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Top 10 Famous Buildings in Jerusalem

Not a lot of cities in the world have played such a major role in human history as this fascinating city in Israel.

Jerusalem is situated on an extended plateau in the Judaean Mountains, a mountain range squeezed in between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea.

The city is claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians as their capital city and it’s considered to be holy in three of the world’s major religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

The importance of the city is reflected in the fact that it has been besieged 23 times throughout its history. It was captured and recaptured 44 times during these events.

History continues to repeat itself as the Israeli–Palestinian conflict still rages on and Jerusalem remains the core issue.

This special status has resulted in a very diverse architectural landscape that combines both ancient structures with modern buildings.

In this article, you’ll discover some of the most famous buildings in Jerusalem.

1. Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock is without a doubt the most iconic building in Jerusalem. It’s located on top of Temple Mount, the famous hill in the Old Town of Jerusalem.

This Islamic Building is easily recognizable because of its amazing dome that is covered with gold plates. The design of the core structure was modeled on Byzantine buildings in the city.

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The building was completed in the late 7th century between 688 and 692. The original dome collapsed in the early 11th century but was rebuilt between 1022 and 1023.

Famous Islamic Buildings Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock / Wiki Commons

2. Tower of David

The Tower of David is the name of a building also known as the “Citadel.” This fortification is located near the Jaffa Gate which provides the entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem.

The current structure dates back to the early 14th century but it was constructed on the site of numerous ancient buildings that once stood here. Archaeological finds have been discovered that are up to 2,500 years old.

The name “The Tower of David” was first used by Byzantine Christians in the 5th century. They believed that this was the site of the former palace of King David.

Famous Buidlings in Jerusalem Tower of David
The Tower of David and Jerusalem’s City Wall / Wembli / Wiki Commons

3. Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a church in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. It’s one of the most important churches in the world for two reasons.

A legend that can be traced back to the 4th century suggests that the church was constructed on the location where Jesus was Crucified, a place commonly referred to as “Calvary Hill.”

The same legend also mentions that this was the place where he was buried and resurrected. If this is true, it means that this location is one of the Holiest places in Christianity.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem
Church of the Holy Sepulchre / Gerd Eichmann

4. Western Wall

The Western Wall is the name of a section of the Walls of Jerusalem that is commonly referred to as the “Wailing Wall.” Jews referred to it as “The Kotel” and Muslims as the “Buraq Wall.”

This relatively small section of the much larger defensive wall around the Old City of Jerusalem was constructed in ancient times. It was a section of the Second Jewish Temple that was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.

The Jews considered it the Holiest place for them to pray due to the proximity of their destroyed temple. The Muslims believe that this is the location where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to paradise. Yes, this is a special place for many people around the world.

Western Wall Jerusalem
The Western Wall / Golasso / Wiki Commons

5. Hurva Synagogue

The Hurva Synagogue is officially known as the “Hurvat Rabbi Yehudah he-Hasid” and is the main religious structure in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

The original synagogue in this location was constructed in the 15th century but it was destroyed by the Ottomans in 1721. The demolished building was known as “The Ruin” for exactly 116 years.

The new building was completed in 1864 but destroyed once again by the Arab Legion in the 20th century. The neo-Byzantine building we can admire today was completed in 2010 with a budget of $7.3 million.

Hurva Synagogue
Hurva Synagogue / Beko / Wiki Commons

6. Mamilla Mall

Mamilla Mall is a huge open-air shopping mall located just west of the Old City of Jerusalem and just northwest of Jaffa Gate. The main thoroughfare of this mall is known as Alrov Mamilla Avenue.

The huge mall features 140 upscale stores, restaurants, and cafes, making it one of the most popular commercial spots in the city. The upper floors of the buildings feature office spaces as well.

The mall was constructed between 1997 and 2010. It took quite a bit before it a completed because it incorporates the 19th-century façades of the buildings that line this street before.

Mamilla Mall Jerusalem
Mamilla Mall and the City Walls / Navot Miller / Wiki Commons

7. Tomb of the Virgin Mary

The Tomb of the Virgin Mary is another very holy place in Christianity. As the name of the structure suggests, Christians believe that this is the location where the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, was buried.

The structure is located at the foot of the Mount of Olives in the Kudron Valley. This valley is located just northeast of the Old City and separates Temple Mount from the Mount of Olives.

An Italian archaeologist named Bellarmino Bagatti discovered the remains of a cemetery that dates back to the 1st century. Whether or not this is enough to confirm the claim remains uncertain.

Tomb of the Virgin Mary
Tomb of the Virgin Mary / Israel Photo Gallery / Wiki Commons

8. Chapel of the Ascension

The Chapel of the Ascension is located about further east of the Old City than the Tomb of the Virgin Mary as it’s located on the Mount of Olives. This is in the At-Tur district of Jerusalem.

This chapel and shrine are part of a much larger complex that features a Christian church, a monastery, and also an Islamic mosque. The relatively small chapel has a fascinating story to tell.

Christians believe that it features the spot where Jesus Christ stood when he ascended to Heaven. A stone slab inside the chapel is believed to feature his footprint which he left during this event.

Chapel of the Ascension
Chapel of the Ascension / Fallaner / Wiki Commons

9. Holyland Tower

The Holyland Tower is the main structure of the so-called Holyland Park, a complex of luxury apartment buildings in Jerusalem. It’s the tallest skyscraper in the city with a height of 121 meters (397 feet).

The complex is located in the southern part of the city, about 3.3 kilometers (2.1 miles) southwest of the Old City. It was the site of the former Holyland Hotel and construction started in 1995.

Despite the prominence of the buildings from just about everywhere in the city, it’s most famously known for the “Holyland Case.” This corruption case saw 10 top Israeli officials being convicted of fraud.

Holyland Tower
Holyland Tower / Djampa / Wiki Commons

10. Church of All Nations

The Church of All Nations is also known as the “Church of the Agony.” It’s another famous building in Jerusalem that is located on the Mount of Olives in the eastern part of the city.

Thne name of the church is a reference to its location right next to the Garden of Gethsemane. This is the place where Jesus, according to the New Testament, underwent his “agony” before being arrested.

The neo_byzantine building was completed in 1924, although a Byzantine church had been located here since the 4th century. The church holds a shrine that is believed to be the location where he prayed before his arrest.

Church of All Nations
Church of All Nations / Юкатан / Wiki Commons