Heavenly Jerusalem

Writen by: Yael Alexcander

A tour of panoramas of the Old City, Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is perched on top of a mountain and covers hilltops and valleys. From every mountain, from every elevation point, you can see a slightly different Jerusalem.  We have a surprise for those who enjoy walking, slow or fast; for photography and landscape enthusiasts; for those who kneel on one knee to declare their love through the pink rays of the setting sun; and for those who just love Jerusalem.

We present a walking trail that passes through four spectacular views of the Old City, located in the four quarters of the city. Some of them are familiar to the general public, and some are known only to a few, and each offers a refreshing and different look at the city of gold and light.

A hot tip! Begin the tour in the second half of the day to catch the Jerusalem sunset through your camera lens.

First stop: the Phasael Tower

מבין כל המבנים הצפופים ממזרח וממערב בולט ומרשים במיוחד מתחם הר הבית, ליבה של העיר העתיקה, ששטחו משתרע על שישית משטח העיר העתיקה כולה.

Of all the buildings to the east and west, the Temple Mount site is the most prominent and impressive it is the heart of the Old City and covers one-sixth of the entire Old City area

In order to see the most beautiful view in Jerusalem, you need to climb a little more than 90 steps and reach the top of the Phasael Tower – where your tour begins. On the busy intersection opposite the Jaffa Gate, on the seam between the old and the new city, lies the ancient Citadel, the location of the Tower of David Museum. One of the citadel’s towers is the Phasael Tower built by King Herod 2000 years ago. The top of the tower, a remnant of the magnificent palace built by Herod, is the highest observation point in the Old City,  777 meters high.  To the west is New Jerusalem and buildings that “only “date back 150 years .   Ancient Jerusalem with thousands of years of history can be seen towards the east.

Address: Jaffa Gate, the entrance to the Armenian Quarter.

On the way: the water fountain at Teddy Park, a visit to the Kishle – an archaeological site with findings from the time of Herod, and Jerusalemite Bagels –”Beigelah” – from the peddlers’ stalls at the Jaffa Gate.

Second stop: “Aish HaTorah”

תצפית לילה על מבקרים שהגיעו אל הכותל המערבי להתפלל בו ולהטמין פתקים בין כתליו

Visitors at the Western Wall, coming to pray and place notes between its stones

“Aish HaTorah” is an organization that deals with Judaism and the connection between Jews around the world. The main headquarters of the organization is located in an ancient building opposite the Western Wall plaza and serves as an observation point that provides a panoramic view of the Western Wall and its visitors, tourists and locals. More in the view: the City of David, the Temple Mount courtyard, the Dome of the Rock and the urban landscape of the neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.

Directions: Leave the Tower of David and turn right to the Armenian Patriarchate Street. At the end of the street, turn left onto Chabad Street, leading to a car park, cross it to reach Mishmarot HaKehunah Street, which takes you directly to the “Hurva” synagogue plaza. Pass the plaza to the left and arrive at Tiferet Yisrael Street that leads to the steps down to the Western Wall. Half way through the stairs is the Menorah plaza, enter the plaza, pass the Aish Hatorah yeshiva, and continue to the twisted staircase that leads to the visitors’ center.

Address: 6 Tamid St., the Jewish Quarter.

On the way: the Western Wall, the Hurva Synagogue and plenty of food stalls.


Third stop: Hashimi Hotel

גגות הרובע המוסלמי ממרומי המלון ההאשמי

The Muslim Quarter rooftops from the top of the Hashimi Hotel.

On the border between the Christian Quarter and the Muslim Quarter, in the center of the bustling Old City market, behind a door that can be hardly noticed at first glance, is the Hashemite Hotel. Although the hotel’s original building is more than 400 years old, the interior of the hotel is newly renovated and it is considered a prestigious accommodation in the Old City. The hotel has a terrace that is a wonderful lookout point, above the houses of the Muslim Quarter, looking at the Temple Mount compound – a short distance from the golden Dome of Rock.

Directions: To reach the next stop, turn right at the entrance to the Aish Hatorah Visitor Center and continue on HaKotel Street until you reach Sha’ar HaShalshelet Street – the Old City Market. Turn left onto Sha’ar HaShalshelet Street that curves right into the market “Shuk Hatsorfim”. Continue straight up the road, even when the street changes its name to the Shuk HaTzvaim, and then to Beit HaBad. After a five-minute walk you will reach Via Dolorosa Street, where you turn right. After 100 meters you will see the hotel on your left.

Address: Khan El-Zeit Market 73, Muslim Quarter.

On the way: the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Shuk HaBbsamim (Perfumes Market), and Shuk HaTzvaim (Colors Market), food, spices and shopping for whatever comes next.

Fourth stop: Convent of the Sisters of Zion

On the Via Dolorosa, in the Muslim Quarter, lies the Convent of the Sisters of Zion.

On the Via Dolorosa, in the Muslim Quarter, lies the Convent of the Sisters of Zion.

The monastery was built next to the Ecce Homo arch, which according to Christian tradition is linked to the trial of Jesus. The study, however, revealed that the arch was part of a victory gate built for Emperor Hadrian in the second century when Jerusalem was still called Aelia Capitolina. In addition, there were dice and games that were revealed in the archaeological excavations there, with which the Roman soldiers spent their free time. Today the monastery serves as a hostel for pilgrims, a school and a language school for Hebrew-Arabic studies. The abbey overlooks the rooftops of the Christian and Jewish houses.

Directions: The monastery is just down Via Dolorosa Street. Go through the Austrian hostel, continue about 100 meters and you will see the monastery to your left.

Address: 49 Via Dolorosa St., Muslim Quarter.

On the way: the Austrian Hospice Cafe

Bonus Stop: Mamilla Rooftop

קו הנוף העירוני של ירושלים בצבעי שקיעה

The urban landscape of Jerusalem in sunset colors

A bonus stop for good walkers – you are invited to visit the Mamilla Rooftop restaurant. From the restaurant’s balcony you can view the  Old City Walls and Mount Zion. There, after a last photo, you can relax with a drink, looking at the beautiful view of the Tower of David.

Address: 11 King Solomon St., Jerusalem.

Now, all you have to do is wear your comfortable shoes, put on a hat, pack your camera and a water bottle, and go up to Jerusalem!


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