The diversity of Jerusalem architecture is testament to the many cultures and civilizations that have shaped the city over thousands of years. Whether it's the Dome of the Rock, built in the 7th century, or the Knesset Parliament building erected in the 1960s, looking at architecture in Jerusalem will provide a fascinating window into this ancient yet modern city.
The Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount takes top place in the overview of Jerusalem's architecture. Although non-Moslems are not presently allowed to go inside the Moslem holy shrine, the golden dome and its outstanding tile work may be enjoyed in views from many places in and around the Old City. Some of the best spots for taking in the beauty of the Dome are the rooftop of the Aish Building in the Jewish Quarter; the Mt of Olives observation point to the east of the Old City and the rooftop of the Austrian Hospice in the Moslem Quarter.
Still in the Old City, our next pick for unique architecture is the Hurva synagogue. Restored and reopened in 2010, this majestic synagogue in the Jewish Quarter has a history going back to the 18th century. It has been restored to look as it did before 1948, and it dominates the Jewish Quarter skyline. Don't expect to just wander in for a look, however. Tours are by reservation only and should be made at least a week in advance.
Examples of modern architecture in western Jerusalem are the Knesset building, which has interesting tours in English on a daily basis as well as the nearby Supreme Court Building designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie and opened in the early 1990s. The Jerusalem Theater complex is worth a visit and you can decide whether the modern arts complex fits in with the architecture of the surrounding Talbieh neighborhood.
Safra Square, at the beginning of Jaffa Road not far from Jaffa Gate, is another interesting example of the fusion of old and new in Jerusalem. The square includes many restored buildings that were designed and built during the British Mandate period of the early 20th century, as well as a number of older structures--the Russian Cathedral and the Court building that date from the 19th century.