“I am Jerusalem” – Visit Jerusalem, visit the world! – There could be no more appropriate title for this article! Discovering the old city!
“For the Arabs, and the above all for the 1.2 million Arabs of Palestine, the partitioning of the land in which they had been a majority for seven centuries seemed a monstrous injustice thrust upon them by white Western imperialism in expiation of a crime they had not committed. With few exceptions, the Jewish people had dwelt in relative security among the Arabs over the centuries. The golden age of the Diaspora had come in the Spain of the caliphs, and the Ottoman Turks had welcomed the Jews when the doors of much of Europe were closed to them. The ghastly chain of crimes perpetrated on the Jewish people culminating in the crematoriums of Germany had been inflicted on them by the Christian nations of Europe, not those of the Islamic East, and it was on those nations, not theirs, the Arabs maintained, that the burden of those sins should fall. Beyond that, seven hundred years of continuous occupation seemed to the Arabs a far more valid claim to the land than the Jews’ historic ties, however deep.” ― Larry Collins, Ô Jérusalem
Visit Jerusalem, visit the world! – The Four Quarters of the Old City
The history of Jerusalem is the history of the world.
The Old City of Jerusalem is divided in many ways politically, but there are four different quarters that divide the city culturally, religiously and even historically.
Here the Four Quarters of the Old City:
- Visit Jerusalem – The Christian Quarter
The Christian Quarter of the Old City is probably the first most tourists come across, as many tourists head into the Old City from Jaffa Gate, which is the closest entrance point for many staying in Jerusalem hotels. Also just inside Jaffa Gate is the majestic Tower of David, a highly recommended stopover (officially part of the Armenian Quarter, see below).
- Visit Jerusalem – The Jewish Quarter
The Western Wall, known as HaKotel in Hebrew, is la place to really take in more about the Jewish faith (read more about the ultimate site in the Old City here). This monumental wall is where you can leave prayers between the cracks, and is amazingly powerful and intense. Be aware that there are separate sections for men and women.
- Visit Jerusalem – The Muslim Quarter
One of the sites that Muslims will head for is the Dome of the Rock, which is part of the Noble Sanctuary, home to the Foundation Stone which is sacred to Muslims, Jews, and Christians (but non-Muslims are prohibited from entering this area during Fridays and prayer times). This is where Muslims believe that Muhammad ascended into Heaven, accompanied by Gabriel.
- Visit Jerusalem – The Armenian Quarter
The standout site to see is the amazing Citadel, known as the Tower of David. This is one of our favorite spots in the Old City, and well worth checking out (read our full guide here – and you might want to check out the impressive Night Spectacular Show too!). There is also the Armenian Museum and St. James Cathedral (one of the most beautiful of all the sacred old buildings in the Old City), two sites of interest for many Old City visitors.