The Holy City of Jerusalem is the most significant for Muslims, Christians, and Jews. It almost certainly the best-known religious city on Earth. You will find many monuments in Jerusalem because of this city itself rich in culture and history. Any single place can you find such religious monuments in Jerusalem sacred to not just one, but three major world religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. This compact ancient city, surrounded by a wall more than 450 years ago, and home to one that is among the holiest of Jewish sites, never fails to amaze tourists across the world with the extraordinary religious history contained and very much alive within. Here are some important monuments in Jerusalem:
List of Monuments in Jerusalem
1. Dome of the Rock
Islamic followers across the world believe that this is the place where Mohammed ascended to heaven and it is the famous monuments in Jerusalem where Abraham chose to sacrifice his son, this iconic building has great significance to Muslims as well as Christians alike and it is one of Jerusalem’s most visited landmarks. Constructed in 691 AD by Abd el-Malek, the structure’s golden dome is visible across the city. It is said that the Dome of the Rock was converted from an Islamic building into a Christian church.
2. Temple Mount
This holiest monument in Jerusalem of significance to both Muslims and Jews. This is the place where the 2,000-year-old Western Wall, part of one of the two original temples that once sat on this site, still stands. Also known as the Noble Sanctuary, highlights at the Temple Mount include the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. For Jews, this is where the world was created while the Temple is also mentioned in the Koran and the New Testament.
3. Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Christians gather here for services and liturgies, it is also a site of pilgrimage. It was built at the end of the ‘Way of Pain’ and consisting of various chapels. Some of those chapels house tombs, the landmark that is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is hailed by a number of churches to be the site where Jesus was buried. The historical monument in Jerusalem was formerly occupied by a basilica constructed by Constantine in the 4th century, but construction on today’s site commenced in the Crusade era after the basilica was razed by the Persians.
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4. Chapel of the Ascension
This well-visited spot has been commemorated with a pretty octagonal-shaped chapel, thought by Christians to be the site where Christ ascended to heaven. During Jerusalem’s Islamic period, the Chapel of the Ascension was converted into a mosque. If you are exploring this monument of Jerusalem you may also pay a visit to the nearby burial site of the Christian Saint Pelagia.
5. Tomb of Virgin Mary
Tomb of Virgin Mary is one of the most famous monuments in Jerusalem amongst all. Protecting the sacred tomb of the Virgin Mary is a church, just one of a series of landmarks that have sat on this spot to shelter the 1st-century tomb below. Tourists across the world can also access the beautiful Tomb of the Virgin Mary via 50 steps. It also provides passage to the resting site of Queen Melisende and a chapel built in commemoration of Mary’s parents.
6. Belz Synagogue
The Belz Synagogue is the largest synagogue in the city of Jerusalem. It has a capacity to hold 6,000 worshippers and features a ritual bath, a Yeshivah, and a Rabbinical court, making it one of the city’s most prestigious landmarks, sites of worship and Jewish monuments in Jerusalem. Visiting Jews can attend Shabbat services on Fridays and admire the Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers and the ark’s 100 Torah scrolls before or after services.
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7. The Western Wall
The Western Wall is also located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It is the holiest place in the world for the Jewish people. It is the last remaining section of the Second Temple, which was built as an extension to the temple by King Herod in 20 BCE. Everyone can pay a visit here in this top monument in Jerusalem. Any visitors should dress modestly whether they be Jewish or not. It is customary for visitors to write a prayer on a piece of paper and place it in the crevices of the wall. You can enter the wall alone or you can go with a guided tour, and also explore the excavation sites and tunnels beneath the Western Wall.
8. Homage to Jerusalem
The Homage to Jerusalem is one of Judaism’s most holy sites and one of the must-see monuments in Jerusalem. It forms part of the western flank of the holy site of the Temple Mount. The wall is the imposing remnant of Jerusalem’s Second Temple, which the Romans destroyed in A.D. 70. Despite the temple’s destruction, the divine presence never left according to Jewish tradition. The hush that envelops the plaza in front of it as Jews approach the base of the wall to pray is also captivating while the wall itself stands as an impressive archaeological record from the time of King Herod. To place prayer notes in the wall’s crevices Jews come from all over the world. The Western Wall is a holy site and visitors are expected to don a kippah (small Jewish skullcap) before approaching the wall (kippas are available free of charge at the site). Also, there is a separate area of the wall for female visitors.
9. Mount Zion
Just west of the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem’s Zion Gate connects the Old City to Mount Zion. It is a place that holds sites sacred to Christians and Jews. The Tomb of King David is located here. Romanesque Crusader structure also called the Coenaculum. If you are looking for one of the best monuments in Jerusalem, you must visit it. Also on Mount Zion is Dormition Abbey, which by Catholic tradition is where the Virgin Mary fell into an eternal sleep (Assumption of Mary). Keep in mind: While visiting King David’s Tomb, definitely, you’ll be asked to switch off your cellphones. And if despite the warning you keep yours on, chances are good you will lose the signal as you approach the tomb.
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10. Via Dolorosa
The Via Dolorosa is one of the beautiful monuments in Jerusalem and the most sacred Christian byway in the world. Of the 14 stations, which Christians have been walking for more than a thousand years, the most famous is the Praetorium where Jesus took up the cross and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Those walking the Via Dolorosa which means “way of sorrows” symbolically relive the moments of Christ’s Passion. If you’re walking the Via Dolorosa anytime between April and October, you can expect it to be hot, so be sure to wear a hat to protect you from the sun, and keep hydrated.
11. Old City Walls
The Old City fortifications date from the Ottoman period and nine magnificent gates at junctions within the wall’s length lead into the Old City. The Damascus Gate, Lions’ Gate sometimes called St. Stephen’s Gate is one of the most famous and popular monuments in Jerusalem that leads onto the Mount of Olives outside the city walls. While Jaffa Gate is the main passageway for the Christian Quarter and Zion Gate is the main entry into the Jewish Quarter. Walking the wall ramparts is a wonderful way to experience the Old City. There are two sections that can be walked on: Jaffa Gate heading north to Lion’s Gate or Jaffa Gate heading south to Dung Gate.
12. Central City Sites
Central City Sites is known as one of the iconic monuments in Jerusalem. Northeast from Bar Kochba Square, you reach the Russian Compound, dominated by the green-domed Russian Orthodox Cathedral. On the northeast side of the complex were the Russian consulate and a hospice for women, to the southwest were a hospital, the mission house, and a large hospice for men that lies beyond the cathedral. The buildings are now occupied by various government institutions. The reliefs of lions above the doorway recall the style of Lion of Judah borne by the Abyssinian dynasty, which traced its origins back to the Queen of Sheba.
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