Holyland Tourist Information
See Useful Arabic Words & Phrases
The Holyland is probably the only place in the world where geography and history are so closely cross-linked. Every inch of the land has a story to tell, every hill the scene of a battle, and every stone a monument or tomb.
|Area ||28,630 km2|
|Population || 8,255,058 (1998)|
|Capital population ||379,000 (Est. 1997)|
It has always been and is still making history, providing lessons for future generations to learn.
Southwestern Asia, bordering eastern coast of the Mediterranean sea, bounded on the north by Lebanon, on north east by Syria (Jolan heights), on the east by Jordan, on the west by the Mediterranean sea, and on the south west by Egypt. See map in Map & Sites page.
|Official language||Hebrew & Arabic||Second language||English|
|Religions||Jewish 68% - Muslims 26% - Christians 6%||Measures||Metric|
|Time||GMT +02:00 - US EST +7||Electricity||110/220 Volts, 50 AC|
|Currency||Sheckel, US Dollar, and JD (see below)||Int'l Dialing Code||00972|
Everyday from 8:00 to 17:00 except Fridays from 8:30 to 13:00 - Saturdays Off.
Predominantly Muslim areas like East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip and the West Bank towns remain open on Saturday but are closed all day Friday. Christian owned businesses concentrated in Jerusalem Old City close on Sunday. Standard shopping hours are Monday to Thursday 8:00 - 13:00 and 16:00 - 19:00 or later.
Keep in mind that on February (Shabbat), all Israeli shops, offices and places of entertainment close down. Shabbat starts at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown Saturday.
Easterns need to get a VISA to enter the Holy Land, others need a valid passport only.
Note: If you want to visit Syria, Lebanon, and/or Iraq, no Israeli stamp or any crossing point with Israel stamp should be on your passport this includes Araba border, Sheikh Hussein border, Rafah border, and Taba border.
|Currency & Exchange Facilities|
The main currency in the Holy Land is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS) which equals $0.25 US Dollars. One NIS is 100 Agorot.
Coin denominations are: 10, 50 agorot and 1, 5, 10 NIS.
Paper denominations are: 20, 50, 100, 200 NIS.
US Dollar can be used in East and West Jerusalem.
Jordan Dinar is used in East Jerusalem (1 JD = 6 SH).
There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency one can take in or out of the country, nor is one compelled to change any set amount on arrival. Visitors are advised to take dollars, but any other major European currency can also be freely changed at banks and with currency exchange offices.
Major credit cards such as Master Card, Visa, Diners Club and AMEX are accepted. Nearly every establishment takes credit cards. Many bank foyers are equipped with cash dispensing ATMs accepting all of the major international credit cards. Traveller Cheques are also accepted and visitors will have no trouble getting them cashed.
Bearers of Eurocheques can even exchange them at branches of the post office or go to one of the non-commission currency exchange bureaus.
April through October are rainless, June to August are hot summer months, November to March are winter months, with cool to cold tempratures and rain.
The climate is clear anytime of the year. In winter, Jericho is a favorite resort and even Jerusalem sun can be warm during the day. Winter can be cold, rainy with the possibility of snow in some areas. Spring is definitely the best time to visit, the weather is temperate enough making it enjoyable to travel around.
Average temperature in Centigrade
|New Year||1st January||Labor Day||1st May|
Islamic holidays based on Hijri/Lunar calendar
|Eid Al-Fiter||3 days marking end of Ramadan (fasting month)|
|Eid Al-Adha||3 days at the end of Hajj|
|Islamic New Year||1st of Moharram|
|Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) Birthday||12th Rabe'a El-Awwal|
|Al-Isra' Wal Mi'raj||27th Rajab|
|Orthodox Christmas||7th Jan|
|Armenian Christmas||19th Jan|
|Good Friday||1 Day|
|Easter Sunday||1 Day|
|Orthodox & Armenian Good Friday||1 Day|
|Orthodox & Armenian Easter Sunday||1 Day|
|Western Christmas||25th Dec|
|Pesach||1st to 8th Apr|
|Yum Kipur||20th Sep|
|Succoi||25th Sep to 3rd Oct|
|Emergency Phone Numbers (PA = Palestinian Authority)|
|Emergency (PA)||02 741 323||Police (PA)||02 748 222|
|Ambulance (PA)||02 741 161/2/3||Fire (PA)||02 741 123|
Tipping policy in the Holyland is usually minimized as follows:
$2 US Dollars per person daily for driver
$3 US Dollars per person daily for IDE
$1 US Dollar to be divided between hotel and restaurant
Of course this is not a strict rule as everybody goes with it depending on his/her own satisfaction.