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Ein Karem – recommended places to see in Jerusalem

Ein Kerem Jerusalem

Visiting Ein Karem – the birthplace of John the Baptist 

Ein Karem is a picturesque village hidden among the dales and slopes of the Judean hills. You can get there either by bus or by car. It might seem that the village is hidden not only in space, but in time as well. Olives and pines grow here, and church bells ring. A Christian tradition holds Ein Karem to be the birthplace of John the Baptist, and the village became a sacred place for pilgrims. Today actors and artists reside the village’s stone houses. Magnificence of surrounding nature gives them inspiration.

Locations to visit in Ein Karem

The Church of St. John the Baptist
There are two churches by the name of John the Baptist in Ein Karem, but Catholic Church acknowledges only the one built in the second half of 19th century on the remnants of Byzantine and Crusader churches. Its mosaic floor is extremely beautiful. There is also a grotto in the church. A legend tells that John the Baptist was born there. Interestingly, the church has a museum, which exhibits many antiques, particularly, tunics for communion of parish, sick people, and plague-stricken ones.
Ein Karem st. Tel. 02-6323000. Open on: Mon. – Fri. 08:00 – 17:00, Sun. 09:00 – 12:00.

Church of the Visitation
This Franciscan church opened in 1955. It stands on the place where, according to a tradition, the house of the parents of John the Baptist, Zechariah and Elizabeth, was. Mary’s spring is just several paces away. From this site a wonderful view opens on the valley and the hills surrounding the village. The church was built in honor of the visitation of the Virgin Mary to the mother of John the Baptist. The Church of Visitation is the place where the Virgin Mary pronounced her monodies (Magnificat). More than 3000 of composers wrote music for these beautiful hymns. One of the composers was Johann Sebastian Bach. Under the church, there is Mary’s spring.
Tel. 02-617191. Open: Sun. – Tue. 08:00 – 12:00, 14:30 – 17:00.

The monastery of Sisters of Our Lady of Zion
The unusual convent, which belongs to the order of Our Lady of Zion, was founded in 1861 by two French brothers. In the past, it was an orphanage, and now it is a modest inn managed by nuns. Beside the inn, there is a garden. Its fine terrace provides one with amazing view.
HaOren st., 23. Tel. 02-6415738. Open: Mon. – Fri. 09:00 – 13:00, 14:00 – 17:00.

The Russian Village
For a long time, the Russian Village had been out of limits for tourists. Today it is open for visitors. Around 100 women, mostly nuns, live there. There is an amazingly beautiful church,
“Moscovia”, in the center of the village. Indeed, it reminds of Moscow churches with its architecture. The church was founded in the beginning of 20th century by the German princess Elizabeth, who married a member of Romanov czar dynasty. Needless to say, the princess was murdered during the revolution in 1917 by Bolsheviks. For this tragic reason, the church construction was stopped. “Moscovia” was finished only almost a century after, in 2005. Only pilgrims are allowed inside. The other visitors content themselves with a walk around the church’s picturesque outskirts.

Mary’s Spring
This spring dating back to the Bronze Age is considered sacred, because the Virgin Mary stopped by and drank from it. Ein Karem Village built around this spring borrows its name. Unfortunately, its water, sacred for Christians, today is polluted with something, and one must not drink from it. But the spring’s water-wheel still remains the meeting point of tourists and their guides.
HaOren st., 23. Tel. 02-6415738. Open: Mon. and Fri. 09:00 -13:00, 14:00 – 17:00, Sun. and Thu. 11:00 – 18:00.

Tourist tours “The legends of Ein Karem”
On every Friday and Saturday morning, at water-wheel of Mary’s spring, guided tours of Ein Karem start. One needs booking in advance by the number 02-6418682.

Eden-Tamir Music Center
The center was established in 1968 and became the constant place for chamber music concerts and other music events. Many of the world’s great musicians displayed their mastery at the center.
HaMaayan st., 29. Tel. 02-6414250.

Sweet Ein Karem
Usually tourists crown their visit to the village with this shop. The shop carries an enormous choice of the most delicious chocolate and praline dainties, as well as of ice-cream of local production. In a heated day such ice-cream is especially popular.
Mavo Ha-Shahar, 2. Tel. 077-2006660. Open on: Sun. – Sat. 09:30 – 19:30.

Information on recommended locations in Jerusalem

Old City
City center
East Jerusalem
Historical and archaeological sites and museums 
Arts and Culture
Jerusalem restaurants and cafes
Jerusalem malls, shops, and markets
Jerusalem Family Entertainments
Pilgrimage to Jerusalem
Jerusalem cultural events