Jerusalem is a tourism lodestone. Some visitors come to see or pray at the Western Wall, others to absorb Christian and Muslim culture – and some to enjoy all of these. Among the many recommended cultural highlights of Israel’s capital are a number of intriguing museums, where art conveys the complexity of the city’s population with displays of art and archaeology, history, Islamic art and more
The Israel Museum, one of the country’s great cultural institutions, stands out particularly for its collections of art and archaeology at both the national and global levels. The museum has four wings: art, archaeology, Jewish art and life, and the youth wing. Founded in 1965, the museum has built up a wide-ranging collection of about half a million items. The museum complex includes the Shrine of the Book, which houses important archaeological discoveries, notably the Dead Sea scrolls. There’s also the Billy Rose art and sculpture garden, a point of convergence for Far Eastern, Near Eastern and Western culture.
Prices: Adults – 54 shekels ($15); students – 39 shekels; children 5-1 1.4827184 7 / pensioners / disabled (on presentation of card) – 27 shekels
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Sun, Mon, Wed, Thurs – 10.00-17.00
Tues – 16.00-21.00
Fri and holiday eves– 10.00-14.00
Sat and holidays – 10.00-17.00
Israel Museum – 11 Ruppin Blvd, opposite the Knesset; phone 02-6708811
The L.A. Mayer Institute for Islamic Art was established in 1974 with the aim of displaying the glories of Islamic art across history, from the 7th to the 19th century. Visitors to the permanent collections will come away with a broad view of treasures of the Muslim world from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and elsewhere. Among the exhibits: pages from ancient copies of the Koran, ceramics, metal and glass, jewelry and carpets, all of them reflecting the stylistic richness of Islamic art. There is also a collection of rare watches and clocks.
Prices: Adults – 40 shekels ($11); children / pensioners (on presentation of ID card) – 20 shekels; students / soldiers / police officers – 30 shekels
Sun – closed
Mon to Wed – 10.00-15.00
Fri, Sat – 10.00-14.00
Institute for Islamic Art – 2 Hapalmah Street; phone 02-5661291
The only museum of its kind in the world, the Bible Lands Museum presents the history of the biblical period, supplemented by historical and cultural developments from the dawn of civilization to the early Christian era. The museum sheds new light on these themes through exhibitions and displays that examine the cultures of the region, from the onset of civilization until the advent of Christianity. In addition to the permanent and temporary exhibitions, there are special activities for the whole family, along with tours, courses and lectures.
Prices: Adults – 44 shekels ($12); children under 18) / students / new immigrants / pensioners (on presentation of ID card) – 22 shekels; pensioners from abroad (on presentation of ID card) – 35 shekels
Sun, Mon, Tues, Thurs – 09.30-17.30
Wed – 09.30-21.30
Fri, Sat – 10.00-14.00
Holiday eves and intermediate days of Jewish holidays – Closed
Bible Lands Museum – 21 Shmuel Stefan Wise Street, Museum Row; phone 02-5611066
The building in which Ticho House is located, built in the 1860s, was purchased in 1924 by the ophthalmologist Dr. Abraham Ticho and his wife, the painter Anna Ticho. Dr. Ticho’s eye clinic was housed in the building, and after his death his wife continued to live and work there as an artist. Anna Ticho left the building with its collections and library to the Israel Museum, which turned it into a gallery-museum with a permanent display that tells the story of the house, alongside changing exhibitions.
Prices: Free entry
Ticho House hours:
Sun-Thurs – 12.00-20.00
Fri, holiday eves – 10.00-14.00
Sat – Closed
Ticho House – 10 Harav Agan Street (near Zion Square); phone 02-6453746
The Tower of David history museum tells the story of the city of Jerusalem. The exhibition is located in the guard rooms of a medieval fortress that abuts the Jaffa Gate, one of the main entrances to the Old City. The objects on display constitute a narrative of the city’s history, presenting the outstanding events of each period, starting with the first testimonies of Jerusalem’s existence in the second millennium BCE and continues to the city’s declaration as the capital of Israel. Visitors will find exhibits from the Canaanite, First Temple, Second Temple, Roman, Byzantine, Crusader, Ottoman and British Mandate periods.
Prices: Adults – 40 shekels; pensioners (Israeli residents) / soldiers / disabled – 20 shekels; students – 30 shekels; children under 18 – 18 shekels
(Prices do not include the Night Spectacular sound and light show)
Sun-Thurs – 09.00-16.00
Fri, holiday eves – 09.00-14.00
Sat and holidays – 09.00-16.00
Tower of David – Jaffa Gate, Old City of Jerusalem; phone 02-6265333