Few cities in the world can compare to the beauty and historical and religious grandeur of Jerusalem. What’s less known about the city, but equally tantalizing, is its cultural amenities. No less than 30 museums, two symphony orchestras, and several performing art centers cater to the cultural appetite of tourists and locals alike. You can find out more about the cultural activities of the city at various Jerusalem hotels and bookstores.
So you’re sitting in the lobby of your Jerusalem hotel and you can’t decide which cultural sites to visit. If you have limited time, your first stop should definitely be the Israeli Museum. Its central location is not far from most Jerusalem hotels. This world-class museum, founded in 1965, features one of the most extensive exhibits and collections of archeology, Judaica, and art from around the world. Its most impressive section, the Shrine of the Book, houses the Dead Sea Scrolls. Imagine the thrill of standing inches away from the oldest known texts of the Old Testament, dating back some 2,000 years.
No visit to Jerusalem is complete without visiting Yad Vashem, the haunting memorial to the six million Jews who lost their lives in the Holocaust. If you want more information about the subject, most Jerusalem hotel gift shops carry books on the Holocaust. This incredible memorial contains the largest library of Holocaust related documentation, as well as a historical and art museum, outdoor exhibits, and the harrowing Hall of Names, which lists names of all known Holocaust victims. The most chilling section of the memorial is undoubtedly the Children’s memorial, a most unforgettable experience.
For a more upbeat time, visit the Bible Land museum. It records every locale mentioned in the Bible and houses a stunning collection of ancient Near Eastern artifacts. Some Jerusalem hotels have artifact collections, but they pale in comparison to the Bible Land’s collection. Some other worthwhile places to visit are the Skirball Museum, the Rockefeller Archeological Museum, and the Bloomfield Science Museum. Ask your hotel’s receptionist for coupons as some Jerusalem hotels offer discounts.
What’s nice about Jerusalem is that all the museums are easily within a half-hour by car from most Jerusalem hotels. If you run out of time, however, know that you can visit the rest of the sites on your next visit.