Today Jewish people around the world are celebrating their new year - a time for personal reflection and to give joy and thanks. This ancient religion, which follows a lunar calendar, is heading into the year 5773 and many will spend the day by praying in a synagogue before enjoying lunch with the family. Given this important date in the Jewish calendar, here at Flight Centre, we thought we'd focus on locations important to this monotheistic religion.
Here are five international destinations significant to the Jewish religion.
In the Jordan Valley overlooking the Dead Sea, the outcrop fortifications of Masada became a symbol of Jewish resistance against the Romans in 72CE after the Jews took their own lives rather than being taken into slavery by the Roman legions. Today the archaeological remains of the structure can be explored either by walking up the narrow path from the valley or by taking the cable car.
Dohány Street Synagogue, Hungary
One of the largest and best preserved Synagogues in Europe is the Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest. The impressive structure, which was designed in a Moorish revival style with Byzantine, Romantic and Gothic influences, was consecrated in 1859. When visiting the building be sure to keep an eye out for the ark where the torahs are kept and the eternal flame.
Mount Sinai, Egypt
According to the Old Testament, Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai located on the Sinai Peninsula in modern day Egypt. Today, travellers can follow in the footsteps of Moses and climb Mount Sinai for the incredible views. It is easily done as a day trip from Dahab.
Western Wall, Israel
In the heart of Jerusalem's beautiful old town is the Western Wall – arguably the most sacred site in Israel. This is the last remaining piece of the Second Temple that was completed around 516 BCE and was largely developed by Herod the Great around 19 BCE. The majority of the Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. When in Jerusalem, consider visiting the wall during the day but return on a Saturday night, as the locals celebrate the end of Shabbat for another week.
Prague Jewish Quarter, Czech Republic
Situated between the old town square and the Vltava River, the buildings within the Prague Jewish Quarter largely survived mostly intact from the upheaval of World War Two. Interested travellers may like to enlist the help of a local guide who'll be able to explain the history of the sights - including the six synagogues and the Jewish cemetery. The Old-New Synagogue dates back to the thirteenth century and was designed in a Gothic style.