The great sanctity of the ‘Western Wall,’ the Temple’s wall, makes it a significant site, which every Jew aspires to visit. According to Jewish tradition, this is the Temple’s place, the holiest and most central location. As it is written in Halacha – one should pray with the heart towards Jerusalem and the Temple. Apart from its religious importance, the Western Wall has historical and national significance – and it is no coincidence that it attracts about 10 million visitors a year, who come from all over Israel and the world.
Excursions following Judaism have become most common in the city of Jerusalem, due to being a meaningful and fascinating experience. A recommended route is to reach the Western Wall on foot, from the ‘Hurva Synagogue’ through the ‘alleys of the Jewish Quarter.’ This walk includes several fascinating sites that are recommended to visit.
The Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem
The Old City of Jerusalem is surrounded by walls and is divided into districts; the Jewish Quarter area is about one-fifth of the Old City – about 200 dunams. The Jewish Quarter residents are mostly religious Jews, and you can see their residences there, along with many religious buildings, tourist sites, and archeology, souvenir shops, restaurants, cafes, and more. Chabad Street, Maalot Yehuda Halevi Street, and HaYehudim Street are the Jewish Quarter’s main streets – but in every street in it, small or large, central or secondary – the magic in every corner and its unique story.
Synagogues in the Jewish Quarter
We will start the walk at the ‘Hurva Synagogue’ in the center of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The Horba Synagogue has become one of the symbols of the Old City of Jerusalem, as it was destroyed and rebuilt several times throughout history – and testifies to adherence to purpose and love of the city. The Hurva Synagogue is one of the most magnificent synagogues in the city, and a visit to it is recommended. ‘Hurva Square’ is another recommended site – an urban square impressive in its beauty, open to the public, and located a few minutes walk from the Synagogue, between Chabad and the Jewish’ main streets.
The ‘Spanish Synagogues’ is a complex of four Synagogues belonging to the Spanish community. The most important of these, the Yochanan Ben Zakkai Synagogue, in which Rishon LeZion is appointed – the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel. In the synagogue, a jug of olive oil and a shofar were found in his dome – and according to the faith, to serve the Messiah.
The other temples in the complex: the ‘Istanbul Synagogue,’ the ‘Elijah the Prophet,’ and the ‘Middle Synagogue’ are also of great significance, impressive in beauty, and each has its own story. After the War of Independence, the synagogue complex was renovated, open to worshipers.
Fascinating sites in the Old Jerusalem city all along the way to the Western Wall
In the Jewish Quarter, there are many archeological sites. The “Israeli Tower” is one of these sites discovered by chance with the Jewish Quarter’s restoration after the Six-Day War. It is an ancient tower 8 meters high, built of fieldstones. The Tower was probably part of a gate tower during the First Temple period. The archeological site is called the Israeli Tower, but instead of another building built 500 years later and was even discovered in the latest archeological excavations – the ‘Hasmonean Tower.’
The Temple Institute is another fascinating site, which has been operating for over 30 years with the goal and clear vision – to return the Temple to the Jewish consciousness in the daily context and bring the Temple concepts closer, illustrating and clarifying them all. In the Temple Institute, an exact model of the Temple, paintings of the Temple created by the best artists. In the museum at the Institute, an exhibition of renewed temple vessels – vessels that have been accurately restored according to the sources-is ready for use in the Temple!
At the Temple Institute, fascinating lectures, and tutorials suitable for all ages.
How to get there?
The Hurva Synagogue can be reached from the Jerusalem-Yitzhak Navon train station with line 1, by the light rail to the ‘Jaffa Municipality’ station, and a short walk.
By bus, you can get from Jerusalem Central Station to Keren Hayesod / Shalom Aleichem Station with lines 74, 75, and 18 of Egged. From there, take line 38 to the Jewish Quarter to the Kishla / Armenian Patriarchate station.
The walk from the Hurva Synagogue to the Western Wall
The walk from the Hurva Synagogue to the Western Wall is short and fast, only about 7 minutes!
But walking on longer roads, through the alleys of the Jewish Quarter and its unique sites, is full of beauty, charm, and refreshing and delicious stops along the way. The signage in the Jewish Quarter is convenient and straightforward; you can walk around it as much as you want and reach any destination easily and of course the main destination the Western Wall.