Exploring Old Jerusalem is one of the most exciting and unique experiences when you explore Israel, one of the most ancient and singular places on this planet. The Old City of Jerusalem is the core of the Christian, Islamic and Jewish religions. It stretches over the one-kilometre area in the very centre of Jerusalem, and it’s a stunning place whose description is beyond imagination. Indeed, it is a must-visit place in your trip to Israel, if not the first one on your list! The Old City of Jerusalem hosts the Western Wall, i.e. the Wailing Wall that has the name of Kotel in the Hebrew language. The Kotel is the only Wall of the ancient Jewish Temple, which is left today. Nowadays, it is the most sacred place in the world for the Jewish people.
It is very convenient to visit the Old City with a tour guide. For example, there is the Half-Day Old City Tour or the Jerusalem Day Tour to see wholly and correctly the Old City of Jerusalem.
The Old City Of Jerusalem
There are four districts in Jerusalem Old City. The Armenian-Christian district, The Jewish community and The Muslim district. The Old City is accessible by seven entry gates. Nevertheless, the most hectic for tourists is the Jaffa Gate next to the Tower of David Museum, where there is an exhibition of the history of Jerusalem within the Old City Walls. A unique ambience and views feature each district and places.
The Jewish District
There are characteristic narrow alleyways aligned with the houses of Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families and Jewish Yeshivas, Jewish schools devoted to Torah studies in the Jewish quarter. Strolling in the neighbourhood, you can discover the Jewish quarter streets’ characteristic structure with their narrow alleys that end up at the Western Wall Square, i.e. Kotel. During the year and especially during the Jewish festivals, the Wailing Wall is pretty full of religious Jews and tourists of all religions. Indeed, there is always a daily and constant presence of visitors praying in this unique place.
The Western Wall is separated into two sections; men and women pray in two separate parts. Generally, men wear a kippah to cover their heads, and women have to wear modest clothes. It is a common custom to write a personal prayer on a small piece of paper and insert it inside one of the several cracks of the Kotel. The vast Western Wall is a small part of the ancient Jewish Temple. Moreover, under the Kotel, there are the Western Wall Tunnels, which can be accessible in the big Western Wall Square, allowing the tourists to visit the underground part of the Wall.
Interestingly, within the Muslim Quarter, there is the Little Western Wall, i.e. HaKotel HaKatan, near the Iron Gate to the Temple Mount. The HaKotel HaKatan is the continuation of a significant part of the Western Wall, and it faces the Holy of Holies.
For an excellent overview of the Old City, you should take a walk along the Ramparts Walk on top of the Old City walls. The Old City of Jerusalem deserves all your attention and a day to explore the several places that make this place a unique city in the city. Enjoy a memorable trip to Israel!