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Old Jerusalem

Old Jerusalem is home to many religious sites, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall for Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians and the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque for Muslims.

The Old City, in Hebrew “Hair Haatika” is a small part of today’s Jerusalem. Until the second half of the 19th century this area constituted the whole city of Jerusalem.

Since the Six Day War in June 1967, when the city was reunited, all places of worship are open to all visitors without any distinction of race or religion. Pilgrims from all over the world flock to Jerusalem Old City to pray and visit their Holy Sites.

Aerial view of the Old City Jerusalem

Aerial view of Old Jerusalem

A spiritual Experience

A visit to the Old City, especially for the first time is a spiritual experience that cannot be compared to any of your travels and visits to other places in the world. The sensation of Holiness is all over, as you walk through its narrow streets full of views and smells characteristic only to this Holy City.

The city is surrounded by thick 16th Century Walls and it is traditionally divided into four quarters, the Muslim, the Armenian, the Christian and the Jewish Quarter. Since the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, the Jewish quarter has seen a great development. It is not only a living neighborhood it is also visited by thousands of students and all type of visitors on a daily basis.

The Walls surrounding Old City Jerusalem

The Walls surrounding Old Jerusalem

History of more than 3,000 years

The history of Jerusalem Old City goes back more than 3,000 years when King David established his capital here. The street plan dates from Byzantine times. The Jews have had a continuous presence in the city since then, except for a period of 19 years from 1948 when the State of Israel fought its War or Independence and it fell under Jordanian control, until its liberation and reunification in 1967 on the Six Day War. It is worth mentioning that during those years the access to Jews was prohibited by the Jordanians. I am a witness to that.  When I arrived as a student to Jerusalem back in 1959 we couldn’t get to the Old city to visit or pray at the Western Wall of the Temple.

Old Jerusalem

Jaffa Gate is the main entrance to Old City Jerusalem

Jaffa Gate is the main entrance to Old City Jerusalem

Jerusalem Gates

  • Jaffa Gate
  • New Gate
  • Damascus
  • Herod's Gate
  • St Stephen's Gate
  • Golden Gate
  • Dung Gate
  • Zion Gate

There are many Christian Churches in Old Jerusalem and some are located outside the walls.


Dome of the Rock built on the grounds of the Jewish Temple

Dome of the Rock built on the grounds of the Jewish Temple

Other sites of interest

Dome of the Rock - In Hebrew Kipat Hasela is the impressive dome constructed by Muslims on top of the Temple Mount. The amazing golden dome is seen from all over Jerusalem and is worldwide recognized in Jerusalem pictures.

Al Aqsa Mosque also known as the Temple Mount to Jews and Christians is not open to Non –Muslims. Access is strictly regulated.

Western Wall Jerusalem – In Hebrew Hakotel Hamaaravi is also known as the Wailing Wall. This is the holiest place in Judaism. Jews from all over come to the Kotel with reverence and pray, feeling that they are nearer than ever to heaven.

The Cardo – Meaning Heart because it was the heart of the city and Jerusalem’s main roadway. Once discovered by excavations it has been reconstructed. Today you’ll find stores in remembrance of the years long gone. 

Hurva Square – The remains of an Old Synagogue burnt down several times. An arch stays there today as a reminder.

Western Wall Tunnels Tour – Those interested in archaeology will find this tour very attractive. It covers the underground tunnels below the wall, a synagogue, a pool and a water tunnel.

Saint Mary's Hospice – These are ruins of a Crusader’s German Hospice dating to the 12th Century.

Noble Sanctuary – In Hebrew Har Habayit and in Arabic Haram al-Sharif is the main attraction of the Muslim quarter. It is a large esplanade in southern Old Jerusalem.

The impressive Tower of David in Old City Jerusalem

The impressive Tower of David in Old City Jerusalem

Citadel – Located besides de Jaffa gate is occupied today by the Tower of David museum.

Museum of Islamic Art – It is located on the Knights Templar and his has just a few Islamic antiques. The LA Mayer Museum in the new city is much more complete. 

The Broad Wall - It was unearthed after the Six day War. The thick wall dates to the 8th Century BC.   

Wohl Archaeological Museum – This is a museum with excavations of the Herodian times. It was built around 2,000 years ago, before the Romans came and destroyed the city.

Ophel Archaeological Park – In the southern side of Temple Mount with remains of Herodian’s time, Byzantine and Ottoman origin

Ramparts Walk – You may walk on the city walls from Jaffa Gate to St Stephen’s Gate in one direction and from Jaffa Gate to Dung Gate in the other.

The Suq El Attaria – Suq or Shuk in Hebrew means market. If you are a shopping tourist you will fiund here from species to souvenirs and from groceries to fine clothing and jewelry.

A visit to Old Jerusalem is the number one highlight of your Holy Land Experience. Spiritually you will never be the same.

For more information visit Israel Tourism Office Website

From Old Jerusalem go to Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Go to Al Aqsa Mosque
Go to Ascension Church
Go to Christian Sites in Jerusalem
Go to Church of All Nations  
Go to City of David
Go to Garden Tomb
Go to Gates of Jerusalem
Go to Gethsemane
Go to Mount of Olives
Go to Tower of David
Go to Via Dolorosa
Go to Western Wall
Go to Western Wall Tunnels

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