Everything owned or operated by jews in Jerusalem closes at sundown on Friday and doesn't open again until Saturday after sundown, as this is the Jewish day of rest (Shabbat). Even the buses stop running as well as the sheruts from the airport so make sure you are settled in during this time as transportation, shopping, and dining are at a minimum.Related to:
- Religious Travel
- Historical Travel
Under Renovation - Very Crowded
We visited mid October, 2010 and the Church of the Nativity was being renovated. Scaffolding was everywhere which made it difficult to see the true beauty of this church. Good photos were hard to obtain.
Crowds and waiting times are to be expected. However the pushing, shoving and queue jumping was standard for the day. Very disappointing!
Be careful when entering the Grotto, there are 2 flights of stairs, very compact and people doing anything to get there first.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
- Religious Travel
Fires and earthquakes
Fires and earthquakes damaged the Church of the Holy Sepulcher many times.
A fire severely damaged the structure again in 1808, causing the dome of the Rotunda to collapse and smashing the Edicule's exterior decoration. The Rotunda and the Edicule's exterior were rebuilt in 1809–1810. The Russian Emperor Alexander 1 paid 4,5 million rubles for the renovation.
The dome was rebuilt and decorated once again after the 1927 earthquake.
The shrine is supported by scaffolding on the outside due to earthquakes.
The scaffolding on the outside of the structure was put in place to avoid earthquake damage.Add to your Trip Planner
The Jerusalem Syndrome
Its a medically recognised illness! Overwhelmed by the proximity of the Christian and Biblical references, approx 200 people per year suffer from Jerusalem Syndrome! In a nutshell, they believe they are a biblical character (Jesus is the favourite, but the Virgin Mary and Samson have been known to traipse the streets). It is more common among men and tend to be between the ages of 20-35 (and usually from a strong religious background). Luckily it tends to be temporary! Usual treatment is to leave the country.....Israel was on high alert for the year 2000 and the feared (many) 2nd (or in Jewish terms, the 1st) coming of the Saviour. It never materialised.Add to your Trip Planner
Entering Israel with a Syrian stamp
If you have a Syrian stamp in your passport, you will likely be under greater scrutiny when entering Israel. Relations between the two countries are hostile as Israel has occupied Syria's portion of the Golan Heights since 1967.
As an American who visited Syria, I was detained in a room and questioned for about 30 minutes. (If they did this to me, they will certainly no hesitate to do it to someone of a different nationality.) The Israelis find it hard to believe that someone would actually visit Syria as a bona fide tourist. They asked me where I live, my occupation and all sorts of other questions. I think they even called my work to verify the number I gave them.
If you have nothing to hide, do not panic. Just prepare your information (room reservations, itinerary, etc.) ahead of time. If you have any inconsistencies in your story they will give you problems. If you think you are being unfairly treated, request to speak with someone from your embassy.Add to your Trip Planner
Do NOT avoid the "Yad Vashem-Shock"!
Located on the Mount of Remembrance, in Jerusalem, Yad Vashem is a vast campus with parklike walkways leading to museums, exhibits, archives, monuments, sculptures, and memorials.
Yad Vashem, was founded 1953 by the Israeli Knesset. Since its inception, Yad Vashem has been entrusted with documenting the history of the Jewish people during the Holocaust period, preserving the memory and story of each of the six million victims, and imparting the legacy of the Holocaust for generations to come through its archives, library, school and museums.
Watching the exhibits in the grandious architecture of Yad Vashem creates kind of a shock in each visitor, that must not be avoided. It will lead to the deep conviction, that similar crimes must never happen again and everybody is personally liable to contribute to the achievment of this goal.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Not a City of Peace, but not so dangerous
Jerusalem is sometimes called the City of Peace, and according to some it is the origin of the name Jerusalem. However, throughout the years it has more been a City of War, Fighting and Struggling. And it still is far from a City of Peace.
Despite this, I would not call Jerusalem an unsafe city. Yes, there are bombs and terror acts, but the chance of becoming a victim of this is very small. And yes, in places like Damascus Gate and Haram al Sharif, a little spark can set fire to the place, but as a tourist you will not be an aim of anger.
To be honest, I dont think Jerusalem is more dangerous than Amsterdam, London or Paris. And definitely (like most cities in Arab countries) more safe when you think of pickpocketing, robbery and other cruel crimes.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
CODE RED, REPEAT CODE RED - NEED FULL LOCKDOWN!
jerusalem shuts down like the whole city is in mourning around four or five on friday afternoon until saturday night. about 85% of the restaurants are closed and all the shops and stores are closed. there's noticably very few people on the streets and worst of all, there are no busses in the city or out of the city. you will have a lot more fun if you spend friday night somewhere other than jerusalem. on the other hand, jerusalem has a different feeling about it on saturdays when there's no one about.Related to:
- Family Travel
- School Holidays
Ok, this is a important tip.
As soon as I told everyone that we were going to Israel, everyone got worried about us, some call us crazy and other just told us to be careful (well that is good, it means they really care about us and appreciate us hehehe) but seriously I never felt so safe (except on the road driving, not sure who learn to drive here, if people of Madrid teached them or Madrilians learned from them hehehehe just kidding lol)
The imagines we see on Tv are from certain areas that most of the tourist do not reach (Palestine occupied territory), I am not going to makes comments of who is right or wrong, as for any history there are always two sides of the history. And with the years we all know, that nothing is white or black, and none of us is right 100% ...
Tourist have never been targeted by terrorism here, and I found that most of the places I had been were very safe.
So I really recommend people to visit this country.
By sure I will be back (yes Martin, I have to try your wonderful bbq lol)
Of course common sense is important be careful of your belongs, do not accept anything from strangers, etc...Add to your Trip Planner
Israel and the Palestinians...
Israel and the Palestinians will likely not see the billions in tourism revenue they had expected as violence plagues the Holy Land in what should have been a banner year — the 2000th anniversary of Jesus’ birth was suppose to kick the tourism to top levels, but the hotels are nearly empty and flights out of the country is full. This picture was taken in June 2000 before the riots started and pilgrims where going wild visiting the holy sites in Jerusalem.Add to your Trip Planner
In the Old City don't wear...
In the Old City don't wear clothes that are tight or revealing. ( You will see some people mainly in tour groups who ignore this). Not only do you risk causing offense to all three of the religious groups living here, you risk unwanted male attention. Some women have been spat at, abused and even stoned for this. DO NOT DO IT. ( You will also not be allowed into some of the more Holy sites, if you are not adequately covered.)Add to your Trip Planner
East Jerusalem did not feel very safe walking around at night. I don't know if anyone would have done anything, but a number of people really took notice of my presence, and didn't look too happy about it. One woman sat staring at me, angrily, saying "mashada" (or something like that) over and over again. I just wanted to leave. During the day I didn't have any problems there at all.
New Jerusalem, by stark contrast, felt completely relaxed and safe, even at night. The only unnerving thing was all the guns. I saw a young guy with blue jeans running down the street with an assault rifle slung loosely over his back. Another fat old guy with a skull cap had a pistol clearly tucked in the back of his trousers. There is also security everywhere, which actually made me feel more comfortable. You'll have to get used to being searched when entering anywhere that many Israelis gather together, like restaurants and banks.
I stayed mostly in New Jerusalem, but on the whole I found all citizens of the city to be extremely friendly and welcoming, especially when they learned I was a visitor.Add to your Trip Planner
Everyone visiting Israel is going to worry about terrorism. Whenever Israel is in the news, chances are that it is because of yet another terrorist attack of some kind. It's the reason the city is so empty of tourists at the moment.
The actual risk of bombing or other terrorist action, however, is pretty remote. You're more likely to get killed being run over by a car. It does happen, though, hence the security, but you can reduce your chances of being killed by looking at the statistics:
1. Most bombings happen on Israeli buses and at bus stops, so avoid the bus system.
2. Most bus bombings happen during peak hours to maximise casualties, so avoid the buses during rush hour.
That said, I had to use the bus system at one point, to reach the train station. And I had to use it at rush hour. I did feel a little nervous, but everyone on the bus was extremely friendly and helpful, especially when they figured out I was a foreigner. Learning later that this particular bus, the number 6, had been hit twice by suicide bombers in the last few years was, however, unnerving.
In truth, however, the vast majority of Israelis don't die to terrorist attacks, and they live every day of their lives in the country. You'll only be there for a few days, so relax and enjoy your holiday.Add to your Trip Planner
Old City Hassle
The Old City was fine and very relaxing to stroll around in all quarters. The Lonely Planet guide described the Muslim quarter as being full of hassle, but I didn't notice it. I got as much hassle at Jaffa Gate on the West side, as I did in the Muslim side to the east. I did get a little hassle, but nothing more serious than one overly insistent shop keeper and an unwanted and persistent guide.
Some tips for avoiding hassle:
1. Don't look at the shopkeepers or what they are selling, unless you are interested.
2. If they do talk to you, be polite, but make it clear that they are wasting their time. Be firm.
3. Don't pull out your map at the entrances to the Old City unless you want to attract the attentions of an unofficial guide.Add to your Trip Planner
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