Background on my Old City of Jerusalem Tour: I was in Tel Aviv on business and for my first day, my host arranged with the hotel for me to take their semi-private Old City of Jerusalem Tour.
Our guide met three of us in the lobby of our hotel. We drove to Jerusalem. For our first stop he took us to Mount Scopus. It’s on the northeast side of Jerusalem, looking down on the Old City. From there, he pointed out the sights we will soon be walking by, most notably, the Dome of the Rock, on the Temple Mount / Haram esh-Sharif religious site.
We drove to the southwestern corner of the Old City of Jerusalem and parked outside the walls at the Zion Gate, just outside of the Armenian Quarter on Mount Zion. Nearby we saw the Dormition Abbey, Room of the Last Supper (Franciscan Church of the Coenaculum) and the Tomb of King David.
Jewish Quarter. We entered the Jewish Quarter from the Zion Gate, walked North along the narrow Habad Street to the Cardo, the Roman market place excavated in the 1970s. We then made our way over to the Hurva Synagogue and the Wohl Archaeological Museum. And from there, we made it to one of the major destinations: The Western Wall (aka Wailing Wall, or Kotel). From here we are right next to the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock which we first saw on Mount Scopus.
Muslim Quarter. We then started walking North along El Wad street in the Muslim Quarter. This then connected with the Via Dolorosa, where the first stations of the cross are marked. We followed Dolorosa, turned down Beit HaBad street, then made our way to Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter.
Christian Quarter. The church is built on the Hill of Calvary the place where Jesus was crucified and buried. After we toured the historic church, we continued our tour, walking by the Church of the Redeemer, Omar Mosque and then settled in for shopping and lunch on the Muristan market street.
Armenian Quarter. We then walked West to the The Citadel, Tower of David medieval fortress, near the Jaffa Gate in the Armenian Quarter. We walked South along Armenian Patriarchate Street, visited the Cathedral of St James, then headed South back to the Zion Gate and to our car.
Our tour guide did an excellent job explaining the history, the different religious view points, and made it all exciting and fun. By the time I was done, it became a big blur of one historic site blending into another. Seeing things 3000 years old next to other things that were 1000 years old, next to things that were built 100 years ago was really cool!!
Tips:I recommend anyone who comes here to first do some homework. Watch a tourist video or study a tour guide. I was glad I took lots of pictures and GPS tagged everything; it was only after my tour and I started putting captions on my pictures did I realize the significance of what I was seeing. If you come to the Old City, please do some homework and hire a guide. The experience is life changing!