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Israel is a sunny country where you want to return again and again. This place is wrapped in a pleasant and mysterious atmosphere. Tourists who come here for the first time should sign up for interesting excursions, thanks to which they will be able to see the memorable sights of Israel. Don't know what to see in Israel? Especially for you, we have compiled a list of popular attractions in this country. Read about them and be sure to include these places in your Israel travel itinerary.
What to see first in Israel
Despite the small size of the country, there are more than enough interesting places here, and guides in Israel will help you navigate them. Their help will be invaluable both at the route planning stage and in solving organizational nuances. Travelers without a guide should find out in advance whether it will be possible to see the sights they like according to the descriptions on the dates of arrival.
1. Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Jerusalem)
Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher keeps a history that spans several centuries. The church itself was built on the site where, according to legend, the body of Jesus Christ was buried. This is where his resurrection took place. The temple has changed its design for a long time. Now it is in its modern form. The church was constantly being destroyed. However, people continued to rebuild it over and over again.
The temple is considered the main shrine in Israel, so every traveler who comes to Jerusalem should see it. This place is shared by six denominations of the church professing Christianity. On the territory of the temple there are functioning monasteries, supplemented by auxiliary premises. Tourists are also given the opportunity to get acquainted in detail with local galleries and other buildings that reflect the history of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Travelers who want to see Israel's best sights should visit the church, if only to see the Anointing Stone with their own eyes. That's where Jesus lay. Near this place is the tomb of the son of God and the chapels erected in honor of Empress Helena, who found the cross for the crucifixion of Christ.
Official website: http://www.holysepulchre.custodia. org/
2. Wailing Wall (Jerusalem)
The Wailing Wall on the slope of the Temple Mount
Jews consider the Wailing Wall the most important shrine in Jerusalem. Therefore, it is among the places that are the answer to the question of what to visit in Israel. According to assumptions, it was erected in 37 BC. For a long time, the Wall was a defensive structure. But gradually it turned into a place where the Jewish people came to mourn. By that time, the shrine was partially destroyed.
Interestingly, the Wailing Wall became a shrine at a time when only ruins remained of it. She became the embodiment of the past, present and future of the people. For many Jews, this memo represents the hope that one day all troubles and hardships will come to an end.
Many traditions are connected with the Wailing Wall, where guides take tourists during an excursion in Jerusalem. People come to the ruins of the shrine not only to pray. Many people leave small notes in the crevices, in which the most cherished dream is written. This is how people try to convey their requests to higher powers.
A feature of this attraction of Israel is its accessibility to absolutely any person, regardless of faith and race. The main thing is that while visiting the Wailing Wall, his body and head should be covered with clothes.
Official website: https://english.thekotel.org/
3. Dome of the Rock (Jerusalem)
Ancient Mosque Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount
The Jewish people attach great importance to the Temple Mount, on which the Dome of the Rock is located. In this place, according to ancient legends and tales, Abraham had to give his own son Isaac. A sanctuary in the form of a temple with the Ark was also rebuilt here. The Temple Mount was the point from which the great Way of the Cross began.
After the destruction of the temple, which occurred 40 years after its creation, two mosques were erected on this site. One of them was the Dome of the Rock. This mosque is considered by many to be the hallmark of a tourist country. Guides in Jerusalem often invite travelers to visit these parts. And they willingly agree, even taking into account the fact that the mosque has not been functioning for a long time. The attraction strikes the imagination with its grandiose golden domes. Each of them is about 20 meters in diameter. Due to this, they are visible from almost anywhere in the city. An interesting legend has been circulating among the people since ancient times. It said that the Dome of the Rock is the true center of the universe. No one has been able to confirm this theory, but no refutation has been found to date.
Official website: https://domeoftherock.net/
4. Beit Guvrin Caves (Maresha)
Beit Guvrin Cave World
If tourists do not know what to visit in Israel, then they should definitely go to see the caves of Beit Guvrin. They are part of the nature reserve. In the past, Beit Guvrin was considered the largest settlement in the country, which controlled the path leading from Jerusalem to the seashore. At the moment, the reserve contains a huge number of caves and tombs.
All the most interesting things that the protected area can boast of are hidden in the caves. The first of the caves were cut right into the chalk rocks. Previously, each cave had its own purpose. Most of them at different times were inhabited by various peoples who considered themselves the legitimate inhabitants of this region.
While walking through the reserve, you can see residential complexes with additional premises for livestock, completely consisting of caves. Some have even managed to build reliable add-ons on top of them to increase living space.
A tour of the caves of Beit Guvrin leaves no one indifferent. For a long time, tourists remember visiting unique dwellings, skillfully arranged among real stones. At will, travelers who are interested in the sights of Israel can walk along the stairs leading deep into the earth to fully immerse themselves in the atmosphere of life of ancient times.
5. Tomb of the Virgin (Josaphat Valley)
Christian shrine Tomb of the Virgin
Empress Helena (mother of Emperor Constantine the First) built a church in 326, which could exist unchanged until the 11th century. It was of great importance, as it was erected directly above the tomb of the Virgin. After a while, on the site of the ruins left from the church, the temple of the daughter of Baldwin II Melisende began to rise. She was also buried there. The Sixth Ecumenical Council decided to open the tomb. As a result of the work done, it was possible to find burial sheets and a belt.
The temple itself is underground. From the entrance there is a wide staircase made of stone, which has 48 steps. The church is built in the shape of a cross. Inside the building there is a small chapel and the tomb of the Virgin.
The chapel of the tomb has two entrances. As a rule, pilgrims enter through one of them and exit through the other. From the south there is a chapel, which is intended for people who profess Islam. Those who honor the Virgin Mary come here freely.
Regardless of whether the traveler has decided what to visit in Israel or not, he should certainly come to the Jehoshaphat Valley to visit the burial place of the Virgin. It leaves a strong impression especially on those who are sincerely imbued with the holiness of the underground church.
Feel the atmosphere of Israel in this beautiful video!
6. Temple of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives (Jerusalem)
Chapel of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives
Imbomon, also known as the Temple of the Ascension, was built on the site where Jesus ascended. Three hundred years later, the Persians destroyed the temple. Some time later, Patriarch Modest rebuilt the shrine, which has survived to this day.
The Chapel of the Ascension was built in the era of the Crusaders, and it has not changed its appearance for hundreds of years. The chapel looks like a small octagonal building covered with a dome.
In the floor of the chapel is an unusual stone, framed by a rectangular frame of marble. It is embedded in a real rock. This sight of Israel has a notch in the form of an imprint of the left foot of a person. The scriptures say that before there were two more feet. However, only one of them was carved out of the rock. It was later transferred to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Russian pilgrims did not miss the chance to see with their own eyes the stone, to which they gave the name of the Savior's Foot. They treated the relic with care, spoke about it with special trepidation.
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Last Supper Room
The Upper Room of the Last Supper can be found in a Gothic building located on Mount Zion. Access is open here, so everyone can see this attraction in Israel. The chamber is located on the second floor. The tomb of King David is located on the first floor. The building itself was built in the XII century. As planned, it was supposed to serve as a church.
In the 15th century, the church, captured by the Turks, was converted into a mosque. At the same time, the Gothic motifs that were used during the construction of the building were preserved.
The Upper Room of the Last Supper is mentioned more than once in the holy scriptures. From them it follows that it was in this room that the supper was held for Jesus by his disciples. This plot fell in love with many creators, who later used it when creating author's works.
This attraction will be of particular interest to those travelers who are attracted by biblical stories.
Luxurious Bahai Gardens
Luxurious Bahai Gardens are located in the city of Haifa. Increased attention to this sight of Israel was paid by the UNESCO office. It also became the first monument of religious significance in modern history. Baha'i Gardens do not need advertising. To admire their beauty, you need to personally visit these places.
For a long time there was a development of gardens. According to the project, they were supposed to occupy the territory along the slope of Mount Carmel. An Iranian architect was assigned to implement this creative idea. As a result of the work done, a unique garden was erected, which has 19 separate terraces. Of these, nine terraces go from the top to the tomb, and nine more terraces are located on the way from the tomb to the foot of the majestic mountain. The last terrace, which is central, is located next to the mausoleum.
The Bahai Gardens can be accessed in three different ways. At the top entrance are the most beautiful viewing terraces. Free tours usually start from here, introducing tourists to the Israeli landmark. The middle entrance was made at the location of the temple, and the lower one will be found right at the foot. Travelers have the right to decide where they start the tour of the gardens.
Official website: http://www.ganbahai.org.il/
9. Mount of Olives (Jerusalem)
Elongated Mount of Olives with three peaks
The Mount of Olives, often called the Mount of Olives, separates the Judean Desert and the Old City. Such an unusual name was given to the mountain, thanks to the many olive trees that once grew on its slopes. Travelers who have not decided what to see in Israel should definitely come here to visit the most famous place in Jerusalem.
The Mount of Olives has become the resting place of many famous people, among whom there are public figures, politicians, and media magnates.
Christians treat this attraction with such reverence for a reason, because it is often mentioned in the New Testament. It was here that Christ taught people, wept for the future of the city, and also prayed before being taken into custody.
Not every tourist has the strength to make a full walk on the mountain. This is because the height of its three peaks is within 800 meters. Some travelers prefer to admire the views of nature while on the observation deck.
When viewed from the mountainside, you can see the Church of the Tears of the Lord, as well as the domes of the Church of Mary Magdalene. The Jewish cemetery, in front of which the old city is located, completes the picture.
Official website: http://www.gethsemane-en.custodia.org/
10 Masada Fortress (Arad)
Masada ancient fortress
At the heart of the Holy Land is the mountain fortress of Masada. This place is famous for its terrible history, which is related to the bloody wars that happened here several centuries ago. This attraction of Israel failed to maintain its original appearance. Its remains have been unsuccessfully searched for for many centuries. They were found only in 1842. Official studies of this area began to be engaged only after a few decades. The restorers did a laborious job, which allowed them to restore the fortress in the form it was during the reign of King Herod.
Now the fortress of Masada is an important historical monument, which is the personification of the courage and invincibility of the people. Every year hundreds of tourists from other countries come here to admire its greatness. In recent years, local residents have been able to turn the attraction into a real town with small streets and their own infrastructure. From here you have a great view. The guests of the fortress especially like to admire the magnificent sunrises from above. Entertainment events and international festivals are often held at the foot of Masada.
Official website: http://www.parks.org.il/
Israel Attractions: what else to visit while in Israel
In terms of fascination, excursions in Israel can rightly be called the best, since tourists are completely immersed in the atmosphere of antiquity. On the other hand, there are unusual attractions in the country that have nothing to do with history. What exactly to choose is up to you, and we will tell you about those options that you might like.
11. The Jordan River (originates from Mount Hermon)
Jordan River – place of Christian baptism
An equally significant place for the inhabitants of Israel is the Jordan River. A huge number of important events in the history of the people are associated with it.
Over the past few years, this landmark of Israel has undergone a large-scale transformation. Local organizations ennobled the area near which the river flows. Safe slopes were also built, allowing residents and guests of the city to approach the water without much difficulty.
Tourists visit the Jordan River with great pleasure. Very often on its shore you can meet pilgrims. There is a huge excitement here on the feast of the Epiphany, which falls on January 19th. Representatives of various churches come to the river to perform the holy rite of baptism.
This place is truly unique and incredibly beautiful. Various types of fish live freely in the waters of the river. In Jordan, there are especially many catfish, which the locals never catch, because this fish is not considered kosher by the Israelis.
Being near the river, travelers often notice nutrias that swim up to people without fear to beg for a treat.
12. Underwater Observatory (Eilat)
Underwater Observatory Park
In the city of Eilat, the first ever complex for viewing the underwater world was created. For the sake of this sight of Israel, hundreds of travelers come here. An underwater observatory is a kind of window through which people can observe the life of the inhabitants of the Red Sea. The complex itself was created in a coral reef, located a few meters from the coastline.
The underwater observatory knows how to surprise its visitors. Guests can admire the giant aquarium, which is a replica of the real seabed. The aquarium has become a home for a variety of fish. At noon, tourists watch as an experienced scuba diver descends into the aquarium to feed its inhabitants.
The observatory has a pool with stingrays and turtles. Near the pool there is a special sand mound where amphibians can lay their eggs. The shark pool is amazing. A scuba diver descends into it, as well as into an aquarium with fish, to feed predators with prepared food.
The observatory is worth a visit for its oceanarium, which is a high-quality imitation of submersion in water on a bathyscaphe. For the whole 20 minutes, an educational excursion along the bottom of the sea is conducted for the guests of the institution.
Official website: https://www.coralworld.co.il/en/
13. Ein Gedi Oasis (Jewish Desert)
The nature of the Ein Gedi oasis
An amazing place that should definitely be included in the list of what to see in Israel while traveling. An oasis was formed in the desert, thanks to a natural phenomenon. Water began to seep through the limestone soils, descending in the form of rain from the Judean mountains. As a result, a spring appeared, around which green plants began to grow. Those who have tried the local water note its pleasant taste and crystal clearness. The trees that became part of the oasis of Ein Gedi constantly gave a good harvest. Local residents are still engaged in the cultivation of various fruit and vegetable crops here, which are in high demand among visitors to Israel.
Ein Gedi eventually became an official nature reserve where different types of animals are bred. The flora of the oasis never ceases to amaze, which pleases with its diversity. In some places, tourists can see the remains of ancient settlements and synagogues dating back to the Talmudic period.
The Ein Gedi Oasis is a great place for people who like to spend time among nature.
14. Tower of David (Jerusalem)
Tower of David
The Tower of David today is the Jerusalem History Museum. Here are unique ancient artifacts that were found during archaeological excavations. Most of them are over 3 thousand years old.
For a long time, the fortress served as an important defensive fortification. She constantly moved from one invader of these lands to another. At the moment, travelers can see the two surviving towers of the fortress. One of them is the Tower of David. The towers are interconnected by a common wall.
The Museum of History, built on the site of an old fortress, is very important and valuable for the history of the Israeli people. Its guests are given the opportunity to personally see unique exhibits that tell about the periods of development and formation of the ancient city. Travelers have access to the tower itself. It offers a beautiful view of the surroundings, which are located near the city.
15. Old City of Jaffa (Tel Aviv)
Old City of Jaffa in Tel Aviv
The list, which includes the sights of Israel, would not be complete without the old city of Jaffa. Many historians are of the opinion that it is the most beautiful architectural monument of the famous Tel Aviv. Hundreds of thousands of tourists come here every year, who have chosen Israel as their holiday destination.
Impressions from visiting Jaffa remain for a lifetime. In the past, the city served as the port of Israel. Now it is considered a popular resort area, as well as the artistic center of Tel Aviv.
The old city impresses its guests with stone streets, walking along which people completely forget about time. Each part of it holds a long-standing secret. Often Israelis choose Jaffa for meetings with friends and relatives. Many cozy cafes in the city are located right on the waterfront. Here, sitting at a table, you can admire the sunset.
Few people know the meaning of the name of the old city. It is believed that from Hebrew it is translated as “beautiful.” This place fully justifies its name. After all, a more beautiful and peaceful city than Jaffa cannot be found in all of Israel!
16. Via Dolorosa (Jerusalem)
Via Dolorosa in the Old City of Jerusalem Vladislav Bezrukov
Via Dolorosa – the path of Jesus Christ to the crucifixion site in the Old City of Jerusalem Lyn Gateley
The ancient Israeli city at the crossroads of cultures and civilizations, the most important center of the three religions – all this is sacred Jerusalem. The sights of the Israeli capital, which have kept a unique history for thousands of years, are attractive for both tourists and pilgrims from all over the world. Of particular significance and deep meaning for believers is the “Way of Sorrow” – this is how Via Dolorosa is often called due to the fact that the Savior is believed to have walked his last journey along it from the place of judgment to Mount Calvary, where he was crucified. Despite the fact that the street has a small length, about 500 meters, along this path there are 14 so-called “stations”, which are churches and chapels. Jesus stopped at each of these places, overcoming the last, most difficult steps before the execution. Therefore, the time of passing this way, with stops at the stations, today takes at least an hour.
17. Azrieli Center (Tel Aviv)
Complex of three skyscrapers and a large mall at their base in downtown Tel Aviv Tomáś Selecký
Studying the sights of Israel briefly, it is still worth paying attention to modern facilities – one of the most interesting is located in the city of Tel Aviv. After all, to visit the Israeli metropolis and not see its beauty from the height of a skyscraper means to deprive yourself of an amazing spectacle and vivid impressions. The most “prominent” building of the city is the center of Azrieli, three huge skyscrapers, the height of which is from 169 to 187 meters – this was the architect's idea. The tallest is the round tower, the middle sister is the triangular one, and the lowest is the square tower. The observation deck, of course, is located in the highest of the buildings, at a height of 182 meters. There, visitors are delivered by a high-speed elevator, which starts from the third floor – this is where you can buy a ticket. And at the base of the towers you can visit one of the largest shopping centers in Israel.
18. Pagoda House (Tel Aviv)
Pagoda House on King Albert Square in Tel Aviv
When planning a travel route, it is worth studying Israel in absentia, sights, travel reviews, and then this country can open up from a fundamentally new side, surprising with objects that are very unusual for Israeli architecture. For example, in the very center of Tel Aviv, there is an unusual Pagoda house built at the beginning of the last century. Despite its name, referring to the concepts of Buddhism, this building combines an incredible number of architectural styles, from the elements of the Middle Ages to the architecture of Greek temples and Spanish motifs. And the pyramid crowns all this creation, like the roof of a Japanese pagoda – it is this part of the structure that provided it with an unusual name. The mansion is also interesting in that it became the first residential building in the city, where an elevator was installed. Today, the house has been skillfully restored and turned into a villa, inside which there is a cinema hall, a swimming pool, a wine cellar, and a special computerized system controls the premises.
19. Al-Aqsa Mosque (Jerusalem)
Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem
Summer in Israel is distinguished by sweltering heat, and early spring, on the contrary, is devoid of stuffiness and heat. March is an excellent time for active excursions and pilgrimages: the roads in the country are free, there is still time before Easter, so the numerous shrines are still quiet and not crowded. When looking for what to see in Israel in March, it is easy to make a choice – for example, go to the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, which is one of the most important symbols of Islam, revered by Muslim shrines. This mosque is huge, it has vast interior halls that can accommodate up to 5 thousand believers at the same time. Unlike most Muslim temples, there are no restrictions on religion for visitors – anyone can enter inside, as long as the attire is modest and closed. The exceptions are Fridays and holidays, when only Muslims are allowed into al-Aqsa.
20. Basilica of the Annunciation (Nazareth)
Snow-white statue of the Virgin Mary (Virgin Mary) in the courtyard of the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth
When asked why it is necessary to visit Israel, any truly believing Christian will give an answer without hesitation. Where, if not in Nazareth, will there be an opportunity to touch the sacred history of the life of God's son? And Nazareth is also the city of the Good News, where an angel appeared to the Virgin Mary, announcing the future birth from her flesh of the Savior of all mankind. This event in the city is dedicated to the Church of the Annunciation – the largest Catholic cathedral, which was erected on the very spot where the gospel event took place. The building of the basilica is a modern building of 1969, but originally there was an early Byzantine church in its place. The basilica consists of 2 levels, the lower of which contains the Grotto of the Annunciation – presumably, the dwelling of the Blessed Virgin was here. All the walls, both outside and inside the temple, are completely painted with scenes related to the life of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ.
Official website: https://www.custodia
21. Basilica of the Nativity (Bethlehem)
“Gate of Humility” – the main (western) entrance to the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem Neil Ward
View of the Greek Orthodox altar of the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem Bashar Nayfeh
In the city of Bethlehem, one of the most valuable Christian shrines, the Basilica of the Nativity of Christ, rises on two oblong hills. It was erected almost one and a half thousand years ago over the grotto, where, according to legend, Jesus Christ was born. The founder of the church was the Holy Empress Helena, who in the 330s, on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, laid the first stone here. In 529, the basilica was destroyed by fire, and then, during the reign of Emperor Justinian, it was restored. Today, inside the basilica there are several objects of great value in terms of faith. For example, in the Cave of the Nativity, the place of the birth of the Savior is marked with a 14-pointed silver star, to the right of the descent into the cave is the miraculous icon of the Mother of God, and next to the marble throne is the descent to the manger in which Mary laid the baby Savior after his birth.< /p>
22. Israeli National Museum of Science or Madatek (Haifa)
Israel National Museum of Science, Technology and Space (MadaTek) main entrance ToastieIL
Aviation Exhibition at the Madatek building in Haifa זאב זמיר
Exhibits on the territory of the Madatek Museum Science Park in Haifa Longmotion
The Israeli National Museum was founded in the 1980s and is located in a historic building from 1912, which previously housed the Technion, an institute of technology. 11 years after the construction of the building, Albert Einstein himself visited the institute, who personally planted one of the palm trees in the adjacent courtyard – this tree grows there to this day. Today, interactive expositions dedicated to the basic principles of physics and natural sciences are demonstrated within these walls. The museum exposition is presented in several halls, each of which is based on various physical phenomena – for example, here you can visit the hall of holograms, the mirror room, the hall of illusions and other interesting expositions. Two new buildings are also located next to the historical building of the museum, where temporary exhibitions are shown.
Official website: https://www.madatech
23. Caesarea National Park (Hai District)
Old harbor and ancient Caesarea beach in Caesarea National Park
The arched passage of the city street in the national park of Caesarea
Speaking of Caesarea today, some mean a seaside town with a developed tourist infrastructure, others mean a National Park with an impressive complex of archaeological sites, and it is noteworthy that both sides are right. In the neighborhood of the modern settlement of Caesarea Palestinian, existing since 1977, lie the ruins of a tourist attraction – the Caesarea National Park. This is the old city center, which many centuries ago naturally went under water. Therefore, a fair part of its facilities today are under water, and visitors are offered various options for exploring the surroundings – for example, swimming and diving. From a historical point of view, the most interesting places in the park are the ancient amphitheater, the hippodrome and the port, which played a big role in the Jewish-Christian history.
Official website: https://www.parks. org
24. Rosh HaNikra Grottoes (northern Israel)
View from the cable car at the entrance to the grottoes of Rosh HaNikra on the Mediterranean Sea in northern Israel
Inside the Rosh HaNikra Sea Cave
One of the most beautiful natural corners of Israel is located in the very north of the country, right on the Mediterranean coast. The grottoes of Rosh HaNikra were created by nature itself – for many years, the sea element washed out the space in the soft chalk rock of the coastal cliff. At one time, the effect was supplemented by tremors that created cracks in the rock, forming picturesque caves with emerald water. A funicular descends to the entrance to the caves, and along some of the equipped corridors of the grottoes, bridges with railings are laid, the backlight works. Here you can also take a trip on a special small steam locomotive through the tunnels laid by the British back in the 40s of the last century, watch a historical film about these places in a cinema equipped right in the cave, and when you exit the grottoes, you can see beautiful panoramas of the Mediterranean coastline .
25. Dead Sea (Israel)
Salt deposits on the coast of the Dead Sea
Guests of the Promised Land do not have to be bored all year round, and in any of the seasons there are no questions about what to see in Israel in November. This period is ideal for those who do not like the sweltering summer heat – the temperature of the air and sea water becomes as comfortable as possible, so many people rush to the coast of the Dead Sea in November. The peculiarity of this reservoir is that it is almost 500 meters below the level of the world ocean, and its waters contain trace elements useful for the body – the secret lies in the springs that gush directly from its bottom. Therefore, along the coast there are numerous health centers where treatment with thermal mineral water is carried out. Sea holidays can be diversified by hiking – for example, to the Nahal Dragot canyon, ideal for extreme tourism. The path along the canyon runs through sheer cliffs, narrow passages, ups and downs, along the river that flows into the Dead Sea. Read also about the best sights of Abkhazia and get inspired for your future travels!