While visiting Jerusalem, you’ll discover many tantalizing excursions both in and out of the city. The following come highly recommended.
Jericho: A short bus and/or “sherut” trip from Jerusalem will deliver you to the famous city of Jericho (“Joshua fought the battle of Jericho […] and the walls came tumbling down!”). The mosaic floor of the Shalom al Yisrael Synagogue (now the basement of a private residence) dates to the 6th century, and the Wadi Qelt Synagogue in the Jericho Royal Winter Palace complex is thought to be the oldest synagogue in the world. Not far off, the archaeological park and visitors center at the Qumaran cave complex marks the spot where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered during the middle of the last century.
Akko: One of the oldest continuously occupied areas in Israel, Akko (or Acre) contains an astonishing collection of Jewish, Greek, Roman, Arab, Ottoman, Crusader, and British colonial artifacts and architecture. Akko is also considered the holiest city in the world by practitioners of the Bahá’í faith. Regular train service connects the ancient enclave with Jerusalem.
Via Dolorosa: Within the city, give a thought to attempting a journey along the Via Dolorosa (the Stations of the Cross). If you’re interested, a stroll along the route that Jesus is believed to have trudged laden with his cross to the place of his crucifixion is best undertaken on Friday afternoons. An orderly procession led by Franciscans sets out from the Pilgrim’s Reception Center near the Lion’s Gate weekly at 3 p.m.