Forget The #FakeNews: Jerusalem Is A Must-Visit 2018 Destination
If food is your religion, then Jerusalem is your Holy Land...
Ignore all that #fakenews your socials/decrepid relatives are waffling on about, because we're here to tell you Jerusalem is one of the most interesting, welcoming and culturally fascinating destinations for your 2018 Holiday Inspo list.
MTV headed to the incredible Holy City for a foody-focused long weekend, and discovered that it was, in fact, a chilled-out haven full of some of the most tastebud-tingling delicacies on the planet. There's a reason 3 million tourists visit from all over the world each year, and it's not just because of the incredible holy sites.
We walked (and ate) our way around Israel’s most iconic destination and believe us when we say: it was JerusaYUM!
Jerusalem: Get To Know
Jerusalem is very old (over 3,000 years old) and this ancient city has been the most important place on earth for Jews, Christians and Muslims since, well... forever.
This means it has a rich and fascinating history, including more ups and downs than the rolling mountains and deep valleys that surround the city. Nowadays, political issues mean you may have seen it in the News, but the people of these three religions co-exist happily.
Geographically, the city is located slap bang in the middle of Israel, and is only around 40 miles east of the Mediterranean sea. As Israel is essentially desert, it can be boiling during the day, and cold at night. So pack shorts AND scarves y'all.
Why You Should Go
It's stunningly beautiful.
The buildings are all built from sandstone, meaning there's no ugly concrete office blocks ruining the views. And what's really cool is loads of the buildings you see on the city's skyline all appear in the actual bible, like the Tower Of David, the Western Wall and Mount Zion.
Despite being a busy city Jerusalem is very chilled, especially on Saturdays when the Jewish community observe Sabbath (basically they sack off work and stay at home, which we are rather on board with). The roads are empty and the streets are quiet. Perfect conditions for exploring.
Wandering around the city, it's impossible to ignore the religious vibes which positively buzz through the city. Instead of reading about the Kardashians in Cosmo, people from different faiths can be seen with their faces buried deep in their bibles and Qur'ans.
Jerusalem is an amazing mosaic of different people from different cultures, and consequently it makes for an incredible mash up of different cuisines including such schlurps as THE BEST FALAFEL IN THE WORLD!
This delish dish is called "Acharuli" (I mean... it's a bowl made from bread and filled with hot cheesy eggs.) We scoffed this down in seconds at a Georgian bakery seriously loved by locals called Hatzpuria. Check it out!
Afterwards we seriously recommend hanging around the hipster bars of Beit Ya'akov Street to wash it down. Our particular fav was Hashchena, which has great social vibes.
Jewish cuisine is the bomb if you're vegan because it's all kosher which means it's dairy-free, but that doesn't stop them having a seriously strong desert game, especially at Jacko's.
Though unlucky if you're gluten intolerant because... beautiful hot BREAD!
During the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, Jerusalem goes in hard on the hole-iest of food - sufganiyahs (aka DONUTS.)
Did we mention the hummus? It. Is. Phenomenal.
The Old City
The Old City is around 3,000 years old and surrounded by a massive wall which encloses the ancient city's four quarters (belonging to the Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Armenian communities.) Down the winding, narrow alleyways are century-old sites of religious significance for each of the city's main faiths like the Western Wall - a majorly holy site for Jewish people to pray at, and the Dome Of The Rock which is an impressive Islamic shrine with a huge gold domed roof.
This is nothing like those *yawn* R.E. classes, so grab your camera, comfortable shoes and get exploring! (Or if you're feeling adventurous, get a segway!)
Inside the Old City's Christian quarter is the Church of the Holy Sephulcre which is alleged to be the spot where Jesus was crucified and then resurrected. Pilgrims from all over the world flock to this the 4th century church. But be warned: queues.
As night falls in the Old City, the Tower Of David (an ancient citadel near the Jaffa Gate which is the entrance to the Old City) comes alive when the famous Night Spectacular light show projects the history of Jerusalem on the tower's walls. So highly recommended.
If you like mooching around markets, Jerusalem is your dream vacay. Visit the Mahane Yehuda market aka "The Shuk" to witness the freshness of Middle Eastern vegetables and fruits (including the best looking avocados we've ever seen) and get high on the aromas of the fresher than fresh herbs and spices.
There's everything a tourist could ever want, including jewelry, clothes, slippers and enough exotic cushions.
And let's not forget kippahs so you can feel like a proper local.
During the day, "The Shuk" will satisfy all your shopping desires, but in the evening this market undertakes an amazing transformation and turns itself into a super cool hipster hangout. You can drink and get very merry with the fun-loving local youths outside the graffiti covered shutters of the day market's stalls.
We quenched our thirst with some bangin' craft beers at Beer Bazaar. Shalom Aleichem (which kinda means "Cheers!"),
We then headed across town to a secret speakeasy called Gatsby's where we indulged in some flaming cocktails because why not...
So make sure you get in the mix with the city's cracking nightlife. There are tonnes of underground bars and clubs with local DJs spinning some of the most booming techno to fill MTV's ears since the 90s.
You've filled your stomach with shawarmas, so now it's time to fill your brain with knowledge and take a trip to the Israel Museum (voted one of the top 10 museums in the world).
Israel is known as the "Cradle Of Civilisation" and you can lose hours engrossed in the museum's many rooms and exhibition halls learning all about the 5,000+ years of history from this part of the world.
If you're a history nerd (who doesn't love a bit of history, eh?!) then you have to visit Yad Vashem - Israel's national Holocaust Museum. It's probably the most powerful and moving couple of hours you'll ever experience as you learn all about a horrifying chapter in Jewish history. Pack tissues.
Take a breather from Jerusalem's city centre and get a cab out to the quaint village of Ein Karem. The relaxed vibes and pretty side streets are a legit Instagram dream.
MTV Travelled With... the Jerusalem Development Authority - for more info, click here: https://www.itraveljerusalem.com/. WIZZ Air flies to Tel Aviv from London Luton on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, with fares starting from £102.99pp one way. For further information on flights and fares, click here. MTV Stayed At... The Yehuda Hotel – Double room prices start from £112pp with breakfast included. For more details on the places we ate, and the things we did, just take a gander below...
Guided Segway tours with Zuzu tours – Tours start from £37pp. Israel Museum – Entrance fees are £10 pp. Night Spectacular at the Tower of David Museum – Entrance fees are £5.50pp. Yad Vashem – Entry to the museum is free. City of David Tunnels – Entrance fees are £10pp.