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Jerusalem Site Descriptions and Suggested Routes for Embassy Tours

Use the above buttons to visit other pages related to Embassy tours. If you go to other pages on my website, you will need to use the original links you received to return to the Embassy tour pages. Scroll down for suggested routes.

Jaffa Gate
Leah Bowman Jaffa Gate

Jaffa Gate

This key entrance to the Old City is a wonderful place to start tours. We will meet in the plaza just before the gate. If it’s raining, I will send you a link to a location inside the Mamilla Mall nearby where we can start with a brief introduction. We can learn about the history of this great city, by looking closely at the stones, and about the geopolitics of the area from the view we see here.

Holy Sepulcher

Church of the Holy Sepulcher

The Church is revered by many Christians as the location of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus. The Church has been built and rebuilt since the 4th century and it echoes with history, artwork, processions, prayer, and fascinating stories.

 

For those who don't mind a few extra flights of stairs, it's wonderful to start our visit on the rooftop of the Church. We will start from Station 9 (of the 14 Stations of the Cross/Via Delorosa) on the rooftop, walk through the Ethiopian Chapels and then arrive at the main entrance of the Church. The Church contains Stations 9-14, and we will see Stations 1-8 later on in the tour which works best with the layout of the Old City. We will see all the key areas of the Church as well as some of the off-the-beaten-path chapels. There can be long lines (one hour wait or more) to enter the "Edicule" the actual burial place and also to touch the place where the cross stood on Cavalry/Golgotha. It's best to plan to return to the Church on your own later in the evening when lines are shorter if you would like to enter those places.  Sometimes, there are processions in the church so certain areas are blocked off; however, it's always exciting to see them, even if they limit access to some chapels. If visiting with elderly relatives or very small children, the Priests might allow you enter more quickly, particularly if you show them diplomatic ID. No entrance fee.

Tower of David

Tower of David Lookout

The rooftop of this ancient fortress has the best panoramic view of Jerusalem including the 4 quarters, the Mount of Olives, the Temple Mount, and modern Jerusalem outside the Old City.  As 19th  British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once said, "The view of Jerusalem is the history of the world; it is more. It is the history of Heaven and Earth". We can go up to the rooftop for a special rate of 10 shekels pp. (Pay at the site in cash or by credit card).

Armenian Quarter Shop

Armenian Quarter

Armenian Christians have a unique history in Jerusalem and they have made handmade ceramics an iconic symbol of Jerusalem.

We will take a short walk through the Armenian Quarter which is on the way to other key sites. There's an option to visit one of Jerusalem’s Armenian Ceramic workshops. If you would like a brief tour of the workshop with the owner, it’s best to buy something (minimum 50 shekels). If you would like to just browse the shop, it’s not necessary to buy anything. There's a wonderful new museum about Armenians in Jerusalem and the Armenian genocide. 

Cardo
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Golden Menorah
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Jewish Quarter

Today home to 4,000 Jewish residents, many schools, shops and restaurants, the Jewish Quarter dates back 750 years. Due to the destruction of the Jewish Quarter in the war in 1948, Jewish homes from 2,000 years ago and other amazing archaeology was discovered underground after the 6 Day War in 1967.  It's a perfect place for a coffee break or a quick lunch and is on the way to other key sites.

El Aksa and Southern Excavations

Southern Excavations/Davidson Center

This site is a great place to understand the significance of the Temple Mount to Jews, Christians and Muslims - highly recommended! (Going up on the Temple Mount is possible, but it is complicated to include into a tour, because of the limited opening hours, long lines and its location at the bottom of the Old City. If you would like to go up, it's best to go on your own around 7:30am.)  On every tour, we will see the Temple Mount from various vantage points.  It's possible to see the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount and a view of Al Aksa Mosque either by entering the Davidson Center/Archaeological Park or by walking around the perimeter. There's an option for a 2,000 year old tunnel that leads to this site. Entrance fee for going inside the site: 30 shekels per adult, paid in cash or by credit card on arrival there.

Western Wall and Dome of the Rock

Western Wall Plaza

The Western Wall (sometimes called the Wailing Wall) is the most visited site in Jerusalem. Most days it's possible to approach the ancient stones, and anyone who would like can place a prayer note, as has been a tradition for hundreds of years. It's possible to see hidden parts of the wall and learn about the history of the Temple Mount over the last few thousand years in the Western Wall Tunnel Tour. The Western Wall Tunnel tour is a group tour with a local site guide for 35 shekels pp that can be good to do on your own. I can guide a private tour of the tunnels for 18 people or more.

 

On most tours, we can get a closer view of the gold Dome of the Rock from a nearby 700 year old gate of the Temple Mount called the Cotton Market Gate.

Mt of Olives
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Tomb of the Prophets
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Mount of Olives

Lookout from the Mount of Olives – Picture perfect view of the Temple Mount and Old City.

Chapel of the Ascension – possible location of Ascension of Jesus and it was later turned into a mosque. (5 shekels pp cash)

Pater Noster – the first Church on the Mt of Olives, today is dedicated to the Lord’s prayer. The Lord’s prayer is written in over 100 languages on ceramic tiles in the courtyard. (9 shekels pp cash)

Tomb of the Prophets – this 2,500 year old Jewish burial cave gives us a better insight into the burial of Jesus and the layout of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. (5 shekels cash pp). A little bit of adventure!

Gethsemane and Church of All Nations – The Garden where Jesus prayed the last night and was arrested and a church was built and re-built in the same place over the generations. See almost 2,000 year old Olive trees and Church of All Nations with emblems of different countries who donated to rebuild the Church in the 1920s.

Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene – a fascinating part of Russia’s Orthodox Christian history as well as Jerusalem’s history. Church is only open Tuesday and Thursday mornings 10-12.

Tomb of Mary – Mary, Joseph and Mary's parents are memorialized in this ancient tomb as well as a Crusader Queen.

Via Delorosa

For over 1600 years Christian visitors to Jerusalem have been walking in the footsteps of Jesus from the Trial to the Crucifixion. Amazingly, Jerusalem still looks similar to the ancient times. The current route is 800 years old and it includes the Muslim and Christian Quarters. The area can be hectic with cars and motor cycles and too much walking for younger visitors or anyone with mobility issues so often it's good to just see part of it. On Friday afternoons the Franciscans do a procession through all the Stations 1-14 including the Stations that are inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Processions and prayer service times in Jerusalem: click here.

Via delorosa
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station 3
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Old City Shop

Souq (or Shuk) - Old City Market

Browsing Old City shops can be a fun part of a Jerusalem tour and a great way to meet local residents in all the quarters. I do not take commissions; but rather, I ask owners to give you a discount instead. Some shop owners offer better customer service than others, so I will try to direct you to the best  places. Of course, bargaining is part of the atmosphere, so always feel free to ask for an even better deal. Some shops have unique items from Jerusalem or nearby such as antiquities, local textiles and jewelry, handmade Syrian wood furniture, olive wood Manger Scenes, handmade Armenian ceramics, and artistic Judaica, in addition to the fun t-shirts and magnets. Let me know if you are looking for something particular. I am happy to entertain children so parents can enjoy a few quiet moments to shop. If you would like to browse after the tour, I can point out a few places as we walk by. The shops are spread throughout many of the key Old City sites, so we can't avoid them completely, but we can just walk by without stopping inside if you prefer.

City of David

The City of David

This is an active, fun and fascinating site for kids and teens and anyone interested in Biblical archaeology. For a detailed description of the site and tour options including a challenging but fun water tunnel click here.

 

Tours are private tours, custom designed for your group. Here are some suggested routes that work well with the layout of the Old City. Most tours will start and conclude near Jaffa Gate. Guiding fee, entrance fees and transportation costs will be detailed on your personal itinerary before the tour. Itinerary will include suggested changes in the event of heavy rain.

 

All tours can be modified for children or anyone with mobility limitations. All tours can include games and prizes to engage children ages 5 - 11 in the content of the tour. I can arrange transportation round trip from Tel Aviv if required. Check out these options below. Too many details to sort out in these lists? Or do you have something else in mind? No problem! Just write to me and I can suggest an itinerary for you. Contact me at tourguideleah@gmail.com or Whatsapp +972-50-655-8670.

4 Hour Tour - **Popular Route**

Classic 4 Quarters of Old City and Key Holy Sites - Walking Tour - highly recommended!

Jaffa Gate

Tower of David Lookout - 10 shekels pp.

Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Christian Quarter (includes Stations of the Cross 10-14)

The Cardo - Christian Pilgrimage thorughout the ages

Jewish Quarter - snack break

Western Wall Plaza

View of the Dome of the Rock in the Muslim Quarter

Tour ends near Jaffa Gate in the Old City Souq.

Note: Tour can include a scavenger hunt game for ages 5 -11 and is best to follow the same route but as a 6 hour tour instead of 4 hours for families to allow enough time for breaks and educational games. It can also include the Western Wall Tunnels in 6 hour tour.

6 Hour Tour - ** Popular Route**

Classic Old City Tour and Mount of Olives - highly recommended for all ages!

Meet at Jaffa Gate or Mamilla Mall. Drive to the Mount of Olives

Spectacular Lookout from the top of the Mount of Olives

Tomb of the Prophets - 10 shekels pp.

Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations

Driver will take us to Jaffa Gate

Coffee/snack break 

Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Cardo - Christian Pilgrimage throughout the ages

Lunch break in the Jewish Quarter

Western Wall Plaza

View of the Dome of the Rock from the Muslim Quarter

Tour will end at Jaffa Gate or in the Old City Market

Note: driver is paid at a rate of up to 225 shekels per hour for up to 2 hours for up to 5 passengers.

 

4 Hour Tour

Highlights of Jerusalem (minimal walking) - Walking Tour with a Driver to Assist

Meet at the Mamilla Mall near Jaffa Gate

Drive through some of the Armenian and Jewish Quarters

Mount of Olives including the Lookout over the Temple Mount

Western Wall Plaza

Church of the Holy Sepulcher - Brief tour of the Church

Note: this route requires a driver at an hourly rate of 225 shekels for approx. 3 hours of the 4 hour tour.

This is the best route for anyone with mobility limitations. It does include some stairs/ramps.

It's possible to do most of this route with a wheelchair.

4 Hour Tour

Off-the-Beaten-Path - Option 1 - Walking Tour

Tower of David Lookout over all of Jerusalem

"Kishle" - New Excavations of the Tower of David (possible site of trial of Jesus) - 20 shekels pp.

Ramparts walk around the Armenian and Jewish Quarters - 20 shekels pp.

Mt Zion including the Room of the Last Supper and Traditional Tomb of King David

Snack break in the Jewish Quarter

Hurva Synagogue - The story of the Jewish Quarter - 14 shekels pp.

Note: This can be a 6 hour tour including the Western Wall Plaza and Church of the Holy Sepulcher or an 8 hour tour also including the Western Wall Tunnels. 

 

Off-the-Beaten-Path - Option 2 - Walking Tour

Unknown Stories of the Mamilla Mall - Insights into Jerusalem's history

Ramparts walk around the Christian and Muslim Quarters from Jaffa Gate to the

New Gate or Damascus Gate - 20 shekels pp.

Ancient Jerusalem Underneath the Sisters of Zion Convent on the Via Delorosa - 10 pp

How about coffee and apple strudel or a beer at the famous Austrian Hospice (hotel)?

Mediterranean Hotel where Mark Twain Stayed in 1867

Note: This can be a 6 hour tour including the Western Wall Plaza and Church of the Holy Sepulcher

6 Hour Tour

Classic Tour of the Old City, Key Holy Sites and Mt of Olives

(for good walkers) - Walking Tours

Option 1:

Jaffa Gate

Tower of David Lookout

Armenian Quarter

Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Christian Quarter - includes Stations of the Cross 9-14.

Jewish Quarter

Snack or Lunch Break

View of Southern and Eastern Walls of the Temple Mount (from behind the Temple Mount) and View of the Mount of Olives or 2,000 year old tunnel from Biblical Jerusalem - 30 shekels per adult.

Western Wall Plaza

View of the Dome of the Rock in the Muslim Quarter

Tour ends near Jaffa Gate in the Old City Souq.

Note: This route gives you insights into the fascinating history of Jerusalem as well as seeing the key sites.

 

8 Hour Tour

Old City and Mount of Olives in Depth (for good walkers) - Walking Tour

Not recommended for hot summer months.

We will meet at your hotel or other convenient location

Driver will drop us off at the top of the Mount of Olives - 200 shekels for up to 5 people.

Walk down and tour the Mount of Olives: optional sites - Pater Noster, Lookout, Tomb of the Prophets, Gethsemane 

Snack break at the City of David

2,000 year old tunnel to the Southern Excavations - 30 shekels pp.

Western Wall Plaza

View of the Dome of the Rock

Lunch in the Jewish Quarter

Church of the Holy Sepulcher  

Note: This is a very full day! Don't make too many plans for that evening.

8 Hour Tour

Modern and Ancient Jerusalem - Walking Tour 

Yad Vashem - Israel's National and International Holocaust Memorial

Mt Herzl National Leaders Cemetery - burial place of Golda Meir, Yitzchak Rabin, Shimon Peres and others.

Light Rail Train to Market

Snack at Mahane Yehuda Market 

Light Rail Train to the Old City

Jaffa Gate

Tower of David Lookout - 10 shekels pp. - time permitting

Church of the Holy Sepulcher

The Cardo and the Jewish Quarter

Lunch in the Old City

Western Wall Plaza

View of the Dome of the Rock

Tour ends at Jaffa Gate or in the Old City Souq.

Note: This is a very full day! Don't make too many plans for that evening.

2 Hour Tour

Key Holy Sites - Walking Tour or with Driver to Assist

Tower of David Lookout - Amazing view of all the key sites from above! 10 shekels pp. 

Church of the Holy Sepulcher - brief visit, not a full tour of the Church

Western Wall Plaza

View of the Dome of the Rock

Walk through the Souq to Jaffa Gate

Note: If you only have 2 hours - this is the way to go. For anyone with time and or mobility limitations, it's possible to have a driver for 225 shekels per hour.

Is this list too overwhelming to figure out which tour is best for you? Or do you have something else in mind? No problem! Just write to me and I will help you decide on a route that matches your schedule, interests and must-see sites. 

Contact me at tourguideleah@gmail.com or Whatsapp +972-50-655-8670.

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