Tourist Tip #380 / Touring Jerusalem by Smartphone

Israel App: Jerusalem Edition is a cutting-edge, low-cost way to explore this ancient city's top sights.

There’s pretty much an app for everything these days – whether you want to find a hotel room, lose weight, keep tabs on your to-do list, share photos and videos with friends, or ride the metro in some far-flung city. It’s no surprise, then, that there are travel apps that allow you to explore a foreign city with the help of a smartphone or tablet.

The recently launched Israel App: Jerusalem Edition offers visitors to the holy city a high-tech way of getting to know one of the world’s oldest metropolises. It is available for iOS and Android devices, and offers English-speaking visitors detailed information – using text, pictures, audio and video – of Jerusalem’s top sights.

Much like written guide books – or human tour guides – that map out walking tours for visitors, Israel App also includes GPS-based guided tours that explain what you’re seeing and tell you where to go.

Thus the app guides sightseers in exploring all of greater Jerusalem, including the various quarters of the Old City, the City of David, the Mount of Olives, famous religious and archaeological sites, museums and other cultural institutions, parks and the Jerusalem Zoo (along with some less frequented gems).

Eight specific walking tours are available on the app, covering places like the Via Dolorosa, synagogues of the Old City, the Jaffa Gate area, and Mount Zion and the Armenian Quarter; these run about 90 minutes to two hours apiece.

The app also uses your location services to allow you to search what’s around you – and lets you know whether any nearby sights are recommended or a must-see.

It helpfully offers an explanation of the Jerusalem Light Rail and its stops. The “useful info” section comprises lists of top eats and important phone numbers, the local weather forecast, and even an “Israpedia” – a glossary that explains terms ranging from the Abbasid Empire to Zionism.

Israel App plans to roll out additional editions for Tel Aviv, Masada, Caesarea, and other sites across the country. The Jerusalem edition is currently free to download - meaning it’s significantly less expensive than most guide books or booking a private guide to show you around.

To watch a demo, go to http://www.TheIsraelApp.com, or to download, try the Apple App Store (here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/israel-app-gps-travel-tour/id680338281?mt=8). Android users can download it from the Google Play store, here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.israelapp.israelapp&hl=en.


 

Nick Thompson