Jerusalem’s Old City in a Day

| July 18, 2012 | 0 Comments
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EdoM  Public DomainTower of David

EdoM  Public Domain
Tower of David

Jerusalem Old City

No matter if this is your first or your fifteenth visit to Jerusalem, there’s so much to see, do and experience in the holy city that arriving with a plan will make your trip that much more meaningful and enjoyable. Here are five key areas to include.

1. City of David

Plan on spending the better part of one day in and around the Old City.  Start with the City of David, Ir David, where the very idea of Jerusalem came into being. The 3-hour guided tour provided by the City of David’s Visitors Center will introduce you to the ancient city and its borders; you’ll understand Jerusalem’s natural and man-made water systems and see where kings of Israel were anointed. Inspiring views and a short 3-D presentation help visitors understand the significance of early Jerusalem before heading out.

2. Second Temple

Faye Gelb  All rights reservedWestern Wall

Faye Gelb  All rights reserved
Western Wall

Jerusalem’s Old City offers layer upon layer of history and one of the most exciting things to do is to descend below 21st century Jerusalem to experience and learn about the Jerusalemites of previous generations and their history. Underneath the Jewish Quarter, the Burnt House and the nearby Wohl Museum of Archaeology will take you back to Second Temple times as you walk through the remains of the lavishly decorated homes of the Jewish upper class who lived during King Herod’s reign. The Jewish Second Temple period also sheds light on the origins of Christianity, adding to its historical importance.

3. Western Wall

To get a completely different view of the Western Wall, take the dramatic 80-minute guided Tunnel Tour that will take you deep under the small section of the Wall where most visitors pray today. Walk underground along the entire length of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount to discover massive ancient carved stones and an aqueduct from Hasmonean times. Stand at the spot closest to the Holy of Holies of the Jewish Temple. Back up at street level, take a look at some of the most significant and beautiful synagogues (link: Six Not to Be Missed Synagogues) in the world, all within a ten-minute walk of each other: The magnificently restored Hurva Synagogue.  The historic Four Sephardic Synagogues that include some poignant photos of the desolation of the synagogues and the Jewish Quarter during the Israeli War of Independence and the years of Jordanian occupation of the Old City, as well as some beautiful Sephardic synagogue architecture and artifacts. The revived Ohel Yitzhak Synagogue in the Moslem Quarter.}

Berthold Werner  Public DomainJerusalem Jaffa Gate

Berthold Werner  Public Domain
Jerusalem Jaffa Gate

4. Observation Points

One of the best ways to understand the Old City is by climbing up to a rooftop.  Choose at least one of these spots to get your overview of Jerusalem:

  • The rampart of the Tower of David.
  • The roof of the Austrian Hospice in the Moslem Quarter
  • The roof of the Aish HaTorah Building overlooking the Kotel Plaza,
  • The roof on top of David’s Tomb on Mt Zion
  • The rooftop over the market, up the metal steps at the intersection of Chabad Street and St Mark’s Road

5. Tower of David

Take a break in the Cardo—the Roman and Byzantine main north-south artery of Jerusalem that’s still used as a shopping area today. Stop for a refreshment break at one of the many kosher cafes and bakeries that line Rehov HaYehudim and make your way back toward Jaffa Gate and the Tower of David where the Night Spectacular, the state-of-the-art multimedia projection played on the walls of the citadel, will round off your day in the Old City.

Jerusalem’s Old City: Did you know?

The model of the Second Temple on the rooftop of the Aish Building overlooking the Western Wall Plaza weighs 1.2 tons and was constructed according to the specifics of the Mishnah and built by a Russian-born immigrant, Michael Osnis.

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Category: Historical, Holy Sites, Jerusalem, Judaism, Touring

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