The old city of Jerusalem

Welcome to one of the most holy places in the world. With numerous incredibly important sites, stunning architecture, and colorful markets, the old city of Jerusalem is truly a place like no other.
The western wall in Jerusalem

The Old city of Jerusalem: immerse yourself in incredible history.

With a history that goes back more than seven thousand years, countless sites of tremendous religion importance, and so many beautiful places to see in such a small area, its not hard to figure out what makes the old city of Jerusalem the number 1 site to visit in Israel. With sites like The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, The Western Wall, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and more, you visit here is gonna be as fascinating and epic as it gets.
Jerusalem old city, Israel
Jerusalem Wall, Israel
A Look at Jerusalem Old City, Israel

The History of Jerusalem

The Old City of Jerusalem covers an area of ​​only one square kilometer but contains a history of thousands of years. A sign of the international importance of the Old City is its declaration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the 1980s, along with the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Wall of China, and dozens of other wonderful sites. What makes it unique is the meeting that takes place there between the roots of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam that have turned the Old City of Jerusalem into a fascinating place for millions of visitors every year.

Through the years, Jerusalem had been ruled and fought over by numerous empires and peoples, including the Romans, The greeks, the Ottomans, the Persians, and several more. In addition, Between 1948-1967, the city was divided, as Eastern Jerusalem, including the old city, was in the territory of Jordan, and Western Jerusalem had been controlled by Israel.

The borders of the old city were created in the 19th century to distinguish it from the new city outside the walls. The wall we know today was built by Suleiman I, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, and was preceded by many walls that were built and destroyed over thousands of years of conquests and wars. The gates of the city wall are the source of legends from different periods such as the rat gates from the Second Temple period that were sealed during the Muslim occupation and the mythological Gate of Mercy.

The different quarters of the old city

As a diverse, multicultural city, The Old City Of Jerusalem is divided into 4 different quarters, each with its unique history, architecture, and style.

The Jewish Quarter

Jews have lived in the city for thousands of years and in the 15th century, a Jewish community began to live in the quarter which expanded with the arrival of deportees from Spain. Over the years, as the population grew, the quarter became crowded and the Jews began to migrate outside the walls. In the last several decades, the quarter underwent restoration and became a tourist gem with archeology sites, museums, ancient buildings, and synagogues, including the Western Wall.

The Muslim Quarter

This is the largest district which is also located in the highest area of the old city. Initially, Jews lived in the territory of the quarter until they were expelled by the Crusaders, who resided there during their rule over Jerusalem. During the Ottoman period, a mixed population of the three religions lived there and the institutions of government and law were located there, and later hostels and churches were also established for Christian pilgrims. The Muslim quarter contains narrow and crowded streets that are filled every Friday with Muslim believers who come to pray on the holy mountain – the Temple Mount.

The Christian Quarter

The heart of the Christian quarter is the complex of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the religious buildings of different factions in Christianity around it. The Christian quarter was officially established with the earthquake that hit Jerusalem in 1033 and thanks to generous Byzantine funding, which enabled to build of a wall around the quarter. Over the years, the Christian countries of Europe made sure to maintain and develop it, by building churches and buildings for the many pilgrims. The church complex is considered the central part of the “Via Dolorosa” journey. The district is noticeable thanks to the prominent red roofs of the old city and it contains sites of extraordinary importance.

The Armenian Quarter

The Armenians, who were the first nation to convert to Christianity, have been living in the city since the fourth century. Over the years, the Armenian quarter had fought to maintain its status as a national and cultural center even when the community expanded following the Armenian Holocaust and the world wars. The entire quarter is considered the compound of St. James Cathedral Church and is closed to visitors at night time. In the district, there are unique religious buildings and an Armenian museum, as the quarter is known for its great beauty, mystery, and charm.

Best things to do in Jerusalem Old City

Visit the holy sites

Without a doubt, the main reason why so many people come and visit the Old City Of Jerusalem is its sites of incredible importance to so many people around the world. Within a very short walk, you can visit world-renowned sites like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, The Western Wall, and Al-Aqsa Mosque, which are some of the most important religious sites in the whole world, to Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

Walk on the Jerusalem Wall

A walk on the walls of Jerusalem from above allows for a spectacular panoramic view of the city and its incredible sites. The route goes along most of the wall (except the Temple Mount area), and is divided into two. Firstly, the southern promenade, which passes over the Armenian quarter and the Jewish quarter – from the Jaffa Gate to the Zion Gate (with the option of reaching near the Gate of the Ashpots and the prayer plaza of the Western Wall ). Secondly, The northern promenade, which passes over the Christian quarter and the Muslim quarter – from the Jaffa Gate through Nablus Gate to the Flower Gate. Please note, the entrance to both promenades, the southern and the northern, is from the Jaffa Gate.

Entrance fee:

Adults: 25 ILS

Children: 12 ILS

Visit The Tower Of David

Near the Jaffa Gate, at the highest point in the old city, is the Tower of David, which is a magnificent medieval fortress that was used to defend the city. The citadel has had many incarnations, with the Arabs, the Crusaders, and the Turks all leaving their mark on the building’s architecture. One of the best reasons to come here is the amazing view from the citadel towers, as the city spreads out in front of you. The Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem operates in the complex, with a permanent display dedicated to the history of the city alongside changing exhibitions on various topics.

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