Going to see Jerusalem's ancient Old City, is a highly meaningful experience for most tourists, and a site frequented by almost every visitor to Israel. One of the reasons that it is sought out and visited by so many people is that it is home to several important religious sites.
Jews often find it significant to visit the Western Wall, Christians make pilgrimages to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Via Dolorosa, and Muslims visit the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Old City is divided into four quarters, named after the religious or ethnic affiliation of their respective residents. The four quarters are the Christian Quarter, Muslim Quarter, Jewish Quarter, and Armenian Quarter.
The Christian Quarter, located in the northwestern part of the Old City, is home to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – where Jesus Christ is believed to have been crucified and buried. Sections of the church are divided among the various streams of Christianity, with the Greek Orthodox Church chiefly responsible for maintaining the site.
The Via Dolorosa, or Stations of the Cross, is another important site for Christians in the Old City of Jerusalem, that passes through a few quarters.
The Muslim Quarter is the largest and most populated of the four, and located in the northeastern part of the Old City. There you can find a traditional marketplace, as well as delicious local foods such as hummus and shawarma.
The Jewish Quarter, in the southeastern part of the Old City, has a rich history and is home to some significant archaeological sites.
One of these is the Cardo, an ancient colonnade that used to be lined with shops. It has been fully excavated and is now filled with modern day shops.
The Armenian Quarter is the smallest quarter. You can find many traditional hand painted Armenian ceramics in this quarter, in the form of plates, dishes, and door signs.
The Western Wall - also known as the “Wailing Wall” or as the “Kotel” in Hebrew - is also located in the Old City and considered one of Judaism’s most sacred sites.
Believed to be built around the time of the Second Temple, the wall constitutes the last remains of the great Jewish temple and the place where Jews can be closest to God.