Jun 15

Christian Holy Sites in Jerusalem – Christian sites of the Holy Land

Jerusalem holds a number of sites that are important to Christians and hold great religious significance from both the Old and the New Testament.


Garden of Gethsemane

According to the Gospels, the Garden of Gethsemane situated on a slope on the Mount of Olives in the Holy Land was a place that Jesus and his disciples frequently visited to pray and is also the place where Jesus was betrayed and arrested on the night before his crucifixion.

Olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane

photo: www.goisrael.com

Some of the world’s oldest olive trees dating back more than 2000 years are found in this spot today and possibly were young saplings on that night that followed the Last Supper when Jesus came to this olive grove with his disciples. This site is visited regularly by Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land.


Church of All Nations

Jerusalem Church of All Nations


The Roman Catholic Church of All Nations is situated next to the Garden of Gethsemane on the slopes of the Mount of Olives (also known as the Basilica of the Agony). It was built between 1919 and 1924 on the site of a 4th century Byzantine Basilica that was destroyed by an earthquake and later a Crusader chapel that was abandoned.

It was designed by the architect Antonio Barluzzi. It is noted for the shimmering gold leaf mosaics that mark the frontage that depict Jesus carrying the suffering of the world.

Via Dolorosa

The mile long route of the Via Dolorosa that runs through the Old City of Jerusalem in the Holy Land, leads from the Antonia Fortress to Golgotha (Calvary) which was the place of the crucifixion.  At each of the 14 Stations of the Cross that mark the Via Dolorosa there is a marker or chapel depicting the final journey that Jesus took. Christians of all denominations follow this route as part of their pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher stands at the traditional site of Calvary.


Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Photo: by Mordagan courtesy of www.goisrael.com

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher stands at the traditional site of Calvary and for orthodox Christians it is the most significant pilgrimage destination and recognized as the Hill of Calvary (Golgotha), where Jesus was crucified and buried. Christian pilgrims have been visiting this site for centuries. The Sepulcher itself is contained within the rotunda and is surrounded by columns that support an adorned, domed roof. The Church itself was neglected for many years and renovations are still ongoing however the building has already regained much of its former beauty.


Hall of the Last Supper

The room of the Last Supper is located on Mount Zion in Jerusalem directly above the Tomb of David. It is also called the Coenaculum or Cenacle. According to Christian tradition it was here that Jesus sat with his disciples on the last Passover Night before his capture, trial and crucifixion.


Apr 06

Israel – Places in Jerusalem – Mahane Yehuda Market

Israel’s largest open air market is located in downtown Jerusalem. This is the Mahane Yehuda market which has become the core of the authentic Jerusalem experience and enjoys great popularity with tourists and locals alike. The market itself has hundreds of vendors offering everything from fruit and vegetables, stalls with huge selections of herbs and spices, meat, fish and varieties of cheese to suit all palates as well as house wares and clothes.

Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem

photo: www.goisrael.com

Visitors from all walks of life enjoy wandering around this exciting place with its enticing aromas, its exhilarating colors and picturesque characters and vendors.   The market was originally established towards the end of the 19th century between the neighborhoods of Mahane Yehuda and Beit Ya’akov and at that time was known as the Shuk Beit Yaakov. The shuk expanded rapidly and rather chaotically during the time of Ottoman rule. In about 1928 due to very poor sanitary conditions the authorities of the British Mandate closed the market and began building permanent stalls and roofing that would enable the merchants to begin trading under better conditions.  At this time the market became known by its present name.  Early in this century extensive renovations were again undertaken, roads were repaved and some areas covered.

The modernized and improved market has resulted in the opening of various Coffee shops, high quality bakeries, fashion boutiques and photography and art galleries as well as modern gourmet restaurants.

Mahane Yehuda open air market

photo: www.goisrael.com

The Mahane Yehuda Market has today become a symbol of life in Jerusalem. There have even been songs and literary pieces written describing its bustle and ambience. It is definitely a must do on the agenda for tourists.

Mar 22

Jerusalem – Places to visit – Ein Kerem

One of the most charming neighborhoods of Jerusalem is the quaint and picturesque village of Ein Kerem (Hebrew – meaning “Spring of the Vineyard”).  The village itself is situated in a serene valley encircled by vibrant greenery and a view of the lovely surrounding hills.

Church of John the Baptist in Ein Karem

photo: www.goisrael.com

Approximately 1 million  Christian pilgrims from around the world, when visiting the Holy Land, come to the ancient village of Ein Kerem annually as this is the place where John the Baptist was born and is also the site of the Well where Mary and Elizabeth met. The water from this well is considered holy and many pilgrims drink this holy water which they also take away with them in bottles.

Ein Kerem also attracts thousands of visitors of all faiths who come to stroll along the lovely stone paths and view the delightful arched stone houses and hear the church bells chiming.  Many churches have been built since the Byzantine era and in modern times there are active churches and monasteries. Two of the churches, one Catholic and one Greek Orthodox are named after John the Baptist and are built on the ruins of earlier churches.

View of the Church of Visitation in Ein Kerem, Jerusalem Israel

Photo: www.goisrael.com

The Church of the Visitation is situated on the hillside of Ein Kerem and is believed to have been built over John the Baptist’s parents home. Its position commands lovely views of the surrounding hills as well as the valley. The rebuilding of the current church over the original Crusader Church began in the 19th century by Franciscans and in 1955 the church was completed. The courtyard of the Church has a tiled wall with the words of the “Magnificat” written in 42 languages.

Ein Kerem is one of Israel’s tourist treasures with charming stone houses filled with Artists and Sculptors galleries, excellent restaurants and attractive accommodation available in guest houses and Inns

Apr 21

Israel – Jerusalem and Surrounding Areas – Sites

Cities and Sites in and around Jerusalem

Jerusalem – probably the most visited part of Israel by pilgrims and tourists of all three monotheistic religions. and considered to be a Holy City by Jews, Christians and Moslems.

A plethora of religious and archeological sites are to be found in Jerusalem and the surrounding area. Other places in the surrounding area like Masada and the Dead Sea are also very popular tourist attractions

Choose a city or site in or around Jerusalem to read more.

Western Wall and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem


Ein Gedi

Abu Gosh

Ein Kerem


Sites in Jerusalem

Old City
The Israel Museum
Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum

Apr 01

Israel – Israeli Towns and Villages – Abu Gosh

The Israeli Arab Village of Abu Gosh is situated about 10 km west of Jerusalem just off the main road from Tel Aviv. During Israel’s War of independence, out of all the Arab Villages in the area only the residents of Abu Gosh remained neutral and in many cases helped by assisting in keeping the road to Jerusalem open so that essential supplies could be sent to the besieged Jewish residents of the city.  To this day relations between the village of Abu Gosh and the Jewish community of Israel remain friendly and co-operative.

More than 6000 years ago during biblical times Abu Gosh was called Kiryat Ye’arim and was a centre where the Ark of the Covenant was kept up until it was taken to Jerusalem. About 1,500 years ago during the Byzantine era , a church was built in the village and during Crusader times the village was attributed to be the place of Emmaus (The place where after his resurrection, Jesus revealed himself to his disciples). This is the site of the beautiful Benedictine Monastery.

One of the most beautiful crusader buildings to have survived in Israel is the Abu Gosh Benedictine Monastery built about 1000 years ago on a site of a water spring.  In the 19th century this crusader church was handed over to the Benedictine Order by the French Government after careful restoration. On the monastery walls frescoes from the 12th century are still in evidence and a small spring can be seen flowing from the crypt of the monastery. The monastery is divided into a section for nuns and a section for monks.

At the highest point of the village and facing the inspiring views of the Jerusalem Hills and surrounded by gardens is the lovely Church of our Lady of the Arc of Covenant (The Church of Notre Dame de l’Arche d’Alliance) was built on the ruins of an ancient Byzantine Church. In the Church Courtyard there is a large statue of Virgin Mary which is visible from all points of the compound. The convent itself belongs to the French order of St.Josef de l’apparition and the imposing church is home to the Abu-Gosh Liturgical Festival. During the 1948 War of Independence the convent was used as a military hospital.

During Shavuot (the festival of the first fruits) and Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles) both the Church and the Benedictine Monastery hold vocal music festivals.  Groups and Choirs from around the world participate in these festivals which are well attended by music lovers from both Israel and abroad.

Abu Gosh has a number of excellent restaurants and if the word hummus is mentioned Abu Gosh immediately comes to mind as it is known as the countries hummus centre with its different varieties of garnishes and spices. The village of Abu Gosh should definitely be put on the list of places to visit when touring Israel.