Ein Karem

Churches, springs, history, and plenty of nature, in Ein Karem, the most charming and peaceful neighborhood in Jerusalem, featuring a unique atmosphere and experience.
A house in Ein Karem, Jerusalem

Ein Karem: the ideal city getaway.

Though it is technically a part of Jerusalem, once you get to Ein Karem, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a completely different world. Here, you’ll find Charming landscapes, Arab stone houses, churches and monasteries, interesting historical sites, beautiful narrow alleys, galleries, and much more, all in a peaceful and quiet countryside vibe.

Ein Karem, located in the western part of Jerusalem, is considered to be the most beautiful neighborhood in the city, and for good reason. Thank to an abundance of nature, beautiful landscapes of the Judean Mountains, and fresh mountain air, it truly is one of the most beautiful parts of Israel, which has turned into a major point of attraction thanks to its several important religious sites.

The History of Ein Karem

Ein Karem was inhabited ever since the Canaanite period, about 3,000 years ago, firstly as a village of its own. Between the 14th century and Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, it was an Arabic village, which was abandoned during the war. Since then, over time, new immigrants settled in the village, and it was declared a neighborhood in Jerusalem.

Ein Karem is one of the most important places for Christianity in the world, as it is believed to be the birthplace of John the Baptist.

Best places to visit in Ein Karem

Mary’s Spring

Christian tradition attributes the spring as the place where Mary, the mother of Jesus, met her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist when both of them had their children in their wombs. According to tradition, Mary went to the spring water and drank from it. The spring water is holy according to Christianity, and many of the pilgrims who come to the place fill vials of water from the spring’s waters.

In the past, the spring water was known for its good quality, but today the spring water is polluted with sewage, so drinking the water is strictly prohibited.

Church of St. John the Baptist

The Church of St. John the Baptist is one of the most important in Christianity because, according to belief, this is the birthplace of John the Baptist. Archaeological findings from different periods were found in the church, including remains from the Second Temple period, Roman remains, and Byzantine remains.

The church is built in the model of a basilica, which is inspired by Roman architecture. Here, the basilica is divided into a central hall and two side streets, by two rows of columns. In front of the church, there are three apses. In the central apse, we can recognize the paintings of Mary, Elizabeth, John’s father Zechariah, and John the Baptist himself. The left apse is the holiest place in the church, as it is the cave where Elizabeth gave birth to John.

Convent of the Sisters of Zion

A Catholic women’s convent, with a guest house and an international study center, the construction of which was completed in 1860.
The monastery is one of the most beautiful in Ein Karem and is located at the highest point of the town. It is surrounded by impressive well-kept gardens and also includes a museum, from which you will get a beautiful view of the picturesque neighborhood and the mountains of Jerusalem. A visit to the convent is highly recommended, for the beautiful architecture here, and also for the great view you’ll get from here.

Best things to do in Ein Karem

Walk the Ein Karem Circuit

The Ein Karem circular path is a walking path that goes all around the neighborhood of Ein Karem. The path goes through a beautiful route of hills, springs, and paths with a green landscape, and passes by Mary’s Spring, Ein Karem National Park, the Jerusalem Forest, and more.

The Ein Karem circuit path can be done in two ways. the first and longer option is an 8 kilometer/5 mile and encircles all of the neighborhood.
The second, shorter route is 4 kilometers/2.5 miles and is more suitable for hotter days or for those who have a bit less time on their hands. Meanwhile. the longer option is better for those who want to see the nature around Ein Karem, in addition to the must-see sites of the neighborhood itself.

Anyway, it’s best to hike here between winter and spring, when everything is blooming and green, and you can enjoy nature at its peak. The starting point of both trails is Mary’s Spring.

Visit Ein Karem’s galleries and artisan shops

As a neighborhood that is known for its booming art scene, visiting Ein Karem is a great experience for art and culture lovers, who can visit the beautiful galleries of the neighborhood. The best way to do this is to walk around the main Ein Karem street, look in the windows and step into the galleries you find attractive. Those who are interested in jewelry or hand-made bags will have a chance to find great options here, in shops like OSA and Zadok Yehuda.




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