Below is our suggested route to help you visit the essential Christian sites in Jerusalem in just one day.
Most of the Christian spots are in or adjacent to the Old City of Jerusalem, which is a small area compressed into just one and a half square miles! So catching the most important Christian sites in Jerusalem in a single day is definitely possible, and at a reasonable pace. Most of the entrances are free, and all the sites are open all day.
Below is our suggested day route for a Christian tourist in Jerusalem.
If you prefer to discover Christian Jerusalem with a guide, read more about:
Jerusalem is unique, magical city that is the spiritual capital of the world's three monotheistic religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In fact, over 3 million visitors come to Jerusalem every year, many of whom are not Christian.
You might think otherwise from the news, but this city is an example of religious tolerance. In most cases, Christianity, Judaism and Islam coexist peacefully together side by side, forming a unique mosaic of different beliefs, traditions and daily religious practices.
Below we describe just one of many routes that cover the important Christian places in in Jerusalem. You can change the order as you wish.
Use the map below to locate each place of interest:
Jerusalem has many hills. Mount Zion is one of those hills just outside the Old City of Jerusalem, to its southwest.
Mount Zion is a good place to start your Christian route of Jerusalem.
The Last Supper Room in Mount Zion is also called the Cenacle. It is considered one of the holiest sites in Christianity commemorating where Jesus had his last supper with his disciples on the night before his crucifixion. It is pretty certain that Jesus's last supper was a Passover feast.
The Last Supper Room is also the place where the apostles stayed in Jerusalem and where the Holy Spirit descended upon the eleven apostles after the crucifixion.
The Last Supper Room is located in the upper room of King David's Tomb (where King David may have been buried). The building itself is from the Middle Ages, but it was built on the original site where the Last Supper took place. Beneath the floor are Roman and Byzantine foundations going at least back to the 2nd century AD. It was originally called "the Upper Church of the Apostles."
Also on Mount Zion is the grandly beautiful Dormition Abbey, commemorating where the Virgin Mary fell into 'eternal sleep'. Hence the name Dormition = place of sleep.
This German-built Benedictine abbey was built over the ruins of the original Byzantine church called Hagia-Maria-Sion Abbey.
If you have a spare half hour, another place of interest is the grave of Oskar Schindler, a Christian who saved the lives of 1,200 Jews in the Holocaust and who was commemorated in the Steven Spielberg film "Schindler's List.' He is buried in the small Catholic cemetery in the south of Mount Zion.
The Mount of Olives is just east of the Old City of Jerusalem.
You cannot miss the fact that is is a huge cemetery. Jews have been buried here for 3,000 years and there are nearly 100,000 graves.
Some of the notable people buried on the slopes of the Mount of Olives include Absalom, King David's son, the Biblical prophets Zecheriah, Haggai and Malachi and even, Princess Alice of Battenburg, Prince Charle's grandmother and the mother-in-law of Queen Elizabeth.
The Mount of Olives figures prominently in the New Testament.
It is frequently mentioned that Jesus taught and prayed here. It is also the place from which he ascended to heaven.
At the foot of the Mount of Olives is the Garden of Gethsemane with its wonderful, ancient olives trees.
This is the same garden where Jesus prayed and stayed with his disciples after the Last Supper on the night of his betrayal by Judas. According to the Gospels, he was overcome with anguish knowing what was to come.
It was here that he was arrested.
The gnarled olive trees in the grove today are said to have existing 2,000 years ago when Jesus walked there. A few years ago, an Italian research study found that some of trees date back from as far as the year 1092, and were planted from the same parent plant DNA, likely from the lineage roots of even older trees.
The Catholic Church of All Nations in the Garden of Gethsemane is also called the Basilica of the Agony.
If you have time, some other important churches on Mount Zion outside the garden are:
For many Christians, the Via Dolorosa is possibly most meaningful part of their visit to Jerusalem.
Some choose to carry a wooden cross to better experience the suffering of Jesus on his way to the crucifixion site.
Walking along the Way of the Cross is an unforgettable experience. There are fourteen Stations of the Cross which mark different milestones along the path that Jesus was led in agony following his trial: his sentencing, humiliation, falling three times, meeting his mother, being attached to the cross, the crucifixion, death and burial.
It is about a half a mile long. Most of the way is paved with rough cobblestones, and there are many stairs.
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is the most important of all the Christian sites in Jerusalem.
The final five stations of Via Dolorosa are within the Church, which include the site of Golgotha (the Calvary) where Jesus was crucified outside the city walls at the time, as well as the Aedicule, where he was buried.
There are many altars within the church marking the Stations of the Cross. You can wait in line at the altars or just view them from a distance.
Many people wait in line to visit the actual spot where the cross was erected and Jesus died at the Rock of Cavalry, or you can see the rock from a short distance near the Crucifixion Altar.
Jerusalem is home to many fascinating Christian monasteries of differing demoninations. If you have the time, do visit a few of them.
No visit to Jerusalem is complete without visiting at least one ancient monastery. We recommend the oldest standing Monastery of the Cross, located in the Rehavia neighborhood near the Israeli Knesset and the Israel Museum.
Read more about its fascinating history and beautiful artwork here.
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