Does absorbing 4,000 years of history in one day seem daunting to you? Wouldn’t know where to start? I so understand so this is where I come in! The aim of this tour is to get an overview of the quarters and the three monotheistic religions. We’ll start our tour at Jaffa Gate, one of the seven gates built into the walls of Suleiman the Magnificent erected in 1538. Our first steps will take us past the Tower of David and along the road of the Armenian Orthodox Patriarch. The Armenian Quarter is the oldest in the city and the only real quarter to be walled off. We’ll continue along that road until we reach Zion Gate where we’ll exit for a moment to go and visit the Room of the Last Supper, also known as the Cenacle above David’s tomb on Mount Zion.
Re-entering through Zion gate, we’ll make our way toward the Jewish Quarter pausing in the Cardo to discuss it and where you will have time to do a little shopping. The Cardo was the main north-south thoroughfare of the Roman city Aelia Capitolina.
The Jewish Quarter is our next stop. We’ll stop at one the oldest remains of Jerusalem, the so-called Broad Wall of King Hezekiah and you will learn its history. Then a few more steps will take us to the main square of the quarter where you’ll see the Hurva Synagogue, the oldest Ashkenazi synagogue in Jerusalem, which has quite a story!
On we go to Aish Ha Torah center where we’ll go up to the rooftop view and you will get your first outstanding view of the Western Wall. Now, let’s go down and see and touch it and why not, put a little prayer in the cracks of the wall. There’s nothing like having a direct contact with the Almighty!
After lunch, we’ll continue making our way along Al-Wad street until we reach the 5th Station of the Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Sorrow. We’ll describe the various stations until they take us to the last 5 stations which are within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Before that, however, we’ll make a stop, time permitting, at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer where we’ll ascend the 177 steps of the bell-tower to see the most outstanding view of the entire city. It is quite a hike but well worth the effort!
The Church of the Redeemer is located within the old Crusader quarter of the Muristan and it will be an opportunity to discuss in a few words the impact the Crusaders had on the land in only 200 years.
Finally, we’ll end our day at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the holiest site for the Christians. We’ll discuss its history and its architecture which is quite complicated and fascinating all at once. Sometimes, if luck is with us, there is a procession going on and it is something not to be missed!
We’ll make our way back to Jaffa Gate via David Street, the main street where you’ll witness firsthand the hustle and bustle of a typical oriental market.