As a holy city for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Jerusalem has always been of great symbolic importance. The Old City is a 0.9 square kilometers walled area within the modern city of Jerusalem. The Old City is home to several sites of key religious importance: the Temple Mount and Western Wall for Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 1981.
Old City Of Jerusalem Tours
The Christian Quarter
One of the things to do is to visit the Christian quarter. The Christian quarter has more than 40 churches, monasteries, and hostels that were built for Christian pilgrims. In the heart of the Christian quarter is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre or the Church of the Resurrection, which, according to Christian tradition, was the site upon which Jesus was crucified and buried following his final walk along the Via Dolorosa, or the Stations of the Cross. The market - one of Jerusalem's most popular tourist attractions, is located in the Christian quarter and is a noisy, colorful market where one can buy decorated pottery, candles, souvenirs, ethnic costumes, mats, rugs, beads and jewelry, glass lamps, and decorative items. The merchants call out their wares and the food stands emit tantalizing aromas.
The Jewish Quarter
For those who want to see what the Jewish day to day life in the Old City is like, then walking through the Jewish Quarter will do the job. The immediate impression you'll get is it's a lot quieter and cleaner than other parts of the Old City. You will see people walking about, but many of the small streets aren't really for visiting. The Jewish quarter also contains interesting archaeological sites such as the Burnt House - the remains of a house from the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans 2,000 years ago. The Cardo is a typical Roman street built in the 6th century consisting of stores situated between two rows of columns. The remains of the tall columns, arches, and stone floor can still be seen in the Cardo.
The Muslim Quarter
The Muslim Quarter is similar to the Jewish Quarter in that it has narrow alleys, but the streets are a lot busier. There's definitely a sense of activity and a busy market atmosphere in many of the streets. 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. This is where Muslims believe that Muhammad ascended into Heaven, accompanied by Gabriel. Another important site is the Monastery of the Flagellation, where it has been said that Christ was flogged by the Roman soldiers prior to His crucifixion and is the first point on the famous Via Dolorosa, the first of the 14 Stations of the Cross. This is a must thing to do at Old City of Jerusalem.
How to Get Tickets?
You don't need to pay for a ticket for a tour in the Old City. You can take a tour anytime you want without having to pay. However, if you want a tour at some important places in the Old City, you might have to pay a little entry fee.
How To Get Around?
The old city is an area of about 1 km square, so it is quite convenient to explore by foot. There are no roads inside, so your best option is walking in the are and do the tour.
What Should I Wear?
There is no dress code in the Old City and you will see many people dressed in many different manners. However, it is better to cover your knees and shoulder as it is a religious city. If you're visiting religious sites, you need to dress modestly. Always bring a scarf to cover your head just in case you need it. Wear a good comfortable shoes since you'll be walking most of the time.
Best Time to Visit
The best times for a tour at Old City are April through May and October through November, when theweather is mild and the crowds are thin. However, make sure to cross-check your travel dates with major Jewish celebrations such as the High Holy Days, Sukkot, and Passover. To ensure you actually get to see the sights at hand and don't get slowed down enormously by crowds, aim to visit the Old City in the early mornings or after 4:00pm for your tours.
Will I Need a Guide?
No, the Old City is best when you explore it by yourself. There are signs everywhere and you won't get lost. Also, there is a Tourist Information Point, just to the left, when you enter the Jaffa Gate. You can also find everything you need on this website.
How To Get There?
There are a number of ways to get to the Old City. The Old City consists of very narrow streets and alleyways, therefore most transportation stops outside the walls and gates of the Old City and visitors are required to walk between 2-15 minutes to their final destination within the Old City walls. One of the closest light rail stations to the Old City is just outside Jerusalem's City Hall (Municipality). From there, it is a 10-15 minute walk to Jaffa Gate or five minutes to New Gate. From Damascus Gate Station you can walk directly into the Old City via Damascus Gate.