Portray of the Destination
Jerusalem, the Holy City. It is considered threefold Holy by Muslims, Christians, and Jews. As soon as you enter into the Old City, you can feel a great religious fervor. Prayers and canticles can be heard in churches, mosques, and synagogues. To get an idea of the historical city center, you should amble around the city walls –which were built by Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th C.
Dominating the city, there is a vast esplanade, known either as Haram ash-Sharif (The Noble Sanctuary) by the Muslims or Temple Mount by Jews; it constitutes the bone of contention. In this place, Mohammed ascended to heaven and God ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son. The magnificent Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosques as well as the Islamic Museum –a little bit to the south- dominate the mount.
The Western Wall –located on the esplanade slope- is the most accessible one of the four walls belonging to the Second Temple, which was built by Herod. Its easy accessibility turned this wall into a popular area for Jewish worship. The church of the Holy Sepulchre, located in the Christian town, completes the trilogy of holy sites. It was built in the place where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. Most people access this church coming down through the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrow), which is the path that Jesus walked carrying the cross.
Beyond the religious interest of its population, you can discover the Old City, the boisterous Palestinian town in Eastern Jerusalem, the cafes and shops in Western Jerusalem or even the New City.
Yad Vashem –the touching Jewish monument commemorating the Holocaust- is located on the western area of Jerusalem. The Mount of Olives –from where Jesus ascended to heaven- is located on the eastern area of Jerusalem; here, you can enjoy a wonderful view of the city.
We would like to thank the Jerusalem tourism board for the pictures provided.
Jerusalem is located 52 km (32 mi) from the Mediterranean Sea, 22 km (13.6 mi) from the Dead Sea, 250 km (155.3 mi) from the Red Sea, and 150 km (93.2 mi) from Akka, among the red and bare hills of the Desert, and lying on a mountain range. According to excavations, the origin of Jerusalem can be found in the Al Dhor hills. The city is located upward Sulwan, southeast of the Holy Sanctuary. Later, the city outspread towards other hills such as Beit al Zeitoun (also known as Bezeta) to the northeast, Sanctuary Hill (Medria) to the east, Zion Hill to the southeast, and other hills of the Sanctuary area –known as Old Jerusalem-, reaching a total area of one sq. km. including the holy places of the three monotheist religions (Muslim, Christian and Jewish faiths).
This city is characterized by its strategic location and its natural defensive lines, presenting a group of valleys on the east (Suleiman, Sitna Merriam, or Yahu Shafat Valleys), on the west (Wadi Eljabaneen), and on the south (Wadi Alrababeh). The northern plateau was the main access way for military attacks and invasions against the city. All the conquerors of Jerusalem (such as Naboukheth Nasser, Alexander, Bombay, Omar Ibn Al Khattab) entered into the city through that northern area. The constant development of the population has extended the boundaries of the city beyond the walls surrounding it.
Jerusalem enjoys warm temperatures between April and October. Winter, from November to March, is usually cold.
When to go
You should avoid visiting Jerusalem during the Jewish holidays since the country is full of pilgrims, accommodation prices increase, and going from one city to another is almost impossible. Spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit Jerusalem.
In 990 BC, David –king of Israel and Judah- conquered Jerusalem, which was under the control of the Jebusites; thus, Jerusalem became the capital city of the united kingdom. Upon the separation of Israel and Judah (in 922 BC), Jerusalem served as the capital of the Kingdom of Judah. Later, this city underwent different stages of foreign domination under the control of Assyrians, Babylonians (597- 546 BC), Persians (546- 332 BC), Macedonians (332- 312 BC), and their heirs known as the Seleucids (321- 130 BC). From that moment on, Jerusalem had a relatively independent stage under the control of the Maccabees. However, Jerusalem and the entire kingdom was conquered by the Pompey’s Roman troops in 64 BC. In the year 66, the First Jewish Revolt took place; the city was sieged by Titus in the year 70. The Hadrian’s project -consisting in re-building Jerusalem as a completely Roman city- resulted in the Second Jewish Revolt (132 –135). Such revolt finished when Masada fell and the Jewish Diaspora began.
Later, the city was dominated by the Byzantines and Arabs. In 1099, it was conquered by the Crusades (Christian troops) and the Kingdom of Jerusalem was created. After winning the Battle of Hattin (1187), Saladin took the city and the Crusaders never sieged it again, except for a Christian domination short period (1228- 1244). Later, the Ottomans took control of the city until 1917, when the British Army captured the city during World War I.
The League of Nations entrusted the United Kingdom with this territory, so that it be administered as a Mandated Territory; the British terminated their mandate on May 14, 1948. The territory was subject to a partition approved by the UN, which established the creation of two independent Arab and Jewish states, with Jerusalem to be placed under international administration. However, this partition has never taken place.
The rest day in Israel begins at sunset on Fridays and finishes at sunset on Saturdays. Further, Jewish feasts begin the evening of the previous day. All shops, public institutions, and offices are closed on Sabbath and feast days. Most public transports and places for leisure are also closed. Taxi services are supplied, and some restaurants, cinemas, and pubs remain opened. The Hebrew Calendar is based on lunar years; therefore, Jewish feasts do not coincide with the Gregorian Calendar. You should check the festivities dates. Most national feasts are religious in nature.
The Yom Kippur, in October, constitutes the holiest day of the Jewish Calendar. It is the Jewish Day of Atonement, consisting in 25 hours of fast combined with prayers, contemplation, and confession. Passover commemorates the Exodus of Hebrews from Egypt, under the leadership of Moses. During a week in April, the Jews eat matzo –which is a flat bread. But not everything is fasting and abnegating regarding Jewish feats. Purim –celebrated between February and March- commemorates the day on which Esther and Mordechai saved the Jews living in Persia from dying; it is characterized by meals, exchange of gifts and, even, drinking wine in the synagogues. Ramadan is a synonym of the greatest Muslim feast; during such month, the Muslim fast from sunrise to sunset in order to comply with the fourth pillar of Islam. This event ends up in a great party, called Eid al-Fitr, where everybody prays, visits friends, and give presents.
Cuisine in Jerusalem is as varied as its residents. There is a vast variety of delicious and tasty dishes capable of satisfying the most demanding palate. Falafel, hummus, salads recently prepared, and Jaffa oranges are some of the typical elements. Further, its wines are worldwide known. There is also a particular detail: a Jewish religious precept known as kosher food (which prohibits mixing meat and milk and eating pork and seafood) is observed in many restaurants. The typical dishes include hummus –a chickpea and oil paste-, pita bread and kebab (roasted lamb). The most typical dessert is báklava, a sweet puff pastry, with milled nuts and honey. The aromatic and strong coffees as well as teas are the national drinks.
YES: Ken , No: Lo, HELLO: Shalom, BYE: Shalom, GOOD MORNING: Boker Tov, GOOD AFTERNOON: Yom tov, GOOD NIGHT: Erev tov, PLEASE: Be’vakasha, I’M SORRY: Slach Li, THANK YOU: Toda. 1: Achat, 2: Shta'yim, 3: Shalosh, 4: Arba, 5: Chamesh, 6: Shesh, 7: Sheva, 8: Shmone, 9: Tesha, 10: Eser, 11: Achat Esre, 12: Shtaum Esre, 13: Shlosh Esre, 14: Arba Esre, 15: Chamesh Esre, 16: Shesh Esre, 17: Shva Esre, 18: Shmo’ne Esre, 19: Tsha Esre, 20: Esrim, 21: Esrim Ve’Achat, 30: Shloshim, 40: Arba’im, 50: Hamishim, 60: Shishim, 70: Shiv’im, 80: Shmonim, 90: Tish’im, 100: Me’a, 1000: Elef. MONDAY: Yom sheni, TUESDAY: Yom shlishi, WEDNESDAY: Yom revi’i, THURSDAY: Yom chamishi, FRIDAY: Yom shishi, SATURDAY: Shabat, SUNDAY: Yom rishon. GOOD/BAD: Tov/Ra, OPEN/CLOSED: Patu’ach/segur. BREAKFAST: Frishtik , LUNCH: Mitog, SUPPER: Vetshere, WINE: Vayn , DESSERT: Nochshpayze, THE BILL, PLEASE?: Tavi li be’vakasha et ha’cheshbon. DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?: Ha’im ata medaber sfaradit, I DO NOT UNDERSTAND: Ani lo mevin, HOW MUCH IS IT?: ¿Kama ze o’le?, WHAT TIME IS IT?: Ma ha’sha’a
The official currency is shekel (shekalim for the plural). Each shekel is divided into 100 agorot (agorá for the singular). There are banknotes of 200; 100; 50; 20 and 10 shekalim. There are coins of 10 and 5 shekalim, 1 shekel and 50 and 10 agorot.
1.0 EUR = 5.50182 ILS
1.0 Pound Sterling = 7.98663 ILS
Prices in Israel are expensive; however, it should be noted the fact that costs are a good value for money. Leaving tips is a very rooted custom in Israel; in all cases, and regardless of the received service, you should leave a 15%.
+2 GMTOfficial Language
Hebrew and ArabicSurface area
19.3 sq. km (7.5 sq. mi)Population
623,000 residentsPolitical Regime
Parliamentary RepublicPublic holidays
January 1, 2005: New Year. January 6: The Three Kings Day. March / April: Monday of Lent. March 25: Independence Day. March / Arpril: Orthodox Holy Friday. May 1: Labour Day. May: Orthodox Easter Monday. June 20: Holy Ghost Feast. August 15: Assumption of the Virgin Mary. October 28: Okhi Day. December 25 and 26: Christmas. Religion Religion
80.1% Jews, 14.6% Muslims, 2.1% Christians, 3.2% othersArrival / Departure
The most convenient way of reaching Jerusalem is by airplane. Most European companies offer scheduled and charter flights to Israel. El-Al, Israeli Airlines, (El-Al and Iberia fly with shared code) has flights from the main cities in Europe and North America (www.elal.co.il www.iberia.com). There are no restrictions regarding the import of currencies or new shekalim. Travelers desiring to export new shekalim must request authorization in any bank office before leaving the country. The export of currencies is limited to the amount of imported currency.Safety
Unfortunately, security in Jerusalem is precarious due to the suicide attacks taking place in this area from time to time. The presence of police forces is remarkable in this city and in other occupied territories of the West Bank, especially in those places sensitive due to its religious or political nature. Further, you should take into account the strong security controls at the entrance of places such as the Wall, the mosque area, official buildings and even some cafes and restaurants of the New City. Therefore, you should visit Jerusalem, but also you should use common sense, take precautions, and be modest. Visa
All tourists must present passports in full force and effect, having a validity of at least 6 months. Spanish citizens are not required visa to enter into Israel and can stay for three months. Citizens of States Members of the European Union, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Uruguay are not required visa to enter into Israel.
Most tourists are allowed a three-month stay; however, those tourists entering overland from Egypt or Jordan may only be granted one-month stay. Upon arrival, tourists are given a duplicate entry permit, which must be kept. If a tourist has neither return ticket nor money to cover the stay, acceptance may be denied. Tourists should avoid having their passports stamped since most Arab countries will not allow them to enter if they have visited Israel. Tourists should try that officials stamp their entry permits instead of their passports.Clothing
In summer, you should bring light clothing: short trousers and T-shirts. Sandals, sport shoes, sunglasses, hats, and swimming suit are suitable for tours. You should not forget bringing sunscreen. Sweaters to wear at night –in the upper areas- are recommended. In winter, you should take warm clothing and umbrella.Electricity
220 V, 50 HzRadio and Television
The most popular radio stations are the following: Radio Emtsa Haderech 90FM, 90.0, 102FM, 101.9, Arutz 7 AM (Jerusalem), 105, 2.
TV Channels: Arutz Echad (IBA Channel 1), Arutz Shtayim (Channel 2), Reshet Network, Keshet Broadcasting, Channel 2 News, Arutz Shalosh (IBA Channel 3).Telephone
In order to make phone calls to Israel, you have to dial 00-972- code of the area. Further, the code of Jerusalem is 02.Police
100Tourist health care services
101Newspapers and Magazines
The newspapers with more circulation in Jerusalem are the following: Ha'aretz-US Mirror, Jerusalem Post, The Jerusalem Report, The Jerusalem Times, Globes.
The main magazines are Ha-Ir Eilat Challenge Jerusalem Report.Postal Service
All letters and packages are sent by air. The opening hours are from 8 am to 2 pm (Monday through Friday), and from 8 am to 1.30 pm on Saturdays. Telegrams can be sent from post offices and main hotels.Health Care Services
Jerusalem offers a health care system with good facilities and professionals. Health centers are symbolized with a red David’s Star on a white background. Hiring medical service in the country of origin is recommended. Airport
The Tel Aviv International Airport (Ben Gurion) is located at 40 minutes by car from Jerusalem. Buses from the EGGED company trip from Tel Aviv to the airport every 15 minutes (between 5 am and 10 pm; with a duration of 25 minutes). The best way of reaching Jerusalem from Tel Aviv is by shared taxi. The airport has a bank available (opened 24 hours a day), as well as restaurants, duty-free and general shops, and tourist information office (opened 24 hours a day). For further information, visit www.ben-gurion-airport.com/english/index.htmPublic Transport
By land, through the border crossing with Jordan: Allenby Bridge (nearly 40 km -25 mi- from Jerusalem). By bus: buses are the most popular means of transport in Israel, regarding both urban and suburban journeys. There is a vast network that easily connects the entire country. Prices are reasonable and services are frequent. There are tickets having different terms (for weeks or number of trips). Most bus lines do not work on Sabbath.
You can take taxis on the street or phone and request one. All taxis have taximeters and must use them. Furthermore, a service called “sherut” (shared taxi) is offered, which consists in trips connecting the main cities through the roads used by buses. In this case, each passenger pays a fixed price. Railway
A train runs through a beautiful line between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Services are not supplied on Sabbath and holidays. Bus
In almost all places, bus services begin at 5 am. Some services, for instance Tel Aviv- Jerusalem and Tel Aviv- Haifa are available until 11.30 pm. The other bus services finish earlier. Car
Although Jerusalem is a city inviting to amble and sightsee each attraction, cars are useful for coming from and going to the Tel Aviv Airport.
The requirements for renting a car are the following: having a driving license in force, being over 21 years old, and having credit card to pay a small deposit. From May through October, you should rent a car with air-conditioning. The main offices are the following:
Super Drive Ltd: Hamelech David 10, 02-6250843
Avis: Hamelech David 22, 02-6249001
Baruch Fryman – Shlomo: Sixt Shamgar 4, 02-5374777Ship
Many shipping companies operate scheduled lines from Europe to Haifa port and cruisers through the Mediterranean Sea. Private cruisers have many ports available: Haifa, Ashdod, Eilat or the Tel Aviv marine. Regular ferry services are offered from Greece and Cyprus (for passengers and vehicles) and from New York, USA, (for passengers and goods). Further, many cruiser lines departing from different ports on the Mediterranean Sea arrive at the Haifa port. The Grimaldi/Siosa cruiser company travels from Alexandria to Ashdod. Taking pictures
You should bear in mind the fact that you are not allowed to take pictures in holy places and Orthodox Jews colonies on Saturdays for constituting the Jewish holy day. See climatewww.worldweather.orgCurrency converterwww.xe.com/uccA dinner
Between EUR 15 and 30 A coffee
EUR 1 The Bus
EUR 2 The taxi