For those on the trail, use the old city map, which can be found at the tourist office of the Ministry of Tourism near Jaffa Gate. Or use a more detailed map: ""The Old City of Jerusalem,"" Scale 1:2000. Tour Duration: 5-6 hours, the tour is all on foot. Navigation is not easy, so use the map.
You can reach the Jaffa Gate by public transport, by light rail (Get off at the municipality station and walk five minutes to Jaffa Gate), or by private car and park in a parking lot under the Mamilla Mall - Alrov.
The tour begins at Jaffa Gate - one of the gates of the Old City that was built in the early Ottoman period, in the 16th century, during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Attention must be paid to the details of the monument, including the massive gate doors that were locked every night, an angular gate, an upper installation to pour boiling oil or tar against an enemy, and more. The gate is called 'Jaffa' in Hebrew because it passed from the main road to the port of Jaffa (this is the beginning of Jaffa Street in Jerusalem), in Arabic the name of the gate: Bab al-Khalil, which is the Arab name of Hebron. From here, the main road to Hebron went south.
The paved road next to the gate was paved in the middle of the 19th century in honor of Emperor Franz Josef's entry into the city. You will descend the road towards the market - David Street. In the square where you are located be aware: to your right is the City Citadel - ""The Tower of David"", an impressive building with remnants of different periods.
For those interested, it is now used as a museum for the history of the city, with traveling exhibitions related to the history of Jerusalem. It has a spectacular view of the city, and in the evenings there is a night observation. To your left are some buildings used as shops, restaurants, and hotels, most of which were built from the mid-19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.
You will descend on the main market street, the bustling David Street, colorful, full of shops and busy hours filled with tourists. After a 2-minute walk, turn left onto Christian Street, which is part of the market. After a 5-minute slow walk on Christian street, you will reach the street that descends to the right - St. Helena Street, which will take you directly to the front of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, one of the most important churches in most Western and Eastern Christian worlds. This church is dedicated to the crucifixion and burial of Jesus before he was resurrected and ascended to heaven. It is unusual for the evangelicals to choose to recognize the site of the burial of Jesus in the ""Tomb Garden"" north of the Damascus Gate.
This church was founded in the Roman period, but its construction as a church is connected to the beginning of the Byzantine period and St. Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine. You must be impressed by the entrance area, the impressive entrance, but you must visit in modest and appropriate clothing. The place is complex, and therefore the visit must be focused: from the entrance opposite you is the stone of the Messiah, on the right, is to Golgotha - the place of the Crucifixion. There is usually a long queue of Christian pilgrims.
After enjoying the Church, you will continue to exit the square, about a minute walk to Muristan Street on the right. The name retains an ancient name that indicates that in the Middle Ages there was a hospital for pilgrims there. You turn right and on the left will see an entrance to the Lutheran church - the ""Church of the Redeemer"" built on the remains of a Crusader church from the 12th century. If it is open, you can visit the church, visit a small archaeological dig, a small museum, and climb a narrow spiral staircase to an observation tower of the city. If you are lucky, you can enter the building adjacent to the Church of the Redeemer to the Cloister of St. Jerome - a closed and quiet courtyard surrounded by guest rooms, meeting rooms, and a small church, one of the treasures of Jerusalem.
You will walk along Muristan St. until you find yourself back on the David Street Market, walk down it for about 2 minutes and turn right onto the Cardo St. with its own sites. Enjoy the character of the street, its shops, and galleries, and interested parties along the street can catch glimpses of the remains of walls from the First and Second Temples, remains exposed in archaeological excavations after the Six Day War, led by Prof. Nachman Avigad. Towards the end, explanations and paintings related to the Byzantine period and a copy of Jerusalem on the Madaba map from the Byzantine period. A map that was found in the eastern Jordan River in Madaba, showing the street you are standing on now. A street built more than 1400 years ago. You will walk up a flight of stairs and find yourself in the Jewish Quarter on the Yehudim (Jews) Street. A short break can be made in one of the cafés or restaurants. You will continue to take a few steps to a wide square - the ""Hurva Square"" from which you can see the magnificent structure of the Hurva Synagogue, named for Rabbi Yehuda HaChassid, which was restored and renovated a few years ago. Here is Tiferet Yisroel St which you will walk for a few moments until reaching Misgav Ladach St.
You will continue to the left for a couple of minutes until reaching HaTamid located on your right, walk down until reaching the entrance to ""Yeshiva Aish HaTorah,"" from which is an incredible observation point to the east over the Temple Mount plaza, the Muslim buildings that were built there in the early Arab period, mainly: the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Golden Dome of the Rock. From here you have an excellent view of the Western Wall and the excavations near the Western Wall, the City of David, Mount Hamashah, Har Zatim, Har Hatzofim (dress modestly, and entrance to the Yeshiva is paid). You will continue on the steps of Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi towards the Western Wall (dress modestly).
The Western Wall is a remnant of the Temple wall from the time of the Second Temple, a remnant of the destruction of the Temple which was in 70 CE, and is the holiest site of the Jewish people. After praying or leaving a note in the walls cracks, you'll leave towards the square. You can go back to the Jaffa Gate by public transport from the exit or walk back some ways, from 20 minutes to half an hour through the Jewish Quarter, the Market or Zion Gate and walking through the Armenian Patriarchate Street or outside the walls.
Please note that along the route there are plenty of historical, archaeological, religious, and museum sites. Most of them are paid. For your enjoyment, choose the right sites for you. Some of them require coordination in advance.
Written by Ruti Pravolotsky, Ministry of Tourism
Photographer: Noam Chen for the Israeli Ministry of Tourism