Holy sites in Israel

Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

As small as the land of Israel is, it is undoubtedly one of the lands with the richest and most diverse histories and cultures on earth. With a history that goes back almost all the way back to the beginning of humanity, and so many different rulers and people that used to live here, Israel has become home to some of the world’s most important religious sites, for several different religions. Here, we have gathered the most major holy sites in Israel, that will provide you with incredible spiritual and cultural experiences.

Major Christian holy sites in Israel

As the land where Jesus spent his entire life, Israel has several Christian holy sites with tremendous importance, including the two most important churches in the world, and several sites with incredible stories about the life of Jesus. Those sites are scattered in different places around the country, mostly in the Galilee and in Jerusalem.


According to the New Testament, Capernaum was a small fishing village, where Jesus spent a major part of his life after he fled Nazareth. Around Capernaum, Jesus found the first apostles – brothers Simon and Andrew, as well as Jacob and John. Simon, known in Aramaic as Caiaphas and in Greek as Peter, was the first to recognize Jesus as the Messiah and is considered the firstborn of the apostles. In addition, here in Capernaum Jesus healed the centurion’s servant and saved him from death.

Tabgha and Mount of Beatitudes

The small valley known as Tabgha lies nearby Capernaum, northwest of the Sea of ​​Galilee. In the days of Jesus, it was one of the most abundant fishing areas in the Sea of ​​Galilee. The uninhabited valley suited the gathering of the many believers who flocked after Jesus, and many of the important events mentioned in the New Testament took place in the area, such as the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the Sermon on the Mount on the nearby Mount of Beatitudes, and the appearance of Jesus to his disciples after his death.

Church of the Annunciation

Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth is the largest church in the Middle East and one of the most important and holiest churches in the entire world. According to Christian belief, in this exact location stood the family home of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and that is where the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God. The moment of the gospel is a defining and central moment in the Christian faith. The modern basilica was built in the 1960s in a modern style and is dedicated to and glorifies the image of Mary in many ways. The modern Church of the Annunciation was built on the ruins of churches that have stood here since the 4th century, and is one of the most major holy sites in Israel, attracting hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every year.


Kursi, located just east of the Sea of Galilee, is the site of the Miracle of the Swine, when Jesus cured two men of their mental illnesses, by transferring their demons into a herd of pigs. Thanks to the site’s great religious importance, here you can find the biggest monastery in Israel, and hear several fascinating stories about the village’s history.

Mount Precipice

The site where Jesus is believed to have leaped down in his escape from Nazareth. Mount Precipice, which was previously visited by the pope, and is a major pilgrimage site, is located just outside of Nazareth and is also a stunning viewpoint over the Galilee.

Via Dolorosa

Via Dolorosa, located in the old city of Jerusalem, is the path of sorrow that Jesus has gone through on his last day, from his trial to his crucification at the hands of the Romans. This route of the Via Dolorosa ends in the Church of the Holy Speulchre, the most important church in Christianity, where Jesus’ crucification and revival took place.


Located south of Jerusalem, the Palestinian city of Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus, making it a pilgrimage site of great importance. Here, you can visit the Church of the Nativity, located right above the cave where Jesus was born.

Bethany Beyond the Jordan

This site is where Jesus was baptized by John. Since the baptism site’s opening in 2011, it has attracted hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every year, who come to get baptized in the waters of the Jordan River here. This site is split into two parts: Qasr Al Yahud on the Israeli side of the river, and Al-Maghtas on the Jordanian side.

Major Muslim Holy sites in Israel

Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem
Al-Aqsa Mosque

Al Aqsa Mosque

Al Aqsa Mosque, located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, is the third most important mosque in the world, and a site of great historical and political importance to this day. The mosque, which sometimes refers to the whole area of the Temple Mount, including the Foundation Stone, hosts about 5,000 people in prayer and is one of the most beautiful sites in Jerusalem. Entrance for non-muslims to the site is very limited, so it’s important to check the visiting time in advance.

Dome of the Rock

As the site of the Foundation Stone and one of the holiest sites in the world for both Muslims and Jews, the Dome of the Rock is the most well-known symbol of Jerusalem. Here, according to Muslim tradition, is where Muhammad ascended to the heavens. In Judaism, the Foundation Stone, which is protected by the dome, is believed to be the place from which god has created the whole world.

Jewish holy sites in Israel

Western Wall

The Temple Mount complex, including the Western Wall, is the holiest site in Judaism in the whole world. The Western Wall is the last remainder of the Second Temple, and a draw for millions of visitors from all around the world, who come here to pray, celebrate happy events, and hold ceremonies. A visit here is an incredible cultural experience for anyone, as the Western Wall is truly one of the must-see sites of Jerusalem and Israel in general.

Cave of the Patriarchs

The Cave of the Patriarchs, located in the city of Hebron in the West Bank, is considered to be the second holiest place for Judaism after the Temple Mount complex and the Western Wall. Here, according to tradition, is the grave plot that Abraham, the father of Judaism, purchased from Ephron the Hittite in order to bury Sarah. Later, the rest of the patriarchs and matriarchs of Judaism, other than Rachel, were also buried here, making the Cave of the Patriarchs a site of incredible importance to Jewish people. In addition to Sarah, the cave is believed to be home to the graves of Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Leah.  A visit to Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs is only possible through organized tours, as it is located in a territory in conflict in the West Bank.

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