The Quarters, Jerusalem
The Hurva Synagogue is also known as Hurvat Rabbi Yehudah he-Hasid ("Ruin of Rabbi Judah the Pious"). It is a historic synagogue located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.
Traditions for a synagogue in the area date from the 2nd century. In the early 1700s, followers of Judah he-Hasid founded a synagogue at the site, but it was destroyed a few years later, in 1721. The plot lay in ruins for over 140 years and became known as the Ruin, or Hurva. In 1864, the Peru The plan to rebuild the synagogue in its original 19th century style received approval by the Israeli government in 2000.
In April of 2009 it had a view which you can see on my photos.
Mosque of Omar is located opposite the southern courtyard of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It has a 15-meter high minaret that was built before 1465 and was renovated by Ottoman sultan Abdulmecid (1839-1860).
The Russian Compound is one of the oldest districts in central Jerusalem, including a large Russian Orthodox Church and several former pilgrim hostels. Alexander’s Podvorie located in the Old City near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
You can watch my 1 min 34 sec HD Video Jerusalem Alexander's Podvorie out of my Youtube channel.
The Cathedral of St. James or Saint Jacob Armenian Cathedral is a 12th century Armenian church in the Armenian Quarter, near the quarter's entry gate. The cathedral is dedicated to Christian Saints: James the Greater (one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus) and James the Less (brother of Jesus).
To the left of the entrance are three small chapels. The first from the entrance contains the tomb of Makarios, the bishop of Jerusalem in the fourth century. The third from the entrance is the shrine where the head of St. James the Apostle is entombed. Armenians believe that he was buried here in the first century after his execution by King Herod Agrippa I.
In the chancel, beyond the fence, are two thrones. The one closest to the pier with the canopy is the symbolic throne of St. James, the brother of the Lord, and first bishop of Jerusalem, who is buried beneath the high altar.
The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer was built in the Christian Quarter in 1869.
The Church was commissioned by Prussian Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, who was given the east half of the Muristan by the Sultan during a visit to Jerusalem in 1869.
The church was built over the Church of St. Mary of the Latins, which had fallen into disrepair. An even earlier church may have stood here from the 5th century. The old cloisters, refectory, and original plan of the medieval church are preserved in the new church.
While visiting the Armenian Quarter it's a must to visit the ceramic and pottery shops.
Many of these shops sell printed items, but there is a special shop VICS ARMENIAN ART STUDIO, where you can see the artist Vic doing the drawings in the shop in front of the customer with his son. Its a nice, old shop on the main road, just next to the police station, you wont miss it, and he has all original items and reasonable price.
The Jewish Quarter as you see it today blends seamlessly with its surroundings and it's hard to believe that it was almost totally levelled after the Israeli War of Independence in 1948. After this war when the Jordanians seized control of the Jewish Quarter, a wall was built right through the heart of Jerusalem and remained there for 19 years. Only after the 6 Day War of 1967 was the Quarter reclaimed and since then it's been systematically restored on the one hand and excavated on the other. The fruit of the restorations is obvious in the many synagogues and buildings devoted to religious instruction and the winding residential streets many of them with palm trees and glorious clumps of bouganvillea. The excavations have revealed many treasures and possibly the most spectacular is the section of road known as The Cardo or Cardo Maximus of Roman Jerusalem. This would have originally traversed the whole city but the restored section that's left is in the Jewish Quarter, starting just south of the David Street souq. A line of huge, stand-alone pillars are still in place and these along with the palms which rear up alongside them lend a huge air of gravitas to the whole area There are lots of shops and galleries here also especially in the upmarket shopping arcade incorporated into the structure.
This is the first quarter you'll pass through if you enter Jaffa Gate and make a right hand turn down the Armenian Orthodoxy Patriarchate Road.
The Armenian Quarter is an important source of pride to Armenians because the King of Armenia (kingdom of which has been long gone since the 4th century AD) was the first king to acknowledge Christianity and decree it as his nation's religion; thus they established their presence in Jerusalem immediately following that, and it's been their spiritual capital so to speak, ever since.
It's pretty insular and aside from the Armenian Tavern (see my restaurant tips) and Vic's Armenian Studio (see my shopping tips), this quarter is otherwise mostly residential.
I would say this quarter is also the spot from which you exit through Zion Gate to get to Mt. Zion (Dormition Abby, Christian Cemetery, St. Peter's Church, etc).
Dominated by mostly Palestinian vendors, a stroll through the Christian quarter is a sure way to find yourself buying souvenirs from your visit to Jerusalem - relgious or otherwise! Actually, this quarter plays host to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate as well as the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (shared by the Armenians, Catholics, Greek Orthodox and the Coptics). I stayed here for several weeks the second time I visited Jerusalem in 2000, and it was a great experience. The Palestinians whom you come across in this quarter are primarily Christian, and as far as vendors and restaurants go, you'll notice a crucifix or some other Christian symbol gracing the walls. I don't know if this is an exaggeration, but a Palestinian Christian friend of mine once told me that they (Palestinian Christians) have a bit of a challenging time dealing with their Muslim brethren, especially when it comes to entering mosques. He said that he got in trouble once for venturing into the Al-Aqsa mosque one time, getting chased out by Muslim worshippers there....I don't know...maybe it's a worse crime to be Palestinian and Christian than it is to be some other ethnicity and claim Christianity....? Interesting either way....
It's a "must-see" to visit the Muslim Quarter inside the Old Walled City. Chances are you will find yourself smack in the middle of this most vibrant of the four quarters anyways, as the majority of the Via Dolorosa (Stations of the Cross) runs through it. Every day life is felt to the max here....it's a cacaphony of Arabic chatter, recorded calls to prayer over nearby loudspeakers, vendors calling out, colorful stalls filled with everything from narghila pipes and colorful materials to fragrant Arabic coffee and local food items. It's easy to feel a bit claustrophobic walking down the narrow streets and so often you'll find yourself jostled by Palestinian children heading to or coming from, school.
Also, if you're walking around that area on a Friday around noon, be aware that there's a major stampede of Muslim men heading toward the "Haram ash-Sharif" (where the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosques are located) for mandatory afternoon prayers.
The best people-watching in the Old Walled City can be had in this very quarter....the Muslim Quarter.
Ironically, it is this area that provides the best views of the Dome of the Rock. Mostly residential, the Jewish Quarter has been pretty much reconstructed after the Israelis (re)captured Jerusalem in the Six Day War (War of 1967). It was especially pretty at night when we stayed here last December, because we arrived on the last evening of Hannukuh and all the Jewish homes had little glass boxes outside their doorways with candles burning....we'd parked our rental car right outside the Cardo area and hoofed it over to the Lutheran Guest House which is in the Jewish Quarter, so we were treated to this special glimpse of Jewish religious observation in the holiest of holy cities. It was truly beautiful.
When in the middle of the 19th century the English and the Prussians founded a joint bishopric in Jerusalem, the Prussian monarch succeeded to obtain this property for constructing a church for the German speaking congregation. On 1869 the Muristan was given to Prussia by the Sultan.
Nowadays, not only the German-speaking congregation meets here but also the Arabian congregation, as well as the Danish and American Lutherans, who celebrate their services in the chapel in the cloister or in the church itself.
When visiting the Old City, that's, usually, the place I take my guests to begin with.
You have to climb about 200 spiral steps to the top of the tower. [highly reccommended physical exercise].
Although the neo-Romanesque building of the Church of the Redeemer is only 100 years old, it's reach in history and tradition. The history goes back to Charlemagne. He was given the property by the Caliph of Bagdhad, Harun el Rashid, as a present. The emperor - at least so the story goes - had a hospice for pilgrims built on the land. In addition, a large hospital, a church and a monastery were constructed.
The Armenian quarter is the smallest and least known quarter of Jerusalems Old City. Yet, the Armenian community was one of the first to settle in Jerusalem in the 4th Century. They have been there ever since that time. The quarter is kind of a monasteric compound between Jaffa Gate and Zion Gate; it is interesting to wander around though it doesnt offer the spectacular sights of the other quarters.
The Armenian community is one of the oldest in Jerusalem , dating back to the 4th century.
Inside this quarter you will find some interesting places like St. James Cathedral , the Armenian museum , the Armenian patriachate .
St James cathedral is very beautiful but you can enter only between 15:00 and 15:30.