Jerusalem – Old City
Exploring the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City
The Old City is a walled area located within the modern city of Jerusalem. One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, the Old City has a magical quality that few places possess. With its abundance of holy sites, bustling markets, narrow alleys, and ancient buildings, the Old City is a must-see on any tour to Israel. Several important Jewish sites are located within its walls.
Today, the Old City is divided into four quarters: the Jewish Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, the Muslim Quarter, and the Christian Quarter. The Jewish Quarter is situated in the southeast corner and is the main residential area for Jews in the Old City. There has been an almost continuous Jewish presence in the Jewish Quarter since the 8th century BCE.
In 1948, when the Old City was occupied by Jordan, Jews were expelled and nearly all of the ancient buildings in the Jewish Quarter were destroyed. When Israel regained control of the Old City in 1967, they carefully excavated the Jewish Quarter and rebuilt it. Below are some sites worth visiting if you travel to Israel and explore the Jewish Quarter:
The Hurva Synagogue
The Hurva Synagogue, which was built over 400 years ago, dominated the Old City’s skyline prior to the Jordanian occupation. Israel did not rebuild the synagogue in 1967 because of disagreements, but a commemorative arch was erected at the site in its honor. In 2000, the Israeli government approved plans to rebuild the Hurva Synagogue, and in 2010, the reconstructed synagogue was officially opened to the public
The Western Wall
The Western Wall, which is known as the Kotel Ha-Ma’aravi in Hebrew, is a remnant of the exterior wall of the Second Temple compound, which the Romans had destroyed in 70 CE. There is a large prayer plaza that offers access to the wall. Many Orthodox Jews can be seen praying and chanting at the plaza, which is divided into two sections: one for men and one for women.
The Burnt House
The Burnt House is a site featuring the remains of a house that was burned down when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 CE. The Burnt House is also called Katros House because the inscription”bar katros” was found on one of the weights in the house during excavations. The Burnt House was destroyed in the same fire that destroyed the Temple. Excavations of the site revealed various artifacts, including ovens, grindstones, basalt stone pestles, and stone tables, which tell us about the Jewish way of life in ancient times.
The Cardo, also known as Cardo Maximus, is a colonnaded Roman-Byzantine street that traverses the city from north to south, starting at Damascus Gate and ending at Zion’s Gate. The Cardo dates back to the 6 th century CE. It has an open-air section, museum, and souvenir shops.
The Broad Wall
The Broad Wall is a remnant of the thick city walls that were built by Hezekiah before the Assyrian King Sennacherib’s invasion in 701 BCE, when the First Temple was still in existence. Currently, 45 meters of the wall are on display in the heart of the Jewish Quarter.
City of David
Named after King David, the City of David is the most ancient settlement in Jerusalem. King David established the City of David as the unified capital of the tribes of Israel over 3,000 years ago. Solomon, King David’s son, built the First Temple on the City of David’s northern border. The City of David is home to several sites of archaeological interest. The only part of the ancient settlement that remains intact is its underground water system.
Tour Israel and the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City with ITC
Tour Israel and the fascinating sites of the Jewish Quarter with ITC, the leading tour agency in North America for travel to Israel. If you want to learn more about the history and culture of Israel and explore the roots of your Jewish faith, a tour to Israel with ITC is sure to be a life-changing experience. For more information, please call 1.800.2.ISRAEL (or 1.800.247.7235) or fill out our online contact form.
For more information, please fill out our online contact form or call 1.800.2.ISRAEL (1.800.247.7235).