The Old City of Jerusalem – Minutes from your Jerusalem Hotel
Nothing conjures up more historical wonder and awe than the Old City of Jerusalem. Rich in history and important to three of the world’s major religions, this small area, roughly 1 square kilometer, is the main attraction for millions of tourists from around the globe. It’s within walking distance from most Jerusalem hotels, or you can easily take a taxi or rental car to reach its borders.
Before the modern-day Jerusalem
Prior to the 1860′s, Jerusalem only consisted of the Old City. The city’s walls were built in 1538 by Suleiman the Magnificent. From the 1860′s, the city began to expand into what today is a major metropolitan city, complete with residential areas, businesses, and a number of five-star Jerusalem hotels. In fact, you can view the stunning ancient walls from most Jerusalem hotel balconies. The view is especially magnificent during sunrise and sunset, as the rays illuminate against the ancient walls.
The Old City’s walls are roughly three miles in circumference with a height of 16 to 49 feet. Its thickness is an amazing 10 feet. The walls were made so thick in order to protect its inhabitants from foreign invaders. Today, the wall’s thickness keeps out the heat, but also retains the coldness in winter. Add to that the cobblestone floors, and you’ll really feel the chill during the winter months. It can sometimes feel five to ten degrees colder in the Old City during the winter than it does near some of the Jerusalem hotels in the New City. Just make sure to dress warm during that time of year.
The Jewish Quarter – A little history
The Old City is divided roughly into four main sections – the Jewish Quarter, the Christian Quarter, the Muslim Quarter, and the Armenian Quarter. The Jewish Quarter of the Old City has experienced perhaps the greatest revival. The Old City has had a Jewish population since the eight-century B.C.E. In 1948, the Jews in this area were forced to leave and the area was almost completely destroyed. After 1967 (Six-day war), Jews returned to the Old City and has since been rebuilt to its former glory.
Most Jerusalem hotels have street maps of the Old City and its sites. If you feel more comfortable going with a tour guide, some Jerusalem hotels even offer tours in the Old City.