Photograph by Annie Griffiths Belt
The Talmud teaches that “Ten measures of beauty descended on the world—nine were taken by Jerusalem, one by the rest of the world. There is no beauty like the beauty of Jerusalem.” Mark Twain, however, complained in The Innocents Abroad that, “The sights are too many. They swarm about you at every step; no single foot of ground in all Jerusalem or within its neighborhood seems to be without a stirring and important history of its own.” Since Twain’s visit to the Holy Land, more than a century of strife and division have imbued the ancient city, sacred to three major world religions, with contemporary drama and made it even more multicultural and significant than ever. Jerusalem today is a schizophrenic, volatile, and fascinating meeting of ancient and modern, Israeli and Arab, religious and secular, and political and spiritual.
Our experts recommend the top attractions in and around Jerusalem—with advice on how to get the most out of your visit.
A Nat Geo staffer gives us the highlights of her three-week stint visiting family and exploring this complex city.
From scavenger hunts to go-karting, fun opportunities in the Old City are abundant.
A source of conflict between Israel and its neighbors for decades, the Jordan River is now depleted by drought, pollution, and overuse. Could the fight to save it forge a path toward peace?
2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
Show us your best photos of nature, cities, and people from your travels around the world.