Top Cultural Sites in Jerusalem

1. Beit Knesset HaGadol (Great Synagogue)—Architectural Site

Designed by German-born architect Dr. Alexander Friedman, the Great Synagogue opened on August 4, 1982. The ancient Temple inspired the building’s architectural style. The Main Sanctuary seats 1,400 and is acoustically engineered to maximize sound capacity. Régine Heim-Freudenreich of Switzerland designed the huge stained glass windows above the Aron Kodesh. The synagogue is dedicated to the memory of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, and to all who have sacrificed their lives for the establishment of the State of Israel.


Visitor Information: Minyan occurs several times throughout the day.
Tours (approximately 30 minutes): Sunday-Thursday, 9am-1pm
Please note that all “visitors must be appropriately attired”

Street Address: King George Street 56, Jerusalem


2. Israel Museum—Fine Arts

The Israel Museum, founded 1965, holds many remarkable objects, including the interior of a 1736 Zedek ve Shalom synagogue from Suriname; necklaces worn by Jewish brides in Yemen; a mosaic of an Islamic prayer niche from 17th-century Persia; and a nail attesting to the practice of crucifixion in Jesus’ time. The museum’s Shrine of the Book, which is shaped like a large white urn, houses the Dead Sea Scrolls (the world’s oldest biblical manuscripts) and other artifacts discovered at Masada. The Edmond and Lily Safra Fine Arts Wing includes European Art; Modern Art; Contemporary Art; Israeli Art; the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; Asian Art; Photography; Design and Architecture; and Prints and Drawings. The Israel Museum is the country’s largest cultural institution and one of the world’s leading art and archaeology museums.


Visitor Information:
Hours: SMWTh: 10 am-5 pm
Tuesday: 4-9 pm
Friday and Holiday Evenings: 10 am-2 pm
Saturday and Holidays: 10 am-5 pm

Entrance Fee: Adult: 54 NIS, Student: 39 NIS. Guided tours are available in a variety of languages, including English, Hebrew, Spanish, French, and Russian.

Street Address: Ruppin Blvd. 11


3. Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival—Music

The Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, which began in September 1988, occurs annually at the YMCA Jerusalem. The festival features a wide variety of chamber music repertoire, including works by living Israeli composers.


Visitor Information:
Concert ticket prices: 7 concerts: 1020 NIS; 5 concerts: 770 NIS; Single concert: 170 NIS; Students: 60 NIS; Soldiers: Free entrance; Last minute tickets (1 hour before): 100 NIS

Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 10:00am-2:00pm, 4:00pm-8:00pm. Friday: 10:00am-1:00pm

Street Address: King David 26, Jerusalem, 91002


4. Jerusalem International YMCA—Architectural Site

Arthur Louis Harmon, designer of the Empire State Building, was the architect for the Jerusalem International YMCA, which was completed in 1933. The building was constructed with a vision of unity among different religious groups, as reflected in its diverse design inspirations. The building combines Byzantine, Gothic, neo-Moorish and Romanesque architecture. 


Visitor Information:
Bell tower: Single admission: 15 NIS; Group (10+ people): 10 NIS; Family (1+ adult and 2+ children under 13 years of age, up to 5 people total): 40 NIS

The Three Arches Hotel:

The YMCA’s Three Arches Hotel includes standard rooms as well as suites. Hotel amenities include a sports center, sauna, and conference center.

YMCA Restaurant: open daily from midday-10pm

Street Address: King David 26, Jerusalem, 91002


5. Kalman Sultanik Confederation House—Music

Confederation House, a center for ethnic music and poetry, emphasizes innovation in ethnic music and poetry both in Israel and abroad. The institution also promotes the cultural activity of Ethiopian olim immigrants. Effie Benaya has served as the Confederation House’s general and artistic director for twenty years, over which period the House has become one of Israel’s most influential musical institutions. Confederation House embraces diversity through the heterogeneous genres and styles performed there, as well as the diverse ethnic backgrounds of the performers themselves. The House’s aim is to develop cultural pluralism throughout Israel.


Visitor Information: See website for ticket information for upcoming performances and festivals.

Street Address: 12 Emile Botta St. P.O. Box 7218, Jerusalem 9107102


6. Memorial Hall, Har Herzl—Architectural Site

Credit: Amit Geron 

Kimmel Eshkolot Architects designed the memorial to Israel’s fallen soldiers at the country’s national cemetery in Jerusalem. The memorial includes over 23,000 bricks, each of which is engraved with the name of a fallen soldier and the date of their death. This “wall of names” spirals around the memorial’s central commemoration hall. Natural light passes into the roofless space and is filtered though the bricks, so that no artificial light is needed during the day.


Visitor Information:
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 9am-6pm
Friday: 9am-12pm

Tours are offered free of charge, but must be organized in advance. A full 1.5-hour version is offered, as well as a shorter 45-minute version.

Street Address: Mount Herzl, POB 16590, Jerusalem 9116402


7. Museum for Islamic Art—Fine Arts

The Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem, which opened in 1974, is committed to the collection, preservation and exhibition of art objects and archaeological artifacts that represent Islamic art between the 7th and 19th centuries. The museum hopes to connect Muslim and Jewish cultures, and believes that its primary goal is the cultivation of cultmural dialogue. It is also known for its vast collection of antique watches, which became famous in 1983 when professional burglar Naaman Diller stole 100, valued at $204 million, from the exhibition. (They were returned in 2004.)


Visitor Information:
Entrance fee:  Adult: 40 NIS; Israeli Senior: 20 NIS; Child: 20 NIS; “Yerushalmi” card-holder: 30 NIS

Hours: Monday-Wednesday: 10:00am-3:00pm
Thursday: 10:00am-7:00pm
Friday-Saturday: 10:00-2:00pm

Street Address: 2 Hapalmach St.


8. Umberto Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art—Fine Arts

Founded in 1983, the Umberto Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art collects, preserves, and displays objects pertaining to Jewish life in Italy from the Renaissance through today. It is the world’s only museum dedicated to the collection of artistic objects from all of Italy’s Jewish communities.


Visitor Information:
Hours: Sunday-Wednesday: 10:30am-4:30pm
Thursday: 12:00pm-7:00pm

The museum offers group tours and custom-made programs upon request.

Street Address: 25 Hillel Street


9. Vertigo Dance Company —Dance

Noa Wertheim and Adi Sha’al founded Vertigo Dance Company in 1992. The inspiration for the dance company’s name came from Sha’al’s personal experience with the sensation of vertigo during his years in the air force. The contemporary dance company aims for its works to challenge the viewer, and sees itself as a representative of Israeli art at its best. All of Vertigo’s works, especially the two most recent, Mana and White Noise, have achieved worldwide recognition and success. In addition to performances, Vertigo gives regular master classes and workshops.


Visitor Information: See website for ticketing information for upcoming performances.

Street Address: Gerared Behar Center, 11 Bezalel St