses. The interior of both the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque are closed to non-Muslims, however, the plaza that they are situated in is open to the public. The Dome of the Rock is also labelled the most amazing Islamic building in the world.
  • Entrance into the mosques on the Temple Mount is granted if a Muslim man/woman asks the guard of the mosques for entrance (they usually ask you to recite a well known Quranic verse to prove you are a Muslim). For others (such as journalists, ect) who wish to enter the Muslim sites for media purposes, ect write to the Director of the Islamic Waqf via the following address:
Director of the Islamic Waqf
Islamic Waqf Council
P.O. Box 19004
Jerusalem, Israel
In the request, make sure to include your nationality, some information about yourself (ex. your occupation), and the reason why you want to enter the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosqe. Do not refer to the Temple Mount by its English name; refer to it as “Haram-el-Sharif”.
  • The Jewish quarter in the Old City was completely re-built in 1969 after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It still holds many ancient masterpieces such as the Cardo (700 BC), Burnt House (70 AD), and Western Wailing Wall (50 BC). All of which are among the most holy Jewish sites in the world. Definitely worth a visit, especially the western wall. The Jewish Quarter also includes The Western Wall Tunnel and the archaeological park at Davidson Centre (the Ophel). Also interesting are The Hurba Synagogue andThe Herodian Quarter.
  • Via Dolorosa – passing through Bethesda (crusader church and Roman excavations), Franciscan Archaeological Museum andLes Seurs de Sion Monastery with its underground Roman Street.
  • Damascus Gate is the most elaborate one. The vegetable market borders it. It is also near Jaafar – Jerusalem most renowned sweets store.
  • Just outside Damascus Gate you can visit Hezekiah’s Tunnel and Rockefeller Archaeological Museum as well as The Garden Tomband The Tomb of the Kings
  • Lady Tunshuq Palace and Tomb
  • The Indian HospiceThe Austrian HospiceThe Armenian Hospice
  • Syriac ChurchMaronite Church
  • The Armenian Cathedral and Museum
  • The Tower of David (Citadel) at Jaffa Gate, the museum of town history
  • Murestan Square with the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer
  • Mount of Olives with numerous monuments including: Kidron Valley MonumentsMaria’s TombThe Ascension ChapelDomini Flevit ChurchChurch of All NationsTombs of the ProphetsJewish CemeteryPater Noster ChurchThe MuscoviyaThe Tomb of Lazarus (in Al Eizariya village at the south-eastern slope of the Mount of Olives)
  • Hass Promenade — Amazing view of the old city and environs, especially at sunset
  • Zion Mountain with several monuments including: Hagia Maria Sion Abbey (Dormision Church)Schindler’s TombChamber of the Holocaust (Martef HaShoah)David’s Tomb 


Most hotels will provide tours. Bus # 99 provides an orientation to the whole city and can provide a perspective of the city. It cost ₪60 for a 2 hour tour and ₪80 for all day tour. It starts at the Egged Central Bus Station. You can get on and off all day and is run and looks like the double-decker tour buses in London.

The Western Wailing Wall/underground is a tour that is well worth your time. The female guide there was well versed in the history of the wall and the explanation of the first two temples and the subsequent construction of the Dome of the Rock will create a great picture of the conflict between relevant cultures. A reservation should be made through your hotel. But individual walk-ins can sometimes be squeezed in.

The City of David water tunnels tour is interesting. It is located down the road from the Dung Gate (near the Western Wall), follow the signs. The tour lasts around 2 hours and starts with a description of the City of David. It culminates in a 25 minute walk through the water channel cut to bring fresh water into Jerusalem from a nearby spring. Sandals and a torch are required! The water is ankle deep for most of the tour.

Jerusalem is an amazing city for kids and kids events. Each museum runs special kids programs during the summer including Recycle workshops at the Israel Museum, Costumed tours of the Bible Lands Museum and the Museum of the Underground Prisoner. The Jerusalem Theater has a full schedule of kids theater and even opera. For a full list of kids events and attractions see www.funinjerusalem.com

For teens there is mini golf, segway tours, bowling, go karting, extreme sports, carpentry workshop and Kad V’Chomer (paint your own ceramics). Fun In Jerusalem also has a full list of swimming pools open to the public which come in handy during the hot summer months.

For people interested in the environment there is Eco Israel Tours, which offers visitors to Israel the opportunity to head off the beaten-path and to experience a side of Israel rarely seen by visitors and students. They expose groups first-hand to Israel’s natural beauty, as well as its living, breathing culture of innovation. Despite its challenges, Israel is a global leader in green solutions to environmental problems. Eco Israel Tours provides an interactive, dynamic experience of this exciting world within Israel by exploring contemporary challenges and solution such as water and energy. For more information or to sign up for a tour, contact Yonatan Neril, Eco Israel Tours director, at 973-433-3322 (US-line), 054-723-4973 (Israel-line), or by email at gemma@ecoisraeltours.com


Jerusalem offers a wide range of educational programmes, which include:

  • The Rothberg International School — part of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • Yad Vashem  runs a number of educational courses treating the subject of the Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
  • Al Quds Univeristy offers many different programs to foreign students, as well as special summer courses to improve your Arabic skills.
  • All Nations Cafe  organizes summer caravans where internationals can learn about the social, political and cultural aspects of life in and around Jerusalem.
  • AISH Hatorah Offers walk-in interactive discussions and lectures that cover topics such as: Being Jewish in today’s world, defining the major tenents in Jewish thought from a rational perspective, and exploring major themes and practices in Jewish spirituality.
  • Yeshiva Machon Meir  Address: 2 Hameiri Ave., Kiryat Moshe, Jerusalem 91340, Israel: Shiurim in weekly tora portion (parasha), religious rules (halacha), Jewish ethics (mussar). Jewish outreach. Instruction languages: Hebrew, English, Russian


Jerusalem is big on t-shirts of all shapes, colors and designs, often with good evidence of Jewish humour being present! If shopping in the Old City’s markets, where almost anything can be found, be prepared to haggle. You will get all sorts of beautiful and unique gifts here ranging from jewellary, bed covers, statues to spices. Judaica is also a popular choice of purchase. The Old City’s Jewish Quarter is particularly good for this, as is Mea Shearim, however, dress modestly. Outside the old city a very good shopping destination is the pedestrian mall at the Ben Yehuda street, the Mamilla pedestrian mall outside the old city and the Malcha mall. These malls are also good places to eat!


Jerusalem, being the multicultural city that it is, has food from all countries, cultures, and tastes. Besides the ubiquitous falafel stands, there is European, Ethiopian, Medditeranean, and Middle Eastern foods. There is also a large ranges in prices from the ritzy and exotic Emek Refaim to falafel stands centered around Machaneh Yehuda and the Central Bus Station. A good rule of thumb is to look for restaurants filled with Hebrew or Arabic speaking locals.

If you keep kosher Jerusalem will be a wonderful place to visit. In the Jewish sections of the city almost everything is kosher. However you should still check for the paper on the wall. The Jerusalem rabbinute issues Kashrut certificates that are good for 3 months at a time, and color coded. If you don’t see it displayed do not hesitate to ask the staff. If they don’t show you one its a good sign to move along. The certificate should be stamped “Basari” (meat) or “halavi” (Dairy) in Hebrew. The current certificates are cream colored with red print for dairy and pinkish-red for meat restaurants. These will be good until Sept 22 (Rosh Hashana) after that the rabbinute will put up new certifications. Note it is not unusual for it to take a few days to get the new certificate up. It is usually the policy of the Jerusalem rabbinute to not certify a chain store as kosher unless all the branches in the city of Jerusalem are kosher. For this reason McDonalds and some branches of Aroma in Jerusalem are not certified kosher. 

  • Ma’alot (maalot), 7 Ma’alot st (On king George st.),  +972-2-5004334, [19]. 12. Chef cuisine, by the cheff Gadi Yaari. A small place with a very nice wine and beer menu and exelent kitchen, probably the best steak that you can find in the city 60 nis.  


  • Burgers Bar. A small chain of stores, one can be found on Emek Refaim St. and another on Shamai St. (near Ben Yehudah St.) Kosher, also on French Hill, though they have sloppy service and questionable hygiene at busy hours
  • New Deli, Hillel St and Emek Refaim St. Kosher- 33 Hillel Street,


  • The Eucalyptus, The Artists Colony by the old city, biblical Israeli cuisine best known for its “shir hashirim (song of songs)” tasting menu. There is a view of the David citadel from the restaurant and the chefs are internationally acclaimed. Reservations recommended. Kosher.
  • Matameh Tziona, French Hill Town Center, Small family run restaurant. Hailed by university students as some of the best food in Jerusalem. Falafel, Shawarma, Schnitzel, and many other delicious dishes. open Sunday through Thursday, 10:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m. Kosher.
  • Shalom Felafel, 36 Bezalel Street, open Sunday through Thursday, 11:00 a.m.–8:30 p.m. Kosher.
  • Try me’orav yerushalmi (lit. “Jerusalem Mix”), a pita or laffa bread stuffed with a tasty mix of spices and grilled meats and chicken innards. One famous place is Steakiyat Hatzot, Agrippas St., near the Mahaneh Yehuda Market. Check out the photos on the wall.
  • Melech Shawarma, Agripas and King George. The best shawarma in Jerusalem by far. A real treat. And only ₪20 for one of them. Best deal all around. Kosher.
  • HaSabikh, past the Ben Yehuda midrachov on the right. Home to the tastiest Sabikh in the city, in pita made fresh at the restaurant.
  • Falafel Hamelech (Falafel King) at the intersection of King George and Aggripas st, right in the center of downtown. Cheap and fair. A falafel in pita with a soda will be ₪14. Be sure, however, to try your Falafel with “amba”, a mango-based condiment that you cannot get outside of the region easily! Kosher Rabbinute
  • Steakiat Tzidkiyahu Talpiot, Israeli “Steakiat” place, which is to say meat on skewers. About ₪45-60 per person but very good. Also they will fill your table with various Israeli salads and fresh bread. Amazing value! Kosher Mehadrin l’Mehadrin
  • From Gaza to Berlin (55 Gaza St, ) at the corner of Gaza St and Berlin St, with a second branch downtown. A small and friendly place selling hummus and falafel, has excellent Kube of different types.
  • Versavee [20] (just next to the Jaffa gate, next to the Imperial Hotel). A lovely bistro/cafe/bar. A pleasant atmosphere, good prices and the staff are friendly and all speak English. Try the local Palestinian beer called Taybeh – only ₪18. One of the nicest and cleanest cafes in the Old City. This small indoor/outdoor cafe/restaurant/bar is a nice spot for lunch, dinner or late night snack. The atmosphere is lively, the food very good, prices reasonable, service prompt and friendly. It is also one of the few eateries open at night in the Old City.
  • Azura Located in the Mahane Yehuda Market (it is hidden inside so ask around) Azura is one of the best places to try traditional Jewish middle eastern food. The prices are also very reasonable.
  • Rachmo A semi-cafeteria style restaurant on Ha’eshkol Street, just off of Agrippas Street, in the area of Mahane Yehuda Market. Rachmo is a great place to try traditional Jewish home cooking (mostly Middle Eastern Jewish) for a good price. It tastes great too.


  • Marvad Haksammim, King George St and Emek Refaim St. With its large serving sizes this is one of the best places for Yemenite food in the city. Be sure to try the Kuba soup (red, sweet, and spicy with round meat dumplings), Saluf (think large, thick, and crispy burritos), Shakshuka (poached eggs in tomato sauce), and Malawakh (doughy sweet pancake). Entrees are ₪15-40. Kosher.


Jerusalem is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.


There is plenty of nightlife in Jerusalem. For clubs, the best way is to have a “proteksya”, or connection with someone. This way of knowing someone who works at the door or a friend is the easiest and best way to have a great time in Jerusalem. In the way of a more laid-back alternative bar scene, crawl around the closely nestled joints centered around the corner of Heleni HaMaika and Monobaz.

  • Artel Jazz Club, Heleni Hamalka 9 (Russian Compound), [21]. Every night live jazz concert at 22:00. Great food. Good selection of beverages. Free Wireless Internet.  edit
  • Glen, Shlomtzion st. 18 (mamila area),  +972-54-9010076 (g@glen.co.il). hours. *<drink * <drink name=”HAOMAN 17″ address=”Rechov Haoman #17, Talpiyot Industrial Area” phone=”” email=”” fax=”” hours=”Open Thursday and Friday nights. Opens around 12:00AM, closes well after sunrise.” price=”Cover is ₪80-120″ url=””, HAOMAN is one of the top rated night clubs in the world. DJs from around the world entertain beautiful people into the morning hours with live house-techno music. The long line prefers well dressed, attractive people. Flashing a University ID helps you get through the crowd on a busy night. Go with friends, as the club in in an industrial area (not the safest place to be alone at night). Do not pick fights with regulars, as people have been assaulted in the past. The most fun Thursday night in Yerushalayim.  
  • Ha-Tipa, Hadekel 2 (Mahane Yehuda Market). Small neighborhood pub at the outskirts of the Ben-Yehuda Market. Very Cheap alcohol, good music and Photo gallery. closed on Friday night. 
  • Daila, Shlomtzion 4, Multi-cultural space for independent art and social change. 
  • Prague, Rivlin 6,  + (ratnerdaniel@gmail.com). 18:30 till the last customer. An east european bar restaurant offering some great etnic food together with big amount of draught beers and some exclusive attractions . 40-60. 
  • Birman (Musical Bistro), Dorot Rishonim ST (pedestrin mall, downtown Jerusalem),  +972-50-2990059. daily 19:00-late night. Musical Bistro – Live music every night. For art, music & good food lovers. Open daily 19:00 till late hours Friday 13:00 – Sabbath Closed on SAT. 
  • Izen Bar, Dereh Beit Lehem 7 (Old Train Station), (izenbar@gmail.com). IZEN Bar has for the past 3 years been the highest rated bar in Jerusalem. It’s open Thursday, Friday & Saturday (sometimes also earier in the week). It appeals to the crowd with it’s lovely enviroment.Outdoor area, a various numbers of DJ’s playing popular high beating tunes into the early morning. Also known for it’s happy atmosphere, entertainment of dancers, drummers, saxophonists +++ and different theme night’s. A delicious assortment of dishes & snacks is served all night. It’s recomendable to come early too avoid long lines. 
  • Angelica, Shatz 7 (any bus to king george street, exit at cafe joe),  (02) 623-0056. the only bar in jerusalem serving classic cocktails using freshly muddled fruits and vegetables. elegant atmosphere and the best drinks in town.  


Jerusalem is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.

The Old City has a diverse mix of small hotels, religious hospices and cheap hostels that might appeal to the traveller.

West Jerusalem has a blend of B&Bs, guesthouses, small hotels and large hotels – all the way up to 5-star accommodation, including the famous King David Hotel.

  • Jerusalem Gate Hotel, 43 Yirmiyahu St,  +972-2-5008500. Hotel located at the entrance to Jerusalem with bar, coffee shop and banquet halls. The cuisine is international with Glatt Kosher LeMehadrin Rabbinate Supervision. 


Jerusalem’s Old city boasts the cheapest accommodation, while some newly-built hostels operate in West Jerusalem.

  • Abraham Hostel Jerusalem, Haneviim 67 (From Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station, the Abraham Hostel is a 10 minute walk along Jaffa Street. Once you reach Davidka Square, the hostel stands in front of you on the left hand side of the road. The entrance is around the square, on Haneviim Street),  02 6502200. Located in the heart of Jerusalem’s city center, the Abraham Hostel offers 72 guest rooms, all with en-suite bathrooms and free wi-fi. All guests receive free breakfast and a free Old City walking tour. Dorms from ₪77, private rooms from ₪240.  
  • Jerusalem Hostel, 44 Jaffa Rd (From Jerusalem bus station walk along the Jaffa road to the left (toward Old City) where the railtrack lies),  02-6236102, . Clean hostel with a convenient central location on Zion Square. Dorm ₪80, private room starting from ₪230.  
  • The Dan Boutique Jerusalem Hotel, 31 Hevron Rd.,  03-5202552 (DanBoutiqueJerusalem@DanHotels.com). Cosy hotel, 15 minute walk from Jaffa Gate. 
  • Harmony Hotel Jerusalem, 6 Yoel Moshe Salomon Street (Nahalat Sheva). Single: 120$; Double: 140$. 
  • Jerusalem Inn, 7 Horkanos St.. Israeli buffet breakfast and free WiFi included in the price. All rooms have a private bath and toilet, a balcony, TV, airconditioning, mini-bar and a safe
  • Montefiore Hotel, 7 Shatz Street
  • Park Hotel, 2 Vilnay Street,. Close to Calatrava Railway Bridge, Park Hotel stands adjacent to modern Jerusalem’s International Convention Center (ICC Jerusalem) and is only a short walk from the Israel Museum, the Hebrew University’s Givat Ram campus, the Knesset (home of Israel’s Parliament) and the Government’s most important buildings. 
  • Ella Residence Suites Hotel, 21 Hadishon St.,  972-2-6781925 (ella.residence.hotel@gmail.com, fax: 972-2-6799989). checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Furnished suites. 180$. 
  • Capitol Hotel, Salah Eddin Street. 54 guest rooms. From US$99.
  • Crowne Plaza, Givat Ram (at the city’s entrance),  972-3-5390808. 
  • Rimonim Jerusalem, 24 Shachrai St, Bait Va’gan,  972-2-675-2222. 
  • Prima Kings, 60 King George St.,  972-2-620-1201 (kings@prima.co.il, fax: 157-2-620-1211). checkin: 14:00; checkout:1:00. Landmark at the heart of Jerusalem. 
  • Prima Royale, 3 Mendele Mocher Sfarim St.,  972-2-560-7111 (royale@prima.co.il, fax: 157-2-654-4393), [44]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 1:00. 
  • Prima Palace, 2 Pines St.,  972-2-531-1811 (palacl@prima.co.il, fax: 157-2-254-4388). checkin: 14:00; checkout: 1:00. 
  • JERUSALEM TOWER HOTEL (JERUSALEM TOWER HOTEL), 23 Hillel Street, Jerusalem 9458123,  +972-2-6209209(reservationjer@jthotels.com, fax: +972-2-6252167). The Jerusalem Tower Hotel is located in the center of Israel’s capital, making it a perfect focal point for tourists, business travelers and pilgrims alike.



  • The King David, 23 King David St.,  03-5202552 (kingdavid@danhotels.com) Probably the city’s most historic and most famous hotel. 
  • The American Colony, 1 Louis Vincent St.,  02-627-9777 (reserv@amcol.co.il). A picturesque building in East Jerusalem. Popular with diplomats.
  • Novotel Jerusalem, 9 Saint George St.. Not one of Novotel’s finest hotels, located a very short walk from the Wailing Wall. Some refurbishment is needed. Starting at $115/night with breakfast.
  • Mamilla Jerusalem Hotel, 11 King Solomon St.,  02-5482222 (fax: 02-5482220). A 5-star hotel located in the City Center near the Old City few minutes walk from Jaffa Gate, Tower of David and Alrov Mamilla Avenue. 
  • Grand Court Jerusalem Hotel, 15 Saint George St.,  972-2-591-7777. 442 rooms including family rooms and some especially designed for handicapped guests. 
  • The Inbal Jerusalem Hotel, Liberty Bell Park, 3, Jabotinsky St.,  972-2-675-6666, 1-877-443-7443. A five star hotel with 283 rooms and suites, a spa, pool and gym. 



The area code prefix for Jerusalem is: 02. Israel’s country code is: 972.

Public telephones take prepaid phone cards which can be purchased at post offices, shops and lottery kiosks. They are available in the following denominations: 20 units (₪13), 50 units (₪29), or 120 units (₪60). Calls made on Saturdays and Friday evenings are 25% cheaper than the standard rate.

Coin-phones (usually ₪1) are also available. Those are private “public phones”, owned and operated by shop owners.

For international calls prepaid cards can be bought from post offices, including the new VOIP calling card “x-phone”.


Israeli Post offices are available for service from 8 AM–12 PM and 2 PM–6 PM, Sunday through Thursday.

  • The central post office for West Jerusalem is located near the head of Jaffa Road, close to the municipality ofices. Open until 7 PM.
  • In the Old City, post offices can be found in the Armenian Quarter near the Jaffa Gate, diagonally opposite the Tower of David Museum, as well as the Jewish Quarter on Plugat Ha-Kotel near the Broad Wall.
  • A post office is in a small shopping mall on King George Street, immediately south of Jaffo street.

Israel uses the red British “pillar” mail boxes in some areas of Jerusalem, a reminder of the previous British Mandate.

[edit]Internet cafes

The most common price for internet cafes in Jerusalem is ₪15 per hour.

  • Cafe Net, 3rd floor (Departures) of the new Central Bus station (232 Jaffa Road), (contact@cafenet.co.il). 
  • Netcafe, 9 Heleni Hamalka Street, Russian Compound. Call for opening times, as these vary. Closed Shabbat. 
  • Ali Baba, Via Dolorosa, Old City. Free tea and coffee ₪6/hour. 

Note however that most hostels should offer free Wi-Fi.

[edit]Wireless Internet

There is now a wireless internet connection in some of the streets in Jerusalem. The service is free of charge and can be accessed in the center of the city (Nov. 2004). The streets are: Ben-Yehuda, Nahalat Shiva, Shlomzion Hamalka. There is also wireless internet in the food court of the central bus station and in most chain coffee shops. Free access is also available at the airport.

Alternatively, it is possible to buy an Internet modem stick from Orange or one of the other telcos. Typically a USB modem can cost around ₪700, and the monthly cost can be around ₪150. There are either monthly subscription plans, or pre-paid plans. Some Orange shops – because of their insistence on a requirement of having an Israeli ID – will not allow foreign tourists to sign up for the non-contract monthly subscriptions – but tourists are definitely able to purchase the pre-paid plans upon showing proof of identity such as a passport.

Stay safe

Explosive Souvenirs?
Due to high security levels throughout Israel, any unattended packages will be assumed to be explosive in nature and will be destroyed. Standard procedure requires that a bomb squad treat all such packages as live ordnance. A large majority of unattended packages turn out to be souvenirs that have been left by preoccupied or absent minded tourists.

Despite alarming news headlines, Jerusalem is safe for tourists. Street crime is nearly nonexistent, although pickpockets may work in crowds in the Old City.

There are, however, a few areas in the city where it is important to be mindful of one’s dress, religion, and time period visiting. Here are some guidelines:

  • Dress. When visiting any holy site or religious neighborhood one should dress modestly. For men this means long pants, a closed shirt with sleeves, and a head covering. For women, it means a skirt that falls below the knee, a shirt with elbow-length sleeves and no exposed cleavage or stomach. This applies to churches, mosques, and synagogues, as well as the Temple Mount (Noble Sanctuary) and Western Wall (the plaza by the Wall is essentially an open-air synagogue, and there are mosques on the Temple Mount). When in religious neighborhoods as well, such as Mea Shearim, it is advisable to follow these guidelines.
  • Religion. Although all of Jerusalem is accessible to members of all religions, there are some problems with religion-specific discrimination. The main issue involves Muslims and Jews, and the dispute is an old and very territorial one. It is not always safe for those obviously of the Islamic faith (e.g. wearing a hijab or kufi) to enter Jewish concentrated areas, especially on Sabbath, as well as those obviously of a Jewish faith (e.g. wearing a kipah) to enter Muslim concentrated areas, especially at night.
  • Time Non-Muslims are not allowed on the Temple Mount (Noble Sanctuary) during times of Muslim prayer. During Shabbat and Jewish holidays, one should not publicly use electronic devices or smoke in any synagogue, at the Western Wall, or in any ultra-Orthodox (“hareidi”) Jewish neighborhood. (Smoking is, otherwise, rather common in Israel, so nonsmokers should also be forewarned.) Driving in orthodox Jewish neighborhoods on Shabbat is disallowed and roads may be closed off. This also goes for most Jewish holidays. During Ramadan, eating, drinking or smoking in the streets of Muslim areas is culturally insensitive although tourists are rarely interfered with.

Due to the mixture of religions, tensions can sometimes be high. Avoid any confrontations between locals. Although extremely rare, some locals may carry xenophobic attitudes and ask foreigners to leave the area near their home. You have the right to see all of Jerusalem, but moving along to another area will resolve the situation.

Security checks can be frequent, especially when entering hotels, cinemas/theaters and shopping areas. It is wise to carry some identification.

On the whole, theft is not a large-scale problem. To minimize risk, however, normal precautions apply. Do not leave valuable objects inside a car or in full view in your hotel room. There are many ATMs throughout the city and credit cards are widely accepted, so there is no need to carry large amounts of cash.

Visitors may notice a large amount of military personnel on the streets of Jerusalem, especially around certain sites. Every citizen must perform military service in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) as soon as they reach the age of 18. Many servicemen and civilians carry firearms (handguns) in public. It was, in fact, an off-duty soldier who stopped the Palestinian terrorist driver of the tractor in the incident in July, 2008. There are always large concentrations of soldiers around bus stations, as they are usually on their way to or from their bases. when going to the Western Wall it is quite common to see soldiers praying. Sometimes you might see an Israel Defense Forces “swearing in ceremony” near the Western Wall. This is quite common because of the historical and religious importance the Western Wall has to the Jewish People.

As of 2007, bombings and other terror attacks have virtually ceased in Jerusalem, due to heightened and controversial security measures. Israeli strikes and Palestinian attacks are not major worries. Tourists have never been the target of attacks and most have occurred well away from tourist sites. Naturally it is important to remain vigilant and alert.

In the case of injury or incident, Police services can be reached by dialing 100. Ambulance services can be reached by dialing 101.



Most countries maintaining embassies in Israel keep them in nearby Tel Aviv.

  • Gr-flag.png Greece, 31 Rachel Immenu, Kattamon,  +972 25-619-583 (grgencon.jer@mfa.gr, fax: +972 25-610-325), [55]. M-F: 09:00-16:00.  
  • Us-flag.png United States, 14 David Flusser (Near the former Diplomat Hotel, now the Caprice Diamond Center),  +972 2 630-4000(JerusalemACS@state.gov, fax: +972-2-630-4070), 

Keeping your kids happy and entertained while on family vacation can be challenging, but Jerusalem has a wealth of child-friendly attractions and activities on offer. From ancient historical sites that appeal to all ages to some seriously good neighborhood parks, Jerusalem will keep your kids (and you) enthralled and amused.

Biblical Zoo

No visit to Jerusalem for families with kids is complete without a visit to Jerusalem’s unique Biblical Zoo.

The zoo conserves species mentioned in the Bible, as well as other endangered species from all over the world. In keeping with its conservation efforts, the zoo works to breed those species that have been driven out of their natural habitats in Israel and slowly reintroduce them into the wild. In total the zoo features over 170 species, including kiddie favorites such as lions, cheetahs, and crocodiles. There’s also a lovely petting zoo with goats, chickens and more, as well as a sculpture garden filled with more exotic creatures. Children (and adults) may enjoy the regular rain-rides through the massive grounds.

Address: 1 Derech Aharon Sholov, Jerusalem
Phone: +972-2-675-0111

Bloomfield Science Museum

With something on offer for all ages, the Bloomfield Science Museum makes the perfect family outing in Jerusalem. The museum is filled with original and creative interactive displays and exhibits that invite one and all to touch, experiment, get involved and have fun. There are various ongoing popular exhibits that should not be missed such as Footprints of Light that lets visitors try out the latest technology – light writing – using colored beams of light.

Families and kids can take guided tours on a daily basis or take part in arts and crafts workshops, science demonstrations and interactive performances on Saturdays. If you’re a family with a penchant for museums, you may want to spend a couple of hours here before heading to the nearby Israel Museum or Bible Lands Museum

Address: Museum Row, Jerusalem

Phone: +972-2-654-4888

The Israel Museum

Families with kids who enjoy museums will want to reserve a full day for The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, which is Israel’s largest cultural institution and considered one of the top ten museums in the world. The museum, which was renovated in 2010, is known for its Youth Wing that encourages learning and creativity in the young ones through hands-on workshops, exhibitions and activities.

The rest of the family won’t want to miss out on the famous Shrine of the Book, which houses many ancient manuscripts including the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple era. In addition, there are magnificent art and archaeological exhibitions on offer. Round the experience off with a souvenir from the stunning gift store as well as a light snack at the cozy coffee shop near the museum entrance.

Address: 11 Ruppin Boulevard, Jerusalem
Phone:  +972-2-670-8811
Get tickets

Mini Israel

Not a far drive from Jerusalem, Mini Israel in Latrun is a must for families with hundreds of life-like miniature models (most of them  lower  than seven inches) of nearly all of Israel’s most significant archaeological, historical and religious attractions. Kids and adults alike will appreciate the site of ancient buildings and all their intricate details reduced to miniature. You may want to consider visiting on Saturdays and holidays when the museum offers a wide range of activities for kids such as a multimedia room, simulator, craft corner, floor games and even a gymboree for toddlers. You’ll want to set aside at least a few hours for your visit.

Address: Latrun, Israel

Phone: 1-700-559-559

Bible Lands Museum

The Bible Lands Museum offers families with kids the opportunity to really delve into the history of the cultures of the Bible with thousands of artifacts on display from the Canaanite people, the ancient Egyptians, the Phoenicians, the Persians and the Philistines. The museum also houses models of ancient Jerusalem and the pyramids at Giza. Kids will enjoy the enriching and educational programs, workshops and tours on offer, including summer camps, activities for the holidays and bar/bat mitzvah tours. Many claim that no family vacation to Israel is complete without a journey through time at the Bible Lands Museum.

Address: 25 Avraham Granot St, Jerusalem

Phone: +972-2-561-1066

Ein Yael “Hands-on” Museum

The experiential Ein Yael Active Museum is a great day out and cultural experience for families with children in Jerusalem. Step back to Roman times with an old Roman street, ancient terraces and agricultural equipment, period actors and musicians, orchards and farm animals.

You’ll want to time a visit with one of the museum’s regular festivals, which include tours of the lovely gardens as well as kids’ creative workshops such as mosaics, paper-making, or pita-baking workshops. Situated across the road from the Biblical Zoo in Malha and not far from the Jerusalem Malha Mall, you can easily visit the zoo, indulge in some family retail therapy, or spend the day only at the museum soaking up the unique experience.

Address: Malha
Phone:  +972-2-645-1866

Tower of David Museum

The Tower of David (also known as David’s Citadel), located near to Jaffa Gate in the Old City, rests on the ruins of fortifications made by the Israelite, King David. The museum brings to life Jerusalem’s history and offers exciting changing exhibitions as well as plenty of workshops, story times, theatrical encounters, game stations, plays, tours and fun activities throughout the citadel for children of all ages. The whole family may enjoy exploring the citadel’s courtyard, which houses important archaeological ruins, some dating back almost 3,000 years. In particular, you’ll want to check out what’s on offer at the Tower of David if your family vacation overlaps with a major Jewish holiday like Passover, Purim, Hanukkah or Sukkot.

Address: Jaffa Gate, Old City
Phone: *2884
Buy tickets

Time Elevator

Parents who want to give their kids (over the age of 5) an overview of the history of Jerusalem in a fun, engaging way in under half an hour should not miss out on the Time Elevator. Narrated by tour-guide Shalem (Chaim Topol of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ fame), the Time Elevator takes audience members on a journey through time from the Jerusalem of the Bible to the modern city. The experience is made immersive by surround sound and motion-based seating (adjustable according to the needs of individual audience members), and for those who prefer, there are several stationary seats. Fans of a good 3-D experience can take the opportunity to choose from several additional films, such as a journey into the human body and a journey to India.

Address: 37 Hillel St, Jerusalem

Phone; +972-2-624-8381
Get tickets


City of David and Temple Mount Sifting Project

A must for families with budding archaeologist kids, the City of David is situated deep underground in the Arab village of Silwan, outside the Old City’s Dung Gate, and offers the remains of the once-grand citadel where an empire of Judean kings ruled. Today excavations continue and guests can experience the latest findings at the massive visitors’ center or on the guided tours (reservations in advance). One of the recommended tours invites visitors to wade through the waters of the 2,700-year-old Hezekiah’s Tunnel.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project offers the unique opportunity to rummage through piles of rubble and dirt in one of the holiest sites on earth around the City of David area. Tens of thousands of objects have been discovered including ancient coins, tools and arrowheads from various time periods. The sifting experience includes a guided tour, sifting and certificates.

Address: Silwan, Jerusalem
Phone: *6033 (reservations in advance)

Chain of Generations Center

Families with kids over the age of 13 should not miss out on an interactive half-hour tour of the Chain of Generations Center in the Old City, which relates the dramatic and moving history of the Jewish people using music, sculpture, archaeology and impressive light effects. As visitors move through the different rooms, they get to experience a different period in the history of the Jewish people. The tour culminates in the “Hall of Light”, which shares the tale of Rabbi Yisrael Halevi, a Jew who yearned more than anything to be in Jerusalem but died in the Holocaust before ever making it to the Old City. The story sums up the message of hope despite pain that the center represents. Please note that visits to the center are by reservation only and should be made two to three months in advance.


Address: 1 Hakotel Rd, Jerusalem
Phone: 1-599-515-888

Theater for Kids in Jerusalem

Although many plays are performed in Hebrew, there is also theater suitable for kids in English, without words and with subtitles. Even many of the Hebrew-only plays can be appreciated by all languages for the marvelous music and costumes. It’s worth checking with the Train Theater in Liberty Bell Park for plays suitable for an English-speaking audience, and if you’re lucky enough to visit in early August, don’t miss the International Festival of Puppet Theater. The renowned Jerusalem Theater in the neighborhood of Talbiyeh offers dozens of shows for kids throughout the year. And for cinema aficionados, the Jerusalem Cinematequeoutside the Old City walls offer children’s movies on weekends and on school vacations. The Cinemateque’s International Film Festival for Children and Youth brings together a leading collection of films for kids and young adults from all over the world and offers competitions where the children get to be the judges, as well as exciting film-related workshops.

Train Theater Phone: +972-2-561-8514
Jerusalem Theater Phone: +972-2-560-5757

Jerusalem Cinemateque Phone: +972-2-565-4333

Parks for Kids in Jerusalem


Many people enjoy taking time out on a family vacation and just hanging out in a park, and Jerusalem certainly has an excellent selection to choose from.

Sacher Park stretches between Nachlaot, Rehavia and Givat Ram and is an ideal location for a picnic or game of frisbee, as well as a playground, basketball courts, soccer pitches, tennis courts, a bike path and a skateboarding area.

Gilo Park is a popular choice for families with its modern playground equipment, picnic tables, basketball court and roller-blading path.

The Monster Park features “the monster” (locally as “the golem”), three red slides from a monster statue’s mouth to the sand below. Have your cameras ready.

San Simon Park is a hidden gem in Jerusalem with basketball courts, a bicycle path, an enclosed dog park, playground equipment, and table-tennis tables in a lush, green and peaceful setting. For those who avoid or enjoy crowds, it’s good to know that the park really fills up on a Saturday afternoon with local families.

With lots of greenery and shade, Liberty Bell Park makes a great place for a stroll, picnic and playing. The park is equipped with a whole lot of sporting facilities such as ping-pong tables, basketball courts and bicycle routes. You may also want to time a visit to the park with a trip to the Train Theater, which, as mentioned above, stages puppet shows and other performances for children of all ages.

Nearby Independence Park in the center of town is another great option for families with kids looking for a picnic spot or place to kick a football around. Its new playground looks like something out of science fiction with its off-the-beaten-track formations of equipment, all made out of aluminum.

Sacher Park Address: Sderot Ben Tsvi, Jerusalem
Gilo Park Address:  Gilo Forest, Jerusalem
Monster Park Address Rabinovich Garden, Kiryat Hayovel

San Simon Park Address: Hizkiyahu Hamelech Road, San Simon
Independence Park Address:  Gershon Agron, Jerusalem


Jerusalem is a great place to explore on bike and it’s a memorable experience to do as a family. Leading bicycle tour company Gordon Tours offer a tour of Jerusalem on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The route covers several attractions in Givat Ram, the Valley of the Cross, Rehavia, the President’s House, German Colony and the Haas Promenade. The return trip is via the Old Train Station (First Station) compound, Mishkenot Sha’ananim and around the Old City walls. One tour option ends at the famous Mahane Yehuda market. Gordon Tours also offer a special night-time tour of the Old City with the opportunity to bike through the alleyways. Tandem bikes and children’s bikes can be arranged if requested in advance. You may also want to speak to Gordon Tours about organizing a private tour for just your family.

There are several lovely bicycle paths in Jerusalem, such as one that leads from Sacher Park in the direction of Herzog Road and another on recently renovated Harakevet Road in Baka. There is also a bicycle trail in the Jerusalem Metropolitan Park that was established in co-operation with the KKL-JNF to enhance the city’s greenery and “create a ring of open spaces around Jerusalem”.

Gordon Tours Phone: +972-54-426-2187

Botanical Gardens

Families with kids who appreciate flowers and nature will not want to miss out on a trip to theJerusalem Botanical Gardens that features over 10,000 floral varieties from every continent in the world. Highlights include the “flower train” that runs through the gardens every hour, the tropical hothouse, visitors center with changing exhibitions, bonsai gardens, and 500-meter-long “Bible Path” lined with lf the flora scientists have identified with the 400 species of plants mentioned in the Bible. Families can enjoy a drink or meal at the restaurant near the entrance or may prefer to bring a picnic lunch to eat by the pond.

Address: 1 Yehuda Burla St, Jerusalem
Phone: +972-2-679-4012