Jerusalem at Night

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Many people ask us to recommend things to do in Jerusalem at night when it seems that everything is closed and there’s nothing to do. This is our answer…

We believe that there are many places that you should not only visit during the day but also at night.  Things are quieter then, the weather is usually better (depending on the season), and darkness or the special lighting, added to the special magic of the city make a night visit all the more interesting.

From the top of the Mount of Olives

There is no doubt that the most beautiful view of all, the most magnificent in Israel, is the breath-taking panoramic view from the Mount of Olives.  East, West, Religious and Secular – you get it all from here, the “rooftop” of Jerusalem, only a 5 minute drive from Mount Scopus.

At night, the view is completely different.  All the Temple Mount’s magnificent buildings are illuminated, as is the Jewish cemetery at the bottom of the Mount.

Al aqsa Mosque by night from Mount of Olives

Photo: Ron Peled

The eastern wall of the Temple Mount, with the Golden Gate in the center, stand out with great pride.  The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Mount Zion and even the King David Hotel and the YMCA tower behind it, can all be seen from here. There are plenty of places to sit and to spend hours just taking in the views of the Holy city.

The YMCA Tower and King David area

A visit to the illuminated YMCA Tower at night can be exhilarating: the front of the building is impressive, and the Madaba mosaic map at the entrance to the hotel and the lobby ceiling are sights that should not be missed. If you ask nicely, the doorman might even open up the entrance to the elevator that takes you to the top of the tower (5 Shekels) specially for you, in which case you will have a 360° view of Jerusalem.

Mamilla – Alrov by Night

Photo: Ron Peled

If you cross the road from the YMCA and go round the King David Hotel, you will get to Mishkenot Sha’ananim.  The best, most romantic way to get there is to go via the gas station and to walk towards Mishkenot Sha’ananim via Blumfeld Garden. The mere view of the Old City will make it worthwhile!

The Armon Hanatziv Promenade

The promenade is a popular place at night for tourists, locals and for people with a romantic soul. You can just pick a bench or a grassy corner to sit on and look across at the city lights.  From there you can continue along the promenade towards the entrance to the Abu Tor neighborhood.  Along the way, you will see the Old City and the Mount of Olives from different angles, all the while breathing in the fresh Jerusalem air.

The Old City

In the Old City there is an abundance of sites which should not be missed at night.  My favorite walk takes about 2 hours and includes a bit of everything.

The Western Wall by Night

Photo: Ron Peled

Start out at the Mount Zion parking lot.  Continue from the Zion Gate to the Church of the Dormition and the site of David’s Tomb where architecture and history are well illuminated at night. Go up the steps to the roof of David’s Tomb and you can see the entire city: Armon Hanatziv to the south, the Mount of Olives and the Old City to the north and east, and the YMCA and King David Hotel to the west.

Continue west from the Church of the Dormition until you come across the view of the area that is south west of the ramparts including the Hinnom Valley, the Sultan’s Pool and Mishkenot Sha’ananim.  Continue north until you reach the Jaffa Gate.  On your left you will see the Sultan’s Pool and the exclusive Kfar David neighborhood.  Before going through the Jaffa Gate, take a look at the magnificent Tower of David.  A few yards after entering the Jaffa Gate you can spoil yourself with an ice-cream or a fresh bagel with hyssop.

From the Jaffa Gate, go into the Old City towards the Jewish Quarter and the roofs of the Old City, and continue through the Jewish Quarter until you get a view of the Wailing Wall from above.  The walk ends at the Wailing Wall.

The Kidron Valley and the Temple Mount’s Eastern Wall

Outside the Old City walls, you will get a wonderful view of the illuminated Mount of Olives.  Near the south eastern side of the Temple Mount you can sit at a little viewpoint above the Kidron Valley cemeteries which are, unfortunately, not illuminated.

The Muristan Plaza in the Old City

Photo: Gad Rize

A few yards further north you can see the illuminated façade of the magnificent Church of all Nations at Gethsemane, as well as the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Mary Magdalene with its golden onion-shaped domes. The area is beautiful during the day and simply breathtaking at night.  To the west, looking towards the city ramparts, you can see the Golden Gate.

Night duty

There are plenty of areas that are full of life at nighttime in Jerusalem, such as the pubs, coffee bars and restaurants in Emek Rephaim (which takes its name from the biblical Valley of Rephaim), or the Ben Yehuda pedestrian area, Rehavia, in and around the Nachlaot area, Jaffa Road, and even Machane Yehuda Market which is much more than a market nowadays: it’s a paradise for nightbirds looking for a good time!

Montefiore Windmill in Mishkenot Sha’ananim

Photo: Ron Peled


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