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As one of the oldest cities in the world and the capital of Israel, Jerusalem boasts a knock-your-socks-off collection of historical monuments. The walled Old City is full of churches, synagogues and mosques of enormous religious significance to Christians, Jews and Muslims. Even non-history buffs are enthralled by the city — from its vibrant souks selling spices and pashminas to its melting pot of Middle Eastern restaurants and bars. Here’s how to make the most of a full day in this fascinating city. (Note that many tourist sites are closed on Saturdays.)
9 a.m.Mount of Olives
Mount of Olives // © 2010 Janice Mucalov
10:30 a.m.Old City
1:30 p.m.Lunch on the RunFor a quick lunch, you can’t do any better than Abu Shukri, a small food stall in the Muslim Quarter that is famous for its delicious hummus and freshly fried falafels.
2:30 p.m.Israel Museum
Israel Museum // © 2010 James Emery
7:30 p.m.Evening on the Town
Nahalat Shiv’a // © 2010 Magister
When dusk falls, head to the trendy pedestrian promenade of Nahalat Shiva for drinks and dinner. Tucked among beautiful old stone houses, galleries and boutiques is a lively profusion of sidewalk restaurants, bars and cafes. You’re sure to find one to your liking to kick back and relax after your busy day in historic Jerusalem.
Built around a 19th-century Ottoman pasha’s palace, the American Colony Hotel is an elegant boutique hotel with stone archways, Oriental carpets and classic furnishings. Over the years, it has welcomed such dignitaries and celebrities as Sir Winston Churchill, Lawrence of Arabia, Joan Baez and Richard Gere. Its 86 rooms and suites are housed in three separate buildings, each with its own garden. Our Pasha Classic room was delightfully atmospheric, with white stone walls, high ceilings, dark wood window shutters and a round beaten copper coffee table flanked by two leather armchairs. Modern amenities include free wireless Internet and flat-screen televisions. In warmer weather, breakfast and dinner can be enjoyed outside in the tranquil courtyard garden complete with a bubbling fountain. A lovely heated pool is open from May to October, and the English language bookshop is famous for its great selection.
American Colony Hotelwww.americancolony.com