Beautiful Paradoxical Jerusalem has captured my heart.
I spent 5 full days exploring Jerusalem and all of it’s intricate layers of seemingly opposite character. I am sharing some of the highlights from my trip and hope you will be inspired to explore Jerusalem for your self.
If you want to experience a large dose of the seemingly contradictory character of Jerusalem all at once, then let me suggest a visit to Mahane Yehuda. More commonly known as “The Shuk”, Mahane Yehuda is Jerusalem’s largest marketplace. By day, you will find vendors of every kind pedaling everything from fresh baked goods, fruits and vegetables, fish, and meat, to textiles, and shoes. It is a hot spot for both locals and tourists.
It is here that traditional combines with trendy. As the sun goes down, live music begins to fill the streets as the vibrant day market transforms into a throbbing night life scene. Evenings are also the best time to enjoy the art scene at the Shuk. The metal shutters and doors are covered in street art by the artist Solomon Souza.
The Israel Museum
Another great place to experience beautiful paradoxical Jerusalem is the Isreal Museum. The largest museum in Israel is a beautiful collection of modern art and prehistory artifacts. You could wander around for days and still find something new to see and explore. Make sure you allow plenty of time for your visit. I was completely in awe of the juxtaposition of the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls housed the ultra modern building known as the Shrine of the Book.
Theism and Atheism
I found it most ironic that our tour guide who took us to several of the most holy religious places on earth was an atheist. His knowledge of the Christian and Jewish religions was mind boggling consider he is not a believer. I appreciated his patience with my endless questions and really enjoyed digging into his point of view in contrast with my own and considering the stage for our conversation. It does make the point that regardless of your religious persuasion you will truly be mesmerized by the religious and cultural history of the city of Jerusalem. Make sure you go to the Western Wall a.k.a. the wailing wall and the Church of the Hoy Sepulchre. To stand where historical figures such as Jesus once stood, to pray if so invclined at the only remaining original wall of the ancient city of Jerusalem, and to visit the sight where it is believed was his tomb our very powerful experiences.
A friend recently asked me, “Where did you stay in Jerusalem?” Her face when I told her that I stayed in a gorgeous hotel right in the heart of Jerusalem was priceless. I stayed at the Inbal Hotel and would also recommend the Abraham Hostel. Read more about my stay at Inbal.
Jerusalem is for Foodies
I would be remiss not to share that the food was amazing. You can certainly get your fill of hummus but you will also find contemporary twists to traditional Israeli cuisine throughout the city. I recommend several places. First, the Modern Restaurant at the Israel Museum. Feast your eyes on this:
Described as a veteran Jerusalemite food institution, the Adom Restaurant serves up exquisite seafood and international cuisine. It is located in an area of the city known as the First Station, a cultural food and shopping area built around the original railway station. Within walking distance of the Inbal Hotel, this area offers yet another place where tourists and locals can mix it up and enjoy beautiful paradoxical Jerusalem.
One of the most rewarding aspects of travel is to truly experience and learn what makes a place unique. Not only do I get to experience this reward of travel I also get to share it with you. My hope is to inspire you to go see for yourself what truths and treasures await you on every new adventure and in every new destination.