Jerusalem Tourist Attractions
Top Tourist Attractions in Jerusalem
In 688 B.C, the Temple was cleansed, walls were built round the town and a tunnel dug to secure its water supply. In 628 B.C. Josiah made Jerusalem the only legitimate Jewish place of worship (2 Kings 22f.). In 587 the town was captured by Nebuchadnezzar and many of the inhabitants were carried off to Babylon.
After the end of the Babylonian Captivity, in 520 B.C., the Second Temple was built. In 445 B.C. Nehemiah built a new town wall.In 332 B.C. Jerusalem came under Greek rule and was increasingly Hellenised. The desecration of the Temple by Antiochus IV sparked off the Maccabean rising of 167 B.C. Under the Maccabees and the Hasmoneans the town expanded westward on to Mount Zion. In 63 B.C. it passed into Roman control, and in 37 B.C. Herod, an Idumaean, became king of the Jews. He rebuilt and embellished the Temple platform and equipped the city with palaces, a citadel, a theater, a hippodrome, an agora and other buildings on the Hellenistic and Roman model. After his death in 4 B.C. Jerusalem became the city of the high priests, under Roman procurators. From 41 to 44 it was ruled by Agrippa I, who extended the city northward, building the Third (North) Wall. In A.D. 70 Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus, to be rebuilt by Hadrian from 135 onwards under the name of Aelia Capitolina.Jerusalem became a Christian city in 326, when the Emperor Constantine and his mother Helen built a number of churches. The Empress Eudoxia, wife of Theodosius II, who lived in Jerusalem from 444 to 460, and the Emperor Justinian (527-565) also built churches in the city. This era came to an end when Jerusalem was captured by the Persians in 614. It was recovered by the Byzantines in 627, but in 638 it was conquered by the armies of Islam. Thereafter the Omayyad Caliphs built the Dome of the Rock and the El-Aqsa Mosque.A further period of Christian rule began in 1099 with the conquest of the city by the Crusaders, who built many churches, palaces and hospices. Islam returned to Jerusalem, however, when Saladin captured the city in 1187, and it remained in Muslim hands under the Mamelukes (1291- 1517) and the Ottomans (1519-1917), who built the present town walls (1537). In the 19th century the Christian powers of Europe, which had supported the Turkish Sultan against the Egyptian ruler Ibrahim Pasha, gained increasing influence from 1840 onwards, and numbers of churches, schools, hospitals and orphanages were now built. The Pope re-established the Latin Patriarchate, which had originally been founded in 1099 but was dissolved in 1291. In 1845 a joint Anglo-Prussian episcopal see was established. The German Society of the Temple founded a settlement in Jerusalem (near the station) in 1873, and in 1881 members of an American-Swedish group established the American Colony (north of the Damascus Gate).After being banned for many centuries from living in Jerusalem, Jews began to return to the city in the 13th century. In 1267 Rabbi Moshe Ben Nahman Ramban (Nachmanides) founded a synagogue. In 1488 Jews from Egypt settled in Jerusalem, and they were followed from 1492 onwards by Sephardic Jews from Spain. The first Ashkenazis (500 Polish Jews led by Rabbi Hanassi) came in 1701. In the 18th century there were 1,000 Sephardis (the Jewish elite) and 700 Ashkenazis in the city. The pace of immigration increased in the 19th century. The first Jewish hospital was established in 1854; in 1855 Sir Moses Montefiore founded the first Jewish settlement outside the Old City, still identifiable by its windmill; in 1868 Jews from North Africa built Mahane Israel (at the corner of King David and Agron Streets); and the settlement of Mea Shearim was established in 1874. The officially recognized representative of the Jews - divided as they were into different sects - was the Sephardic Chief Rabbi.In December 1917 British forces under General Allenby entered the city, and on July first 1920 it became the seat of the British High Commissioner in the mandated territory of Palestine.In 1925 the Hebrew University was established.The United Nations resolved in 1947 that Palestine should be divided between the Arabs and the Jews and that Jerusalem should be internationalized. After the end of the British Mandate in 1948 Israeli and Jordanian forces fought for control of the city, and under a cease-fire agreement in 1949 it was partitioned. In 1950 the Israelis made West Jerusalem capital of their state; then after the Six Day War of 1967 they annexd East Jerusalem. There was further trouble in 1980, when the Israelis declared Jerusalem, including the Arab Old City, to be the "eternal capital of Israel".The Israeli-Arab conflict intensified after the beginning of the intifada in December 1987. Since then Arab shopkeepers in the Old City have continued to close in the afternoon, and there are not infrequently violent clashes in Jerusalem between Palestinians and Israelis. The worst incident so far has been the massacre on the Temple Mount in October 1990.Jerusalem is home to many artistic and cultural attractions. The Israel Museum, a premier art museum, attracts over one-million visitors each year to its twenty-acre complex - one-third of the visitors are international tourists. Exhibits include the Dead Sea scrolls, an outdoor sculpture garden, the Youth Wing as well as Israeli and European art. Yad Vashem is another prominent monument in Jerusalem dedicated to the victim's of the holocaust. It houses the world's largest library of Holocaust-related books and articles.As of 2000, Jerusalem had 1,204 synagogues, 158 churches and 73 mosques. There are many notable landmarks that are sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians including the Western Wall, Golgotha (site of the crucifixion), the Dome of the Rock and the Cenacle.
The Old City of Jeruslaem is surrounded by a 4km/2.5mile long circuit of walls 12m/40ft high built in 1537 by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent
. Two main streets, David Street (in its eastern section called Chain Street), running east from the Jaffa Gate, and Suq Khan ez-Zeit, running south from the Damascus Gate, intersect in the center of the Old City, dividing it into four quarters - the Christian Quarter to the northwest, the Armenian Quarter to the southwest, the Muslim Quarter to the northeast and the Jewish Quarter to the southeast. The streets are narrow, irregular and frequently vaulted. The newer part of Jerusalem, to the west of the Old City, has a modern aspect, with office blocks, ministries and the Parliament Building, museums and also extensive parks and gardens. Here too is the main shopping district, centered on Ben Yehuda Street (pedestrian zone). Since 1967, when the city was reunited, numerous satellite towns have been established in the surrounding area, usually distinguished by their functional but not particularly attractive architecture.Bus route 99The 99 bus is specially designed to cater for tourists. There are frequent services on a route which takes in all the city's main sights, with over thirty stops (including one at the Jaffa Gate).Opening TimesMost museums, Archeological sites, etc., are closed or have restricted opening times on Friday afternoon and Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. Admission tickets for these days must be bought in advance.The Old City of Jerusalem and its walls were desingated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.
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