The 5 Best Sacred Destinations in Jerusalem
Jerusalem or the Holy City as it is commonly called is one of the oldest and most controversial cities in the world. It is the capital city of the state of Israel and it is a pilgrimage destination for Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Moreover, it is a cultural and artistic center as depicted by the Israel museum, the Jerusalem music center and the Jerusalem symphony orchestra. Indeed, Jerusalem has something for everyone to explore. Here are some of its most popular sacred destinations.
The Tomb of Lazarus – Bethany
According to John 11:38-44, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead in the presence of Martha and Mary (Lazarus’ sisters) in Bethany. It is also in this village in the eastern side of Mt. Olives where Jesus was anointed (at Simon the Leper’s home) according to mark 14:3. Jesus also returned to Bethany after his entry to Jerusalem (Mark 11:11). With these biblical allusions, all Christians and even Muslims have a reason to visit this site. Victors to this site can also explore the cruciform plan church, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Mosque of al-Uzair and the Chapel of Ascension.
The Church of All Nations
This site got its name from the fact that its construction was funded by 12 nations. It is also called the Basilica of the Agony. Located near the Garden of Gethsemane, this church was constructed from 1919-1924. No Christian can forget the biblical story in Mathew 26:36 where Jesus prayed during at the night in which he was arrested. (Image by Daniel Bertrand)
Chapel of the Ascension
This is a crusader-era chapel, which is frequented by both Christians and Muslims. This is the point of Jesus’s ascension into heaven, according to Luke 24:50-51. This chapel also served as a mosque at one point in time as Islam also recognizes the ascension of Jesus. The footprint of Christ is one of the main points of interest in this site.
Mecca, Medina and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem are the three holiest Muslim places in the world. For this reason, Muslims cannot help frequenting this mosque every year. This mosque features a Romanesque style and the Mihrab and mosaics are a beauty to behold. The Herod’s entrance to the Temple Mount is also located in this mosque.
This is an historic synagogue of the Ashkenazi Jews. It features the Neo-Byzantine style, but the recent renovation in 2010 has given the synagogue a new look for all the Jews to see. There are high-end hotels and restaurants near this synagogue to cater for all the touring needs family vacations. (Image by Avital Pinnick)
These are just a few of the attractions. Other sacred destinations are the western wall, via Dolorosa, mosque of Omar, Tombs of the Prophets, Tomb of the Virgin, Temple Mount, Church of St. Anne, the Pool of Siloam, Monastery of the Cross and the last supper room. The Garden tomb, Dormition Abbey, Church of Dominus Flevit, Dome of the Rock, Church of the Visitation, church of the John the Baptist and the church of the Redeemer are also worthy of honorable mention. Indeed, the sacred attractions are numerous, as there are about 73 mosques, 158 churches and 1204 synagogues in Jerusalem. Leaving religion behind, the Israel Museum is a feast for the eyes for a family holiday outing.
Related post: Great Places to Visit in the Middle East
Featured image courtesy by Mrs Butterbur