The Old City Of Jerusalem
The Old City of Jerusalem goes back 3000 years or so, and is the most ancient part of the city. It is entirely surrounded by the original wall of David’s city and divided into four quarters: Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and Armenian. You will find that most of the city’s religious landmarks (The western wall, al- Aqsa mosque and the Via Dolorosa) are located within the old city.
The narrow streets of the old city are mostly paved with old limestone, and are lined with a mixture of shops and restaurants which makes them look and feel like one big old “Mediterranean bazaar”.
The old city used to have some security issues a few years ago, when a few Israelis were stabbed by Arabs who came from eastern Jerusalem, but for the past few years it is safe again, and the feeling is friendly and comfortable.
Any time is a good time to visit the old city, but I find that the best time to visit the old city is Friday around noon time – Just a few hours before the “Shabbat” (Jewish Saturday) enters, and when there’s this so special feeling on the old city streets that are painted gold in honor of the Shabbat.
Recommended old city tour:
The best starting point would be the Western (wailing) wall, to which you can arrive by bus (Egged lines 1,2, or 38), taxi or car. When arriving by car, please mind the severe parking problems – the best place to park would be just outside the old city as you pass the Kotel to the north of the surrounding old city wall. If you are staying in Jerusalem a taxi would be the best option.
More information on the kotel can be found at the kotel website: http://english.thekotel.org/
After a visit to the Kotel it is most interesting to see the Western wall tunnels which have been opened to the public just a few years ago. Please note that Tours of the tunnels are taken only with guides and must be scheduled in advance.
Tours are available for individuals and groups in Hebrew and English.
To schedule a tour call 02-627-1333.
Just after your visit to the Kotel and the Kotel tunnels the best option is to climb the stairs that are situated behind the kotel. The stairs lead you right into the old city and “yad ben zvi” square which is the heart of the Jewish quarter and where everything is within a very short walking distance.
For those of you looking to do some shopping, the goldsmith Market where you can shop for jewelry as well as paintings will be a good spot.
The legendary "Abu hassan" hummus place on Antonia st. is a good spot to stop by for a quick lunch, and the rest is up to you – follow your nose, and find all those special places in the old city, trust me – it is filled with them.
Enjoy your trip!