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.
Followers of Jesus for nearly 2,000 years, native Christians today are disappearing from the land where their faith was born.
Was the Kingdom of David and Solomon a glorious empire—or just a little cow town? It depends on which archaeologist you ask.
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?
Travel Photos From Your Shot
View scenes of Canada's city life and countryside—all taken by our Nat Geo photo community.