Jerusalem is a historical city located in Israel, often referred to as the “Holy Land” because of the historical and religious significance of the city. Jerusalem is situated in the Judean Mountains between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea. It is considered one of the oldest cities in the world, holy to three major religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Today modern-day Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and is one of the most vibrant, dynamic, and popular places to visit as a tourist.
As a tourist in Israel, Jerusalem is by far the most important city to visit. Arriving as a solo traveller is a great way to explore Jerusalem, and to get the most out of your visit to Israel, an experienced guide or joining a packaged Israel tour is essential as there are so many historic and biblical sites worth seeing.
The Old City of Jerusalem
The Old City of Jerusalem is an ancient, walled city, approximately 1 square-kilometer in size, with documented history that dates back over 2000 years. The significance of the Old City is unfounded anywhere else and what makes it so special is that it contains religious and historical elements central to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Old City is home to The Western Wall, the last remaining section of the Jewish Temple Mount, and is considered the Holiest of sites in Judaism, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, shared between the many denominations and where Jesus is believed to be crucified and buried, and the Dome of the Rock, situated on the Temple Mount, represents Islam’s third Holiest site and where it is said to be where Mohamed rose into the heavens.
There are Four Quarters of the Old City in Jerusalem. The Jewish Quarter, Christian Quarter, Muslim Quarter and Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem. Each is unique in its appearance and diverse in demographics yet there is a beauty that binds them all together and the way residents move about in their daily lives.
1. The Jewish Quarter is one of the four traditional quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem. The 116,000 square meter area lies in the southeastern sector of the walled city, and stretches from the Zion Gate in the south, along the Armenian Quarter on the west, up to the Street of the Chain in the north and extends to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount in the east. In the early 20th century, the Jewish population of the quarter reached 19,000.
2. The Christian Quarter is situated in the northwestern corner of the Old City, extending from the New Gate in the north, along the western wall of the Old City as far as the Jaffa Gate, along the Jaffa Gate – Western Wall route in the south, bordering on the Jewish and Armenian Quarters, as far as the Damascus Gate in the east, where it borders on the Muslim Quarter. The Christian quarter contains about 40 Christian holy places. Among them is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of Christianity’s holiest places.
3. The Muslim Quarter is one of the four quarters of the ancient, walled Old City of Jerusalem. It covers 31 hectares (77 acres) of the northeastern sector of the Old City. The quarter is the largest and most populous and extends from the Lions’ Gate in the east, along the northern wall of the Temple Mount in the south, to the Damascus Gate—Western Wall route in the west. The Via Dolorosa starts in the Muslim quarter.
4. The Armenian Quarter is one of the four quarters of the walled Old City of Jerusalem. Located in the southwestern corner of the Old City, it can be accessed through the Zion Gate and Jaffa Gate. It occupies an area of 0.126 km² which is 14% of the Old City’s total. In 2007, it had a population of 2,424 (6.55% of Old City’s total). In both criteria, it is comparable to the Jewish Quarter. The Armenian Quarter is separated from the Christian Quarter by David Street (Suq el-Bazaar) and from the Jewish Quarter by Habad Street (Suq el-Husur)
Modern Day Jerusalem
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