Jerusalem (New City) is the official capital of Israel. It is home to over 936,425 people (as of 2019) of different religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds: Jewish, Muslim, and Christian. Here are some recommendations of must visit places in Jerusalem’s New City.
Three views of Jerusalem
To understand Jerusalem you should try and see it from the three important viewpoints – The Tayelet, Montefiore’s Windmill & Viewpoint, and if possible from Mount Scopus by the Hebrew University at the Tabachnik Park, or better still from the Mount of Olives. Also, you can stroll towards the other side of the mountain and enjoy the contrast of more than 3000 years of urban development with the raw desert. On a clear day you can see the Dead Sea in the distance. See Jonathan’s Jerusalem Skylines
Yemin Moshe & Mishkenot Shananim (Windmill)
There were the first neighborhoods built outside the Old City in the second half the 19th century. Now it is an artists’ colony and an exclusive neighborhood. It so exclusive that there is an endless stream of tourists passing their front doors! Walk towards the French Consulate and explore the look out points in the park and along Paul Botta Street.
Cinemateque, Mount Zion Hotel, Begin Center, St Andrews Church
Just down from the Windmill you will find these buildings and some great views of the Hinom Valley and Mount Zion. Near the hotel there is a small museum with the story of the secret cable car that supplied Mount Zion in 1948.
Menahem Begin was a pre-state freedom fighter-turned politician. He was in opposition until 1977 when he became Prime Minister. During his time in office he made peace with Egypt and launched the Lebanon War. The Menahem Begin Center covers the story of the prime minister and some of the important history (See Begin Center). St. Andrew’s is a beautiful building and a little taste of Scotland.
YMCA & the King David Hotel
It is possible to climb the tower for a great view of the Old City. The King David is a historical site in its own right having been part of the pre-independence struggle. It is now a top class hotel – wander around the lobby to understand how some people lived in the British Empire. If you are not staying there, but want to enjoy then the swimming pool or coffee on the terrace offer possibilities.
Israel Museum is one of the leading encyclopedic museums not just in Israel, but in the whole world. It has been recently renovated. Enjoy the exhibits and take a few minutes to go and see the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple era. There is also a youth wing and during chagim there are normally children’s arts & crafts groups for a few shekalim. See the Israel Museum
Bible Lands Museum
It is one of the most important and popular museums in Jerusalem. It details biblical history but it also covers
the broad range of cultures of the Ancient Near East. See Bible Lands Museum
Museum of Islamic Art
It is not one of the better-known museums. But it is very popular with those who are in the know. This modern museum houses Islamic artifacts such as Islamic pottery, jewelry, textiles and ceremonial objects, many of which are beautiful treasures. It is located near the Jerusalem Theater and the President’s Official Residence. See Islamic Art Museum
Jerusalem’s main center for performing arts opened in 1971 and the complex includes the Sherover Theatre (which seats 950), Henry Crown Symphony Hall (which seats 750 and the home of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra), the Rebecca Crown Auditorium (450 seats), and the Little Theatre (110 seats). See Jerusalem Theatre in Hebrew and English.
Each of Jerusalem’s neighborhoods has its own character, but all of them retain the elements of Israeli culture. Wander through some of the classic Jerusalem neighborhoods – Rehavia, German Colony, Shaarei Chesed, Yemin Moshe & Mea Shearim.
Machane Yehuda Market
The Machane Yehuda is one of the neighborhoods in Jerusalem and is the home of the market of the same name. It deserves a mention of its own as it is Jerusalem’s main market. It is considered a classic experience by fans of fresh produce. It also has spices, cheeses, confectionery, and also features some hardware shops. A recent trend has been to add some cafes so that you can drink and surf in the heart of the market! Is generally very busy on Thursday and Friday and just before the chagim.
Around the time of the various different chagim (festivals) then there are some unusual markets. Just before Sukkot there is the Four Species street markets (Mea Shearim), and before Yom Kippur the traditional kaparot can be seen (with live chickens) in Mea Shearim, Mahane Yehuda and other places. Just before Pesach, you may be able to see matzot being hand-baked (a process from mixing to end of baking taking less than 18 minutes.)
Explore this trendy modern shopping walk just outside the Jaffa Gate. This upscale corner always has the atmosphere (helped by the art work and often by street performers). It is a great place to wander and get a coffee or a meal, even if you don’t like shopping. Close to the Tower of David Museum & the Old City Wall Tour
The Holocaust Museum is one of the essential places to visit. It is essential to honor and essential to never forget. If you visited it a few years ago then there are new exhibits. Certain areas are restricted to over ten years old & some of the outside exhibits are not accessible by wheelchair. It is located on Mount Herzl and is easily accessible by many bus routes (18, 20, 23, etc.) and by taxi. See Yad VaShem Museum