One of the hardest things tour guide Brad and tour guide Keryn ran into was the odd hours of every site. For some reason, I was expecting places like churches to be open from, say, 9-5, or maybe 9-4, or something along those lines. And I was expecting the museums to be open till, say, 8pm.
This was naïve.
Some churches were open for long hours–for example, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is open from 5am to 7pm. But St. Anne’s is only open from 8-12am and 2-5pm. Haram al-Sharif (the Temple Mount, or Dome of the Rock) is open from 7-11am and 1:30 – 3:00 (they actually stop letting people in at 2:30). The Israel Museum is closes at 5pm most days (open from 5-9 on Tuesdays). The Rockefeller is only open five days a week from 10-3pm.
So if you aren’t the nightlife type of person (and we aren’t), there was less to do in the evenings in Jerusalem than we might have expected. Sometimes I would just do google searches for “things to do in the evening in Jerusalem”, but most of the time we ran into the “nightlife” problem. But during one search, we found something called the “The Museum of Islamic Art” which was open until 7pm on Thursdays.
Perfect! Not only was it open later than most places, but we would be given a different perspective of art and artifacts in the Holy Land–most everything we have looked at has a distinctly Israeli flavor. We had high hopes to understand the other major population in this region.
We took a taxi to get to the museum, as it was a bit of a walk from the Rockefeller Museum and it was hot. The museum was smaller than I was expecting, and also…not what I was expecting. (Much smaller, nothing about calligraphy as an art form, lots of cool watches that had nothing to do with Islamic Art, and oddly super apathetic workers…) But it was a fun, air-conditioned way to spend a few hours, and I got to see some very beautiful gemstones. So win-win!