"Jerusalem & Beyond" Top 5 Page for this destination Jerusalem District by gilabrand

Jerusalem District Travel Guide: 2,051 reviews and 6,347 photos

Jerusalem is an endless source of wonder, but the hills around it offer an interesting glimpse of life in ancient times that may be worth a detour. Here are a few things to do, just minutes from the city:

* You can explore an old Crusader farmstead and follow the meanderings of an ancient creek at Aquabella.

* You can learn about how people in biblical times eked out a living from crops grown on stony hillside terraces like those still cultivated today in the Sataf.

* You can hike up the hill past Latrun Abbey and have a picnic amid the lichen covered ruins of a 12th century Crusader fort overlooking Neve Shalom, a settlement where idealistic Jews and Arabs live together.

*You can drive to the Israeli Arab village of Abu Ghosh to eat hummus, pick up some great baklawah and attend a concert at a church built on the site where the Ark of the Covenant made a stopover on the way to Jerusalem.

* You can visit Beit Shemesh, a town mentioned in the Book of Samuel. Samson and Delila had their fling in the valley, and back in 1951, "David and Bathsheba," starring Gregory Peck and Susan Hayward, was filmed on the hilltop.

* You can visit the first kibbutz in the Jerusalem hills, Kiryat Anavim, which played an important role in the War of Independence. Some of the legendary figures of the time are buried in its cemetery.

* You can say a prayer at Nebi Samuel, the traditional burial place of the prophet Samuel, where the Muslims pray upstairs and the Jews pray downstairs, in a minaret-topped building on the hill surrounded by the excavated remains of an ancient city and rock quarry.

* You can pay your respects at Yad Kennedy, a memorial to JFK in the middle of the Jerusalem Forest and follow the hiking paths to little springs and pools of water hidden in the hills.

* You can test your hiking skills in Nahal Halilim, a dry creek just below Mevasseret Zion. Follow the marked path down the hillside to reach a maze of wonderful caves carved into the rock by rainwater.

* You can board bus 174 or 175 opposite the Central Bus Station and visit Ma'aleh Adumim, a beautiful flowering city of 50,000 people built from scratch - again just a 10-minute drive from Jerusalem, going south.

THE SATAF: Biblical Farming in the Jerusalem Hills

WATER was a precious resource, carefully collected in pools and cisterns, and farming the rocky terrain was a challenge. One way to coax the land into producing crops was terraced farming, using gravity to irrigate plots on narrow mountain ridges.

SHORESH: A room with a view

GET AWAY from the city and hear the birds chirp at Shoresh Hotel, a 10-minute drive from Jerusalem. Not fancy, not spotless, but good for nature hikes and family weekends.

  • Last visit to Jerusalem District: Mar 2010
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (8)

Comments (27)

  • janetanne's Profile Photo
    Aug 3, 2010 at 7:18 PM

    I think the entire planet is hot these days...except maybe in Southern Argentina and the South Pole! WE are roasting here in Michigan. Nice to hear from you:):)

  • MaheshSamtani's Profile Photo
    Nov 22, 2009 at 3:45 AM

    I have enjoyed reading some of your very well written tips on Jerusalem. Will come back soon for more. best regards. Mahesh

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Aug 6, 2009 at 3:26 AM

    what an excellent page of things to see and do off the beaten track! hope youre running or involved with the next Israel VT meet!!??..similar remote,hot&dusty but no 3000yr old walls....(been to Israels version but pics somewhere waiting for a scanner...)

  • risse73's Profile Photo
    Jun 9, 2009 at 2:02 PM

    Great Jerusalem tips Gila! I especially love the food-related tips (baklawah, milkshakes, hummus). :-) Also, I love the hiking tip in the Judean hills. Cheers! -Marissa-

  • kokoryko's Profile Photo
    Jun 2, 2009 at 2:33 PM

    I must confess Jerusalem is far from top of my travel list, but after reading your page, it comes much higher, Gila! You describe wonderfully off beaten places, and remind me how these crusaders were important at some time. And if there are baklawahs. :))

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    May 31, 2009 at 10:15 PM

    What a lovely page, with some many wonderful beauties. Thanks for the lovely tour!

  • iblatt's Profile Photo
    May 5, 2009 at 1:00 PM

    Aqua Bella has never looked more inviting than in these photos! Ilan

  • Herwig1961's Profile Photo
    Feb 9, 2009 at 6:24 AM

    Have had a pleasureful time reading your lovely page!Thanks for your comment on my homepage!Your fotos are also amazing!Greetings

  • calcaf38's Profile Photo
    Nov 2, 2007 at 2:43 PM

    This page is so attractive, especially as it is getting colder here. Have a great weekend, and thank you for sharing.

  • fabrice's Profile Photo
    Aug 31, 2007 at 12:58 AM

    I always try to imagine what it is to be both arab and israeli , as many taxi drivers in tel-aviv ; az ma , ata aravi o israeli , ma ata omer?


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