Top 10 Most Famous Israel Landmarks Travelers Talk About
Although the country regularly experiences periods of turmoil and even war, Israel remains incredibly popular with tourists interested in observing their faith or viewing some of the most famous landmarks in Israel, most associated with religious significance. The country boasts an endless array of well preserved historical locations, the most popular ten of which we’ve detailed below following the past travels of visitors to the ancient locale.
1. The Wailing Wall Jerusalem: Also known as “The Western Wall” this holy site is so named because of the endless tears shed here during prayer, an activity that historically many risked life and limb for the opportunity to do. The wall is considered one of the most holy places in the world and a remnant of the Roman destroyed Temple Mount. While it’s popular amongst Jerusalem tourist attractions, the wall still serves as a sacred and holy place for many and is the highlight for the spiritual journey of thousands of people. The 187 foot long wall is one of the most important of all Israel landmarks and for some, one of the most important in the entire world.
2. The Dome of the Rock: This edifice is considered the most famous site in Jerusalem, and its position atop the temple mount make it visible from almost anywhere. Serving as a shrine, the structure is believed to be built upon the sacred stone that marks the place where Muhammad ascended to Heaven. While the location is no doubt one of the most significant of all Israel landmarks, the Dome also is important globally as it is the oldest Islamic monument in existence.
3. Yad Vashem: Built in Jerusalem in 1953, this site serves as a monument and official memorial to Holocaust victims. The monument is found on Mount Herzl and next to a forest and welcomes guests at no charge to experience memorials, art, sculptures, a research institute, outdoor monuments, a library and a center for education. Behind The Western Wall, Yad Vashem is the second most visited of all Israel landmarks, with notable highlights like The Eternal Flame and the Valley of the Destroyed Communities being amongst the most powerful attractions.
4. Bethlehem: Just south of Jerusalem can be found this city that holds tremendous significance and religious importance to millions of people all over the world. Over two million of them in fact come here each year to explore the now mainly tourism driven city and see sights like Manger Square and The Church of the Nativity. However, of all Israel landmarks, the one that draws Christian pilgrims more than any other is the Holy Crypt, a part of The Church of the Nativity, and the purported birthplace of Jesus. Other notable sites include The Milk Grotto and several museums.
5. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher: Many Israel landmarks are such due to their powerful religious significance, and this church is no exception. While steeped in rich historical value, it’s the impact on the spiritual lives of many that draw millions of visitors here each and every year. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher marks the crucifixion of Jesus and serves as a commemorative site to the occurrence.
6. David’s Citadel: Also known as “The Tower of David,” is a fortress constructed in Medieval times that has a wealth of significance on an international scale. The ruins found here hold the remains of many important Israel landmarks including the purported remnants of steps to Herod’s palace, the First Wall and a First Temple period quarry. From an archaeological standpoint, the citadel complex has provided some of the best artifacts from early civilizations in the area.
7. Dead Sea: The Dead Sea may be one of the oldest tourist attractions on the planet and it’s also the lowest point in the entire world. What draws visitors here, over a thousand feet below sea level, is the incredibly high salinity of this Mediterranean body of water. No sea life can live here because the conditions are so harsh, however interestingly enough humans find the waters both soothing and therapeutic and even curative of certain health conditions. As a result, each year Dead Sea Resorts cater to thousands upon thousands of guests who have made the journey here to this iconic selection amongst Israel landmarks that has been dubbed a National Treasure.
8. Masada: An Israeli symbol of ancient civilization, Masada is a mountaintop fortress found near the Dead Sea in the Judean Desert. It served as a palace complex and as a place of last stand for Jewish Revolters who feared the Romans. Today it marks one of the most impressive feats of human ingenuity on the planet as well as one of the most visited Israel landmarks. Here, the roman army spent tireless days building a fence around the fortified complex to prevent provisions from coming in before engineering the ultimate weapon, a mountain height ramp made by men to afford access to the revolters hiding inside. The resulting besiegement by the Romans is a chilling example of the battle for liberty from oppression.
9. Mount Carmel: Perhaps one of the most important of all Israel landmarks is a natural land feature, a mountain chain found in the northern part of the country that is home to several cities, including the third largest. Although the mount’s association with Elijah makes it a frequent stop on Christian Holy Land Tours, there is much world history to be found here as well. In a cave in the 1930s, Mount Carmel was the discovered home of Neanderthal remains, including Tabun I, one of the most important archeological finds in history. This means that the constant presence of civilization here, spanning over six hundred thousand years, is one of the most complete accounts of stratigraphic record in the world.
10. Shrine of the Bab: In Haifa can be found this domed shrine that marks the location of the buried remains of The Bab, founder of the Babi faith. Impressive grounds surround the structure, which is best viewed perhaps from above on Mount Carmel. The structure itself, a popular stop for tourists seeking important Israel landmarks, has gone through a restoration phase in recent years and it is still used as a place of quiet worship and reflection for the faithful.