I’m happy when people contact me looking for a multi-day itinerary based from Jerusalem. It’s definitely worth a few days if you have the time. I’d like to share one itinerary that I guided for clients a couple of weeks ago. Of course, this itinerary is just to give you the idea – when you hire me as your guide you get a personalized itinerary that matches your interests.
We started with an overview of Jerusalem from the promenade at Armon HaNatziv, learned about the aquaduct that brought water to the city from Hasmonean times (100 BCE). From there we drove to Herodium for a comprehensive tour: the lower city (pool, Roman bath, monumental building, Byzantine church) outside the park and the palace/fortress on the manmade mountain top built by King Herod including the latest excavation by Netzer of the tomb and Roman theater discovered on the north-east side of the mountain.
Visit to Gush Etzion (Etzion Bloc) to learn about the history of the Gush and memorial to the defenders of Kibbutz Kfar Etzion in 1948. Lunch at a lovely restaurant called Gavna in the forest of Kibbutz Massuot Yitzhak with a view all the way to the coastal plain.
Visit to Hebron and the Cave of Machpela, that Abraham purchased to bury Sarah in which our forefathers and 3/4 mothers are buried. The building over the cave was built by Herod. Walk around the city to try to understand the current political reality.
Walking tour of the Old City covering the 4 quarters, the 3 religions and 3000 years of history, including Herodian, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Crusader periods. Views of the city from above and exploring underground. Tastes of the city for lunch.
Visit the Israel museum to see the 2nd Temple model of Jerusalem. Tour of the Shrine of the Book, the unique architecture, the exhibits of artifacts from Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Opportunity to stroll through the Sculpture garden.
Visit the City of David, the walled Jebusite city captured by King David in 1004BCE and made the capital of his kingdom. Learn about the extensive archaeology going on there and the politics. Possibility of walking through Hezekiah’s tunnel.
Drive from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea and Judean desert, the lowest point on earth, only 42 km away but 1170 meters lower. Learn about the African Rift valley, water, shrinking of Dead Sea, sink-holes, flora and fauna.
Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in passing.
At Ein Gedi, hike Nahal David to waterfalls and natural pools (it’s delightful to take a dip even in the winter months). Visit the ruins of the Jewish synagogue with mosaic floor.
Continue south to Masada, Hasmonean fortress in the desert extensively renovated by Herod, used by the Jewish rebels against the Roman and later by some Byzantine monks. Visit the new museum at Masada.
I have lived in Jerusalem, in the German Colony for more than 15 years. We bought our house in 1988 from the widow who had been given it in 1948 when she and her family had fled from Persia and arrived here as refugees. Just in the last 4 years we’ve renovated it twice – I don’t think Mrs. Hakimian would recognize it. The neighborhood too has changed, hardware stores and green grocers have made way for fancy restaurants and shops. Walking down the street you hear English and French spoken as much as Hebrew.
The land that became the German Colony was purchased in 1872 by Mattheus Frank from Arabs in Beit Safafa, as a farm for his father-in-law. Frank came to Israel from Germany in 1867 with a sect of Protestants called the German Templers. Unfortunately, the father-in-law died on his way to Israel and so it was decided to divide the parcel of land into 1 dunam lots and build a colony, planned as a street village, a strassendorf. Even with all the changes you can recognize the same layout today – individual stone houses of one or 2 stories, with gardens surrounded by stone walls, green wooden shutters and red peaked roofs along Emeq Refaim Street. Often on the lintel over the front entrance of the house is a Biblical verse in German. At the entrance to the colony was the gemeindehaus, their community center and house of worship built in 1882.
Learn the stories, history, culture, and architecture of this popular Jerusalem neighborhood from a licensed guide.
Become acquainted with the personalities and the experiences of the settlers – Germans who came to Israel in 1867 and built one of the first neighborhoods outside the walls of the Old City.
Find out about their contributions to the development of Israel and the intrigues that led to their deportation.
Take a guided walking tour of the popular German Colony neighborhood. Contact me to book your tour. Ask about combining a tour with lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants in the German Colony.
You can tell a lot about a city by whether it has an outdoor market and Jerusalem has a great market. In 1982 for a book called “Israel Sprouts: A Vegetarian Guidebook (to Israel)” I drew a map of Mahane Yehuda to help people find their way around. I scanned that map and added a lot of new information so that it better reflects Mahane Yehuda today – it’s not just a fruit and vegetable market with shops selling dried goods. It has gentrified and there are restaurants and cafes, designer clothes shops, health food stores, artisan bakeries, shops that sell imported cheeses, fine wines, chocolates, halva.
To help organize the information I’ve separated the information into 3 maps and color coded them, one for restaurants, one for gifts and one for food shopping. To get your FREE copy of the latest maps I’d appreciate it if you would subscribe by entering your email address in the right hand column under FOLLOW BLOG – then just send an email to mahane.yehuda.map at gmail dot com. With these maps in hand you’re ready to head out to explore the shuk on your own or contact me for an insider’s guided tour of Mahane Yehuda. Have fun exploring the shuq.
Some ideas about things to do with the help of this map:
Mid-morning and you went out without breakfast – check out the health food stores on Agrippas Street, buy some fresh fruit, like pineapple, star fruit, kiwis, mangos; try a bureka, a filo pastry with cheese and/or spinach.
Want organic? There is organic produce and products at TevaNet on Agrippas and an organic restaurant on #1 Agas Street, note that Agas is called Banai at Mahane Yehuda Street.
Picnic? Head for one of the stores like Basher or Zedkiyahu and pick up an assortment of cheeses & salads. Get artisan breads at Teller. Wine? Fruit for desert. Walk down Agrippas Street (west, away from town) to the park, Gan Sacher.
Snack – felafel (in our family, the favorite is the brothers Levi on the corner of Mahane Yehuda and Agrippas Street). For hummus try Rachmo, Agas 1 or Azura.
Feel like eating something else – Ichikadana is a vegetarian Indian restaurant on HaEshkol Street, Topolino is a cozy, Italian restaurant, both are family run.
Looking for a present for loved ones back home – check out handicrafts at Roza, pottery at Pri HaAdama, Moroccan crafts at Rika.