If you do just one tour in Israel, make sure it’s this one!
On the Old City of Jerusalem tour, you will see some of the world’s most interesting and important places.
Old City of Jerusalem tour – Main sites
- The Western Wall
- The Temple Mount
- The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
- The four quarters
- Mount Zion
- Get all my Jerusalem tours or only this tour
Old City tour trailer
I’ve also added lots of my own personal recommendations regarding places to eat, change money and go shopping.
You can also get my tours as booklets.
Old City tour – Warnings
The Old City is a safe place.
Your chances of being pickpocketed or robbed are extremely low, and certainly much lower than in any big city in Europe or the US. However, there are some issues you need to be aware of.
Travelers often complain about pushy and aggressive sellers. Check out this post if you want to visit interesting and honest shops. (All of the good places are featured in my Jerusalem app).
Don’t use the services of random guides who approach you. They will take you to their shops and pressure you to buy.
If you need to withdraw money, use the bank ATM in the Jewish quarter.
Jaffa Gate (and other options for starting your Old City tour)
A video from my app
I start my tours at Jaffa Gate, but you can also enter the city from the New Gate, which is particularly handy if you want to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
If visiting the church is a priority for you, do yourself a favor and head there early. From 9 am, the church quickly fills up with groups.
Another option is to start the day with a visit to the Temple Mount.
The Temple Mount is only open to non-Muslims from one gate, which is located next to the Western Wall, and only from 7:30 to 10:30 am and then for another hour at midday (12:30 to 1:30 pm).
One last option is to start the day from the Mount of Olives.
After seeing the sites there (Chapel of Ascension, Pater Noster), you can walk down to Gethsemane and continue to the Lion’s Gate. This is the itinerary I suggest in my booklet.
When it comes to the Old City, don’t worry about missing out on any of the sites. The Old City is small, and all the sites are located close to one another.
The four quarters of the Old City
Two thousand years ago, Jerusalem was a Jewish city. 1,100 years ago, Jerusalem was a Muslim city and 900 years ago Jerusalem was a Christian city.
It’s only in the last 500 years that Jerusalem has been the way it is today, divided into four quarters: the Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Armenian quarters.
Each quarter is laid out around or close to its most important site.
The Jewish quarter is next to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount; the Muslim quarter is next to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Christian quarter is located around the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Armenian quarter is laid out around Saint James Cathedral.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
I have made so many videos about this church. Many people fail to understand that there are actually two sites inside the church: Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified, and the tomb of Jesus.
The Western Wall
The Western Wall has become a symbol of what connects the Jews to Jerusalem.
It is such a well-known symbol that many people don’t realize that other parts of the Western Wall can be seen and that it is not a part of the Jewish Temple itself.
All the details are in this video, taken from my app.
The Temple Mount
The Temple Mount is huge – it takes up one-fifth of the Old City.
This is the holiest site for Jews, as this is where the two temples once stood. Today it is also the third holiest site for Muslims, and the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque are located where the Jewish temple once stood.
There are ten gates leading into the Temple Mount, but non-Muslims can only enter from one entrance, which is located next to the Western Wall and only open for limited hours: Sunday to Thursday, 7:30 – 10:30 am and for one hour at noon (12:30 – 1:30 pm). Visitors must dress modestly, and no Jewish and Christian symbols are allowed (this includes bibles).
Mount Zion is located outside the Old City, but historically it is part of it.
It is a tiny mountain, much smaller than the Mount of Olives, and you get there by exiting the Old City from the Zion Gate.
The main sites here are the Room of the Last Supper, the Tomb of King David, the Dormition Abbey, and smaller sites like the Chamber of the Holocaust, which was Israel’s first Holocaust museum, and the grave of Oskar Schindler in the Catholic cemetery.
For more information about my video tours check out my shop.