Israel Museum#3 in Best Things To Do in Jerusalem
Founded in 1965, the Israel Museum is the country's largest cultural institution and one of the world's leading art and archeology museums. Sprawling across 20 acres, the Israel Museum houses roughly 500,000 artifacts, from contemporary sculpture to ancient artifacts. Most visitors come for the legendary Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of 972 texts, which are believed to have been written between 150 and 70 B.C. The scrolls are displayed—along with other historic texts—in the Shrine of the Book, which sits underground and is covered by a white, domelike structure.
Many travelers say that a trip to Jerusalem without seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls is a wasted one, but don't forget the rest of the museum's galleries. As one TripAdvisor user puts it: "Everyone goes here for The Dead Sea Scrolls, but it has an impressive art collection and incredible antiquities." Thanks to a massive renovation completed in 2010, the collections now have a sleek new home.
You'll find the Israel Museum along Ruppin Boulevard in West Jerusalem, just a short walk north of the Old City's Jaffa Gate. The museum's hours vary widely; you can find the most up-to-date schedule on the Israel Museum's website. Admission costs 50 ILS for adults (roughly $13 USD) for adults and 25 ILS (around $6.50 USD) for children.
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#1 Old City
Chances are that you'll spend much of your time here. The Old City is home to many of Jerusalem's most sought-after attractions, including the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Temple Mount. Originally built by King David in 1004 B.C., the walled Old City comprises four distinct areas: the Jewish Quarter (or the Cardo), the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, and the Armenian Quarter. Each quarter exudes its own unique atmosphere, with religious sites, shops, and food offerings reflecting its respective heritage. Yet the Old City's winding alleyways and ancient stone plazas allow mixing and mingling among these cultures, making a very eclectic environment.
It's easy to lose yourself (both metaphorically and geographically) in the Old City, but make sure you devote some attention to its boundaries. You can access the Old City from seven entryways: the New Gate, Damascus Gate, Herod's Gate, Lions' Gate, Dung Gate, Zion Gate, and Jaffa Gate. Each doorway marks a significant era of Jerusalem's history. For example, Jaffa Gate is where the Tower of David (the city's primary defense point) can be found.
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