Religious Buildings of Jerusalem Walking Tour, Jerusalem (Self Guided)

Jerusalem is considered to be one of the most holy places on this planet. Temples, cathedrals and churches are packed closely together in this ancient town. This self-guided tour will take you through some of the most historical religious buildings in Jerusalem.
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Religious Buildings of Jerusalem Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Religious Buildings of Jerusalem Walking Tour
Guide Location: Israel » Jerusalem (See other walking tours in Jerusalem)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 km
Author: vickyc
Pater Noster Church

1) Pater Noster Church

The Pater Noster Church is built on the site in Jerusalem where Jesus was thought to have taught his disciples the Lord’s Prayer. The name in Latin means “Our Father.” It is almost impossible to tell if this spot is the exact location of the teaching, we only know that the he did teach in a cave on the Mount of Olives.

The first church to be built on this site was commissioned by Constantine in 330, and that church suffered heavy damage in 614 at the hands of the Persians. The Crusaders built a small oratory, or place of worship that is not intended for the public, on the site amid the rubble in 1106. That location was badly damaged in 1187 and finally left to ruin in 1345. In 1874 reconstruction was begun and still remains unfinished.

The rebuild was the work of the Princess de La Tour d‘Auvergne. She loved the Lord’s Prayer and had it added to several of the tile plaques there. She was very sure the cave existed, but it was not found before her death. Her remains now rest at the Pater Noster Church in the tomb.

There are, however, still lots to see at the church, including 62 exquisitely tiled plaques that have the Lord’s Prayer written in 62 different languages. Even though just partially rebuilt, the original size of the church has been maintained. There are steps leading into the grotto where the teachings were said to have occurred. Sadly, very little of the original stone work still remain. There is also a garden that stands outside the three doors that give an accurate idea of how large the atrium was.

There are no entrance fees to see the Church, hours are M-Sat: 8:30-11:45; 3-5. It is closed on Sunday.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of St. Mary Magdalene

2) Church of St. Mary Magdalene

The Church of St. Mary Magdalene is a beautiful Russian Orthodox house of worship in Jerusalem. It is located on the Mount of Olives, in the Garden of Gethsemane, and was built in 1886 under the direction of Tsar Alexander III. He built the church to honor his mother, and dedicated it to Mary Magdalene.

The church is built in classic 17th century Russian style and has seven onion domes that are gilded. They are quite impressive. The building is easily visible from points around Jerusalem; however, it really deserves a stop while visiting the city. Inside the church are several murals that depict the life of Mary Magdalene. Also in the church is an icon of the Mother of God. There have been miracle healings attributed to this place.

The Church of St. Mary Magdalene is the resting place for Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia who was martyred along with another nun during the Russian Revolution in 1917. Also buried here is Princess Alice of Battenberg who was also known as Princess Andrew of Greece. She was responsible for harboring Jews when the Nazis occupied her country, in order to help keep them alive. She is also the mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
St. Anne's Church

3) St. Anne's Church (must see)

St. Anne’s Church sits next to the Bethesda Pool by the Lion’s Gate in Jerusalem. As with most structures in the city, the history of the location is fascinating. St. Anne’s is a great example of a 12th-century Crusader house of worship. Although there have been several different uses of the property over the centuries, most of the original building is still there. Restoration was done in the 19th century and the structure itself retained its rather severe appearance.

The Church was built in 1131-1133 over the presumed site where Mary’s mother Anne gave birth to her. St. Anne’s replaced a destroyed Byzantine worship center over the same site. One of the interesting facts about this place is its asymmetry. As you visit, be sure to notice the asymmetrical style, count the steps on one side and compare them to the other side.

Another fact about St. Anne’s is the incredible acoustics of the building. It was built to accommodate Gregorian chants. Today anyone can come and sing here, the only stipulation is the song must be religious. Music from any religion is welcomed. The reverberations are just perfect for tenor or soprano solo voices.

St. Anne’s Church is almost at the beginning of the Via Dolorosa, so if you are planning on taking that walk, come early enough to enjoy this place.

Why You Should Visit:
This church is impressive for various reasons: Firstly, there is its position at the beginning of the Via Dolorosa and on a level higher than the street level. Secondly, its architecture is very attractive because of its simple beauty. The church was rebuilt by crusaders in the 12th c. and its history before and after is highly interesting. Thirdly, the garden around it is extremely beautiful. Fourthly, the excavations of the Pools of Bethesda may induce you to stay much longer than planned.

The acoustics for singing as an individual or a group are perfect. Make sure you hold the last note and let the room sustain it for you. The reverb is measured in seconds.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 8am-12pm / 2-5pm
Lutheran Church of the Redeemer

4) Lutheran Church of the Redeemer (must see)

The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer is located in Old Jerusalem in the NE corner of the Muristan. The east half of this place was given to Prussian Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm by Sultan Abdul-Aziz of the Ottoman Empire. This occurred during a visit in 1869. Construction was completed in 1898 and it was the second Protestant worship center to be built in Old Jerusalem.

The building was built over the ruins of the Church of St. Mary of the Latin’s. Some of that old building, such as the cloisters and refectory, were incorporated into this location. There is some speculation that both structures were built on top of an even older holy place.

The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer is home to four different language communities, Danish, Arabic, German and English.

There are several interesting sites to see here. Be sure to find the sculpture on the medieval northern gate. The doors have signs from the Zodiac on them that are somewhat like those on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The bell tower is open to the public for a small fee. For those who are brave enough to face the hard climb of ~200 steps, the reward at the top is a breathtaking view of Jerusalem that extends all the way to the Mount of Olives and Mount Zion.
Dormition Abbey

5) Dormition Abbey (must see)

Dormition Abbey is built upon the site that traditionally is thought to be where the Blessed Virgin Mary died. It was constructed in the early 1900s as a German Benedictine Abbey on top of Mount Zion, just outside of the city walls at the Zion Gate. It sits atop a Byzantine church that lay in ruins called Hagia-Maria-Scion and sometimes the abbey is known by that name.

The Byzantine Church was built by Christians several hundred years after the death of Jesus. It was destroyed, and several centuries later the Crusaders rebuilt the structure. It was again destroyed and remained in ruins until the land was bought by Kaiser Wilhelm II, who commissioned the building. The Abbey also includes a beautiful large round sanctuary and a large bell tower. The top of the place has a rooster on the weather vane to symbolize Peter’s denial of Jesus. This place is called Dormitio Beatae Mariae Virginis or Holy Sleep of the Virgin Mary. It was damaged during the 1948 war and was restored again after the 6-day war. The name Dormition is an old word that means “falling asleep” or death and the resurrection to heaven.

The inside of the church are six alcoves or small chapels that have incredible mosaic work depicting the life of Mary and Jesus. There is a crypt in the lower level that holds the sculpture of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s deathbed. Visitors can light candles at this location. Chapels and alters have been donated from around the world and make the tour of the church just breathtaking.

It is free to get in the Dormition Abbey. Hours vary, so check before going.

Make sure to use their 3-shekel bathroom to see the ruins they have there with an explanation!
Also, the attached coffee shop is a real haven in the maze complex of the Old City.
St. Peter's Church in Gallicantu

6) St. Peter's Church in Gallicantu (must see)

The Church of St. Peter in Gallincantu is named for the famous disciple’s rejection of Jesus Christ, as told in Mark 14:30. The term “Gallincantu” is Latin for cock-crow. This place is located outside the Old City of Jerusalem on the eastern slope of Mount Zion. It was originally the site of a Byzantine shrine that was built in 457. It was sadly destroyed, and a chapel was then built on the site by the Crusaders in 1102. That rebuild was destroyed, and in 1931, the Church was rebuilt as it stands today. Fittingly, a rooster is on one of the roof peaks. There is some thought that the High Priest Caiaphas may have had his palace here.

The church is in a beautiful spot and the landscape drops off sharply toward the Kidron Valley. Make sure to allow extra time just to wander the grounds and enjoy the spectacular view. You can also find the ruins of many centuries worth of buildings that have been erected in this spot in Jerusalem. In fact, the north side of the building has a model set up to show what the city might have looked like during the Byzantine era. There are a set of steps that may be the original passageway between the upper and lower city. Sculptures and reliefs are around the grounds too that depict scenes from the life of Jesus Christ and also the denial by Peter.

The inside of the church is beautiful with several mosaics and paintings. There is a lower level that also has a chapel and a series of caves. Evidence exists that these were once part of a Byzantine shrine. Traditionally, it is thought to be where Jesus was held after His arrest. However, these types of cavernous structures were normal in the houses of the period. So while he may have been held here, it is not certain.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 8:30am-5pm
Free entry
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Andrew's Scots Memorial Church

7) St. Andrew's Scots Memorial Church (must see)

St. Andrew’s Church of Scotland was built on a hill southwest of the Mount of Olives as a memorial to the Scottish soldiers who fought and died in this area during World War I. The money for the church was raised throughout Britain for the project, and it is part of the official religious institution for the country. There used to be a fair number of Scotts living in the area, but that changed after the 6-Day War. There are still signs of the shelling the building took during that battle. The guest house here can be reserved for visitors on their website.

The name Andrew commemorates one of the twelve disciples of Jesus and the patron Saint of Scotland. King Robert the Bruce (1306-1329) wanted his heart to be buried in Jerusalem. Unfortunately, that was not to be, but there is a small plaque commemorating the famous Scotsman.

This area used to be a Necropolis. There are ancient tombs here that date back to 1000 B.C. The building looks like it could have been a Scottish castle. Below the Church is an area that was used as a Scottish hospital. It now houses craftsmen of Jerusalem and is called the House of Quality.

While visiting the Church, be sure to take a look at all the Armenian blue ceramics. They are found in various fountains, as well as under the stairwell. The blues are just breathtakingly beautiful. Mosaic ceramics and tile work are also found throughout the place. One more interesting fact, the hill the sanctuary is located on is the water divide. The rain that falls on the western side of the area goes to the Mediterranean Sea, while water on the eastern side goes into the Dead Sea.

Walking Tours in Jerusalem, Israel

Create Your Own Walk in Jerusalem

Create Your Own Walk in Jerusalem

Creating your own self-guided walk in Jerusalem is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Old City Orientation Walk

Old City Orientation Walk

The Old City of Jerusalem, the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981, is a home to a number of sites of great religious importance, such as the Temple Mount and Western Wall for Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims. Walking here is an experience not to be missed. Take this orientation walk to see the key sights of...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 km
Kids Self-Guided Tour of Jerusalem

Kids Self-Guided Tour of Jerusalem

Jerusalem is also a city of much fun. Both your children and you will enjoy the unique and unforgettable experiences that you can have in the Bible lands historical museum, the youth wing of the Israel Museum, and Jerusalem's fascinating playgrounds. This self-guided tour will lead you to the most visited children's attractions of Jerusalem.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.0 km
Jerusalem Jaffa Road Walking Tour

Jerusalem Jaffa Road Walking Tour

Jaffa Road is the oldest and longest street in Jerusalem. There are many museums, shops, restaurants, and art galleries that line this street. The famous Jerusalem pedestrian malls are all located on the intersections of this street. This self-guided tour will lead you through the most visited landmarks on this street:

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 km
Nightlife Walking Tour of Jerusalem

Nightlife Walking Tour of Jerusalem

Jerusalem has a reputation as one of the foremost religious and cultural centers of the world. What is less known is that it has an interesting night life as well. This self-guided tour will lead you to some nightclubs where you can experience the pulsating nightlife of Jerusalem:

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 km
Cultural Walking Tour of Jerusalem

Cultural Walking Tour of Jerusalem

Jerusalem is considered holy by the all the three major monotheistic religions in the world - Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The city is full of history and culture. The following self-guided tour will take you through some of the most visited landmarks in the city.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 km
Mount of Olives Walking Tour of Jerusalem

Mount of Olives Walking Tour of Jerusalem

The Mount of Olives is on the east side of the Old City of Jerusalem. Here you will see the magnificent churches that are also biblical sites, a very old cemetery with tombs of the Prophets. For many people this is a holy place as God is always present here. The following self-guided tour will lead you through the Mount of Olives landmarks:

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

16 Uniquely Israel Things to Buy in Jerusalem

16 Uniquely Israel Things to Buy in Jerusalem

Modern day Jerusalem is a mosaic of neighborhoods, reflecting different historical periods, cultures, and religions. The influx of repatriates in recent years has made the cultural and artisanal scene of the city even more colourful and diverse. To find your way through Jerusalem's intricate...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Jerusalem for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Jerusalem has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Jerusalem's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Jerusalem City Pass by Ticketbar, Jerusalem City Pass by Musement, or Jerusalem City Pass by Viator.

A city pass combines all Jerusalem's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows user to skip lines at major attractions, thus saving precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Jerusalem hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: Leonardo Plaza Hotel Jerusalem, The David Citadel Hotel, Prima Kings Hotel.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Jerusalem, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Jerusalem typically costs somewhere between US$10+ and US$90 per person:

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour of Jerusalem – this usually lasts around 2 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise could have done by walking.

- Provoke your contemplating eternal matters on a mixed (coach and walking) tour of Jerusalem, the city where the ancient and religious are intertwined more than anywhere else in the world. With the help of an expert guide try and perceive the profound meaning and context behind the holy Christian and Jewish sites of Old and New Jerusalem.

- Visit the places that once saw Jesus Christ in flesh, feel the tales of the Bible become real on a walking tour of Jerusalem led by a knowledgeable local guide. Walk the stones of Via Dolorosa in the footsteps of the Messiah to his crucifixion and learn more about that pivotal day in human history.

- Explore the city of three religions through the eyes of Jewish, Christian and Muslim worshipers on a 4-hour guided walk of Old Jerusalem to the holy places and landmarks revered in Islam, Judaism and Christianity, and learn about the religious beliefs associated with them.

- Tantalize your taste buds with the scents and sights of exotic delicacies fit to arouse anyone's appetite on a 3-hour guided tour of Mahane Yehuda, Jerusalem’s biggest outdoor market! Explore the city's favorite marketplace in its variety.

- Descend into the unknown, at least until recently, deep beneath the ground to explore the ancient roots of Jerusalem on a 1.5-hour guided tour through the centuries-old tunnel dating back to the times of the Second Temple. Get a chance to touch and hear about some truly incredible artifacts found here, and more.

Day Trips

If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Jerusalem, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Bethlehem and Jericho, Masada and the Dead Sea, Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee, or the West Bank. For as little as as circa US$100 to US$125 per person you will get a chance to experience first-hand the ancient and Biblical treasures, discover fascinating religious history, see the fabled Biblical and Nativity sites, scenes of the New Testament stories including places where Jesus performed miracles, plus explore legendary ruins, and so much more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight from your hotel or a designated place in Jerusalem, and transported either by a comfortable air-conditioned coach, minibus or a private vehicle to the destination of your choice and back again.