Venues in Jerusalem are among the most sophisticated, for, as one of the world's oldest cities and holy center for the three major Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), Jerusalem is a centuries-old destination for pilgrimage. In modern times, it is the seat of Israeli government and location of the Knesset, the Supreme Court, and official residences of Israell's president and prime minister. It has also become an important academic center and location of the prestigious Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem College of Technology, Al-Quds University and others.
International visitors who arrive by air will receive an education about effective airport security. Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV), which is Israel's largest international airport, serves Jerusalem and Tel Aviv; it is known for its thorough security, which will grow even more so as a checked baggage screening upgrade begins in late 2011. Taxi fare from TLV, which is a little more than an hour from Jerusalem, can run up to $83 USD.
The ICC Jerusalem International Convention Center is one of the Middle East's largest convention sites. It can accommodate up to 10,000 people in its meeting, exhibition and various function spaces. Modern and historic hotel venues in Jerusalem with meeting spaces and services round out the facilities inventory: these include the Inbal Jerusalem, with 12,000 square feet of meeting space; the Jerusalem Gate, with 11,000 square feet of meeting space; and the Crowne Plaza Hotel Jerusalem, with 10,000 square feet.
Although it's known primarily for its religious significance, Jerusalem has a robust cultural life within its many heritage sites and performing arts venues. Many host private events inside their unique boundaries. The Israel Museum attracts thousands of visitors annually who arrive to regard the incomparable Dead Sea Scrolls and other archaeological findings, plus an outdoor sculpture garden and scale model of the Second Temple. Yad Veshem is Israel's formidable museum study of the Holocaust era. The Tower of David Museum presents the millennia of Jerusalem history inside a medieval citadel that is a riveting archaeological site. The museum's sound and light show and special music, dance and drama events are among the city's most popular entertainment.
Jerusalem visitors enjoy performances by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and repertory performances at the Khan Theater. The Jerusalem Film Festival is an annual showcase of both Israeli and international creations. For late-night dining, imbibing, and live music, venues in Jerusalem include contemporary hot spots like Colony restaurant and lounge in the historic German Colony district.
As with other venerable destinations, Jerusalem is really several cities in one; it offer visitors a rich array of meetings platforms and leisure activities including museums, international art festivals, concerts and shopping. West Jerusalem is the modern city and a Jewish enclave since the early 19th century. East Jerusalem is primarily Arab in population and culture. In between these contrasting sides is the Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage site and touring focus for most visitors. It's divided into four sectors – the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters. Wandering the ancient stone streets of bazaars is a popular pastime.